Friday, May 18, 2012

The Woman in Pearls

I watched an interview with Alexi Bullock, a BYU student who is trying to replace the word "homemaker" with "domaign," a made up word of her own design.  The whole thing didn't sit well with me and has been on my mind ever since.

Here are a few excerpts from the Deseret News about it:

“She noticed that the women in her life wanted to create successful homes but that the stereotype of the traditional ‘homemaker’ didn’t fit with their lives.”

“The word ‘homemaking’ is so stale and boring,’ Bullock said.  ‘It’s not working with me and my generation.  It’s not that it’s not important; it just needs to be expanded and rearranged a bit.’”

“Bullock’s father, David Politis, said the media have portrayed the homemaker as a woman in a dress and pearls, who spends the whole day working to keep the house clean and perfect for
when her husband comes home from work.

‘The idea of the stereotypical homemaker is broken,’ Politis said.  ‘Making a house into a home today is more than just cooking and cleaning.’”

You can read the whole article  here or watch an interview with Alexi  here.  I'm irritated with the whole idea of "domaign" but also this issue brought up a whole host of frustrations that I've decided to vent out here today.  I’m sure my views are not popular, but you know what?  This is my blog and you don’t have to agree with me.  You don’t even have to read it!

 It bothers me that she thinks she’s speaking for our generation.   I mean, what qualifies her to try to tell the world who I am and what I want to be called?  I can tell you, I do not want to be called a “domaigner.”

Call me old fashioned, but I don’t see anything wrong with the word “homemaker.”  The thing is why do we have to redefine everything all the time?  What’s wrong with the words we have?  Anyone who is or knows a mom should already know that being a homemaker involves more than just cooking and cleaning.  But even so, cooking and cleaning are REALLY important!  I don’t always love cooking and cleaning, but I’m really proud when I feel like I have cooked and cleaned my very best.   And even so, it’s just a word.  How is calling what we do “domaign” going to make any difference?

Okay so maybe I am REALLY old fashioned, but I actually like the stereotypical portrayal of a woman in a dress and pearls, the “50s housewife” if you will.  Now, before you start sending me feminist hate mail, let me explain.  I’m not stupid enough to think that I need to look amazing and have a perfect home every day.  And I will add that my husband is not that stupid either.  But this “stereotypical homemaker,” you know the one in pearls?  To me she is something to kind of strive for. 

I see her as a woman who is happy to be a wife, happy to be a mom, and trying her best to make her house a warm and loving place to be.  I think about my mom, who certainly wasn’t perfect (sorry mom), and I don’t remember her ever wearing pearls, but the little things she did every day really made our house feel like home.  Just think: Mom’s Home Cooking.  Does it get any better than that?  I don’t care who you are, but no one makes pies like my mom makes pies.  But I bet you probably feel the same way about your mom.  I guess my point is this: cooking and cleaning are really important.  I know from my own childhood experiences that those things help make a house a home.

To me, the woman in pearls is someone I strive to be because she cares.  She makes an effort, and she makes things beautiful.  I don’t see her as someone who is oppressed by the demands of society or her husband or men in general.  I certainly don’t see her as someone who is perfect or has a perfect home, but she is trying.  The woman in pearls is a snapshot of the best day of being a mom.  Sure, it’s almost never that pretty, pearlescent, or even clean, but there are moments of wonderful every single day.

I feel like feminism is taking the femininity out of being a woman.  And doesn’t that seem a little backward?  Feminism should celebrate femininity!  I wholeheartedly believe women should have the world open to them to do whatever it is they would like in life, whether it be pursuing a career, staying home with kids, traveling the world, furthering education, developing talents, etc.   We should be active in school, in our workplace, at home, in politics, and have the tools available to be successful.  But I fear that feminists will eventually kill all that is feminine in trying to make us like men. 

I don’t want to be a man.  They’re great and all, but I was born a woman and I like it that way.  There are great things about being a woman and the world would be so very dull and very much less beautiful without us.   Whether a mom or not, single or married, women have the delicate ability to create a beautiful and loving environment, or a home.   A homemaker!  It’s not some stale, outdated word to describe a slavish woman who cooks and cleans at the beckon call of her husband.  It’s a woman who makes her environment more lovely, more welcoming, more at peace because of who she is and what she can do.

Why is everyone so gosh darn offended all the time?  This goes well beyond my irritation at Alexi Bullock’s “domaign” and into the whole idea that we have to tip toe around offending just about everyone all the time.  You can’t have a cross on the highway because someone who is not religious is offended.  You can’t call people black because that’s racist.  Or you can’t call people African American because they’re not really from Africa.  (I never really know what to say about that?)  Secretaries are now called administrative assistants.  Homemakers now should be called domaigners?  I mean I could go on and on.  It’s endless, really.  No matter what I say, I will offend someone.  Without even trying!  It’s as if we’re all hell-bent on being a victim. 

You know what?  We’re all different.  It’s true.  Being equal and being the same are not the same thing and they never will be.  I think being equal means you get respect for what you do and contribute and for who you are.  Being the same means we all look the same, have the same opportunities, get the same stuff, make the same amount of money, etc.  The truth is there will always be someone who is more talented, makes more money, has a bigger house, or a better job.  We have to stop trying to be the same and stop being so offended!  

We should celebrate who we are, whatever that may be.  Just don’t call me a “domaigner” because I make houses into homes and I’m proud to be a homemaker.


Alainna Beus said...

Kourtney, you're awesome. i love this. And I totally agree with you.

Darci Cole said...

Amen, Kourtney. I completely agree. Very well said <3

The Gist Family said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE you Kourtney! Great post! I wish that I had embraced my inner homemaker when I was younger, I think I am still embracing the femininity that was beaten out of me when I was trying to be politically correct. But I am done being politically correct. When I am describing a darker-hued person I call them black. Or brown. Whichever seems closest.

Sims Duggins said...

YEA - Applause, applause!!

Maz said...

I totally agree with your thoughts under the heading "feminists." I don't like the fact that feminism means that men can't hold a door open for a woman anymore. Because treating us with that kind of respect is disrespectful. Geez. I don't expect men to hold doors open for me all the time, but when they do that kind of thing I sure do appreciate it and graciously accept, because I want to help perpetuate respect for woman.

As for everyone getting offended, there is a great quote that was attributed to Brigham Young (who has THE best quotes ever, by the way!) in an institute manual: "He who takes offence when no offence was intended is a fool, and he who takes offence when offence was intended is usually a fool."

vickyj said...

That was THE nicest tribute. I feel very humble. You are a great writer, Kourtney. And you are becoming a marvelous homemaker. You make me proud. However, I am now questioning the reason your dad kept bringing me pearls from Asia.