Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound

Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity

Book - 2013
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What happens to our society as a whole when smart, high-achieving young women are honing their traditional homemaking skills? Emily Matchar offers a smart investigation into this return to domesticity.

Amid today's rising anxieties--the economy, the scary state of the environment, the growing sense that the American Dream hasn't turned out to be so dreamy after all--a groundswell of women (and more than a few men) are choosing to embrace an unusual rebellion: domesticity. A generation of smart, highly educated young people are spending their time knitting, canning jam, baking cupcakes, gardening, and more (and blogging about it, of course), embracing the labor-intensive domestic tasks their mothers and grandmothers eagerly shrugged off. Some are even turning away from traditional careers and corporate culture for slower, more home-centric lifestyles that involve "urban homesteading," homeschooling their kids, or starting Etsy businesses. They're questioning whether regular jobs are truly fulfilling and whether it's okay to turn away from the ambitions of their parents' generation.

How did this happen? And what does it all mean? What happens to American culture as a whole when our best and brightest put home and hearth above other concerns? Does this sudden fascination with traditional homemaking bode ill for gender equality? What role have the media and blog culture played in making domesticity look so darn appealing?

In Homeward Bound, acclaimed journalist Emily Matchar takes a long, hard look at both the inspiring appeal and the potential dangers of this trend she calls the New Domesticity, exploring how it could be reshaping the role of women in society and what the consequences may be for all of us. In riveting interviews with all kinds of people from coast to coast, Matchar examines the motivations of those who have embraced this movement, from Southern food bloggers to chicken-keeping "radical homemakers" on the East Coast to Etsy entrepreneurs in Provo, Utah, to attachment parenting devotees in Chicago, and many more. This groundbreaking reporting on the New Domesticity is guaranteed to transform our notions of women in today's society and add a new layer to the ongoing discussion of whether women can--or should--have it all.
Publisher: New York :, Simon & Schuster,, 2013.
Edition: First Simon and Schuster hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781451665444
145166544X
Branch Call Number: 640.92 MA
Characteristics: x, 272 pages ; 24 cm

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michelesphone
Nov 01, 2015

I was so disappointed in this book. I think this is a topic needs to have more written on it. Emily Matchar was not the person to do it. She had no idea what she was talking about and I felt like she was pitting women against each other. Her tone was condescending too. Save your time and read something else.

m
magsdaisy17
Nov 05, 2014

I actually thought that this book was rather well written and presented. It was a thoughtful and well-articulated review and critique of the not only the New Domesticity movement, but society as a whole. While some parts are repetitive, and this does detract a bit, I found that all in all, the book was well thought out.

The author does discuss that there are much wider social movements at play when women decide to stay home, and she is also very clear and very conscious that this is very much a class/race issue. I've followed her blog off and on for several years, and while this is nothing new, it is certainly a thought-provoking analysis.

k
kporch
Oct 26, 2014

This book looked interesting but devolved in the near ranting of a childless woman about motherhood and parenting choices. I'd really be curious to check in with the author after she has a family.

She was dismissive of the value of parenting and of the multitude of reasons people might choose to homeschool. Many of the claims she makes are clearly her opinion or slim anecdotes and not sufficiently researched for a journalistic book. I didn't even disagree with many of her conclusions but found them to be presented in a juvenile, overly general fashion. She also discusses women who have returned to paid work and love it without exploring the very real reason many low to moderate income mothers have little choice but to stay home- high cost, hard to find, unstable CHILDCARE. This young woman has a very limited world view, primarily discussing issues as though everyone is white, college educated and upper class.

Also, it was clearly rushed to press and desperately needs a copy editor. I could use it to teach my son editing. There are grammatical errors, punctuation abuse and spelling errors in every chapter. No joke.

r
rachaelmr
Oct 28, 2013

This book seemed like it was going to be an interesting look at both sides of the new domesticity movement. It gleaned stories from people who subscribe to aspects like crafting entrepreneurship, canning, animal husbandry, attachment parenting, homeschooling, etc. And then along page 150 the author decided to use childish opinions to carry the discussion. At some point the entire book became about feminism (in a vacuum) and about how in the end, she realized that she was better off just maybe learning how to knit while the rest of the world fell apart; but she still had her blu-ray and wal-mart.

e
ErnieK
Sep 10, 2013

Not as farreaching as implied, more of a light survey of saturday farmers' marketers. Extra points awarded for talking to Brooklyn hipsters, Mormon mothers on Etsy, and survivalists. Reshaping roles of women? Not enough information to ground that claim.

Kinda hard to cover this ground without talking Martha Stewart, who is barely mentioned. Does explain those knitted potscrubbers on Etsy.

p
prolix
Aug 27, 2013

I really enjoyed this book. It presents some interesting ideas about women and domesticity and how domesticity intersects with gender politics, work, and parenthood.

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