If you’ve been dying to ask Dave Sim a question about Gender Issues, today’s your last chance, as for one day only, he takes on questions at Sequential Tart. Enjoy!
There is an intrinsic nobility for a man in working hard to provide for himself and for his family, to improve their lot and give them every advantage in life. But I think I’m safe in saying that for most husbands and fathers, The Job was the means to the end, The Job was not an end in itself. The end was the home and the family. “This is why I work this hard.” And on the part of the wife and mother there was an ancillary motivation. He is working terribly hard to provide for us, so I, too, will work terribly
hard to make A Good Home with all that that entails, a place of rest for him from the dog-eat-dog world. This is what he is doing it for, so I have to do my part to live up to that.
Your grandmother and your great-grandmother didn’t see it as being “stuck at home all the time.” The idea of “stuck” and “home” being used in the same sentence would have struck any good Christian woman as ludicrous. How dare you say about My Home -the home I have made for my family, with all that that entails with regards to aesthetics, decor, cleanliness, craft, cookery,etc. etc. etc. that it is a place to be “stuck” in? It is a never ending challenge to maintain and improve, certainly, but “stuck” in? Never.
Of course our grandmothers and great grandmothers had centuries of tradition that were handed down carefully: how to do this more effectively, cooking and baking secrets and so on. They couldn’t have conceived of being “stuck” at home: every season had its own attendant problems and disciplines to enact as they had been enacted for untold generations.
It seems to me that the huge success of Martha Stewart illustrates that those instincts are dormant, not dead. She certainly never seemed to run out of things that could enhance, maintain or improve the home. Of course she was preaching to a generation who just wanted to know where they had to go to hire a Martha Stewart to do all that stuff for them.