Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What is feminism?

I love reading Yarnstorm's blog (see link in sidebar). She has a wonderful eye for color, and she celebrates a domestic life that I don't have. As she mentions on her blog, what she posts there is just a small sliver of her life, just as what I post here, and my friends post on their blogs, are selected pieces of a whole, complicated (especially these past few weeks, but anyway....) life.

She has published a book called the Gentle Art of Domesticity that was used as a springboard for a vitrolic commentary against home arts. There's a link to the article in Yarnstorm's blog.

Basically, the commentor says is that any woman who spends time doing handcrafts and cooking is lame.

As many commentors to the newspaper points out, the point of the women's movement and feminism is self-determination, and the ability to have freedom of choice. And all choices are personal. Though yes, the personal is politcal.

There's a great exercise that we do at work, called the Tree of Life. We ask people to draw a tree and label the roots (your history), trunk (your present), leaves (your influences), flower and fruit (accomplishments), and buds (hopes).

My tree is the crape myrtle, a multi-trunked tree, which I label social activism, art/craft/creativity, and family. All three are important to me, are fed by shared roots and the same leaves, and the crown of the tree are interlaced branches.

I would say that everyone's life it like that: many equally important aspects all tangled together. The great thing about crape myrtles are that new trunks emerge all the time, like new interests and priorities in life.

So my feminism is to live a life that allows me to value each of those trunks.

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