Backyard Farming Is A Feminist Act

So says Peggy Orenstein last week in The New York Times Magazine. Are you a stay-at-home mother who keeps chickens, maybe a small garden, perhaps even a beehive? Do you dabble in preserving your food, making your own bread, and cooking nourishing, wholesome, seasonal food for your family? Then you’re what’s quickly becoming known as a “femivore,” a woman who turns her homemaking into something more earthy and industrious than the consumer-driven model that’s dominated America’s cultural landscape for the last half century.

From last week’s article:

All of these gals — these chicks with chicks — are stay-at-home moms, highly educated women who left the work force to care for kith and kin. I don’t think that’s a coincidence: the omnivore’s dilemma has provided an unexpected out from the feminist predicament, a way for women to embrace homemaking without becoming Betty Draper. “Prior to this, I felt like my choices were either to break the glass ceiling or to accept the gilded cage,” says Shannon Hayes, a grass-fed-livestock farmer in upstate New York and author of “Radical Homemakers,” a manifesto for “tomato-canning feminists,” which was published last month.

Hayes pointed out that the original “problem that had no name” was as much spiritual as economic: a malaise that overtook middle-class housewives trapped in a life of schlepping and shopping. A generation and many lawsuits later, some women found meaning and power through paid employment. Others merely found a new source of alienation. What to do? The wages of housewifery had not changed — an increased risk of depression, a niggling purposelessness, economic dependence on your husband — only now, bearing them was considered a “choice”: if you felt stuck, it was your own fault. What’s more, though today’s soccer moms may argue, quite rightly, that caretaking is undervalued in a society that measures success by a paycheck, their role is made possible by the size of their husband’s. In that way, they’ve been more of a pendulum swing than true game changers.

Enter the chicken coop.

Ms. Orenstein goes on to show how the things that drove women into the workforce in the first place — a desire for self-sufficiency, a sense of autonomy, and a quest for personal fulfillment — are the very things that are driving this new movement towards urban and suburban homesteading.

She then says:

I understand the passion for a life that is made, not bought. And who doesn’t get the appeal of working the land? It’s as integral to this country’s character as, in its own way, Wal-Mart. My femivore friends may never do more than dabble in backyard farming — keeping a couple of chickens, some rabbits, maybe a beehive or two — but they’re still transforming the definition of homemaker to one that’s more about soil than dirt, fresh air than air freshener. Their vehicle for children’s enrichment goes well beyond a ride to the next math tutoring session.

Do you count yourself (or the beloved ladies in your life) in the “femivore” ranks? If so, please share a bit of your story in the comments below!

(photo by land_camera_land_camera)

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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59 Responses to Backyard Farming Is A Feminist Act
  1. Jenn
    March 15, 2010 | 1:38 pm

    Okay, I’m such a fan of “chicks with chicks.” I want to raise chickens eventually, but I think we’ll need a house first.
    .-= Jenn´s last blog post …Dreams and Musings =-.

    • KristenM
      March 15, 2010 | 6:12 pm

      That turn of phrase made me smile, too.

  2. april_in_autumn
    March 15, 2010 | 2:09 pm

    Backyard Farming Is A Feminist Act http://shar.es/moywZ

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. GinghamApron
    March 15, 2010 | 2:16 pm

    Making proper choices for my family has nothing to do with my malaise in being a stay at home mom. It’s an ethical belief I now hold, and one that I try and get others to understand. The term “femivore” sort of grates my nerves because it’s not just women and housewives who are taking a stand. Nor do I feel I need a gender specific title for doing what we feel is right.

    Maybe it’s in part because my grandfather was the primary caretaker of the 2-3 acres worth of garden my grandparents had. Or because I know my boyfriend would be in the garden helping me if he were not banned from the backyard (he had a fairly serious allergic reaction to something in the backyard that we’ve still not pinpointed). My father helps equally with the small garden my parents have in their backyard too.

    My boyfriends job does enable us to buy organic, sustainable, and local even when the prices are substantially increased from conventional food. We make choices together that we feel are the best for our family. It’s about keeping the nasty stuff in food these days out of us and more than anything out of our children.
    .-= GinghamApron´s last blog post …Happy Pi Day! =-.

  4. farmingnews
    March 15, 2010 | 3:02 pm

    Farming : Backyard Farming Is A Feminist Act | Food Renegade http://bit.ly/deFvKX

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. Small Footprint Mama
    March 15, 2010 | 3:21 pm

    After having my first child, I decided to leave my career and stay home with her–in keeping with our values. But for the first year, I really wrestled with alienation, purposelessness and of course, depression.

    It turned out my child–who has dozens of food sensitivities–led the way for me. In order to feed her I had to learn all about real food cooking and preparation very quickly. I was already a gardener, but finding the organic, grass-fed food my baby needs to eat brought my learning and my homesteading to a whole new level. And the sunshine and soil are doing a world of good for my spirit too.
    .-= Small Footprint Mama´s last blog post …Cutting the Mustard (Greens) =-.

  6. Rachael
    March 15, 2010 | 4:29 pm

    The term “femivore” also grates me a fair bit. Also, the idea of a feminist seems to suggest the idea that a woman doesn’t NEED a man at all, yet, to do the homesteading right, you need someone else (seems to be a husband/boyfriend kind of person for most) — you can’t do it all yourself. And it seems like a specific set of values that calls someone to grow their own food, to cook from “scratch”, to make the stuff they wear and that seems in conflict to the idea that “I’ll do it myself”, which is what I hear when I hear feminists speak out. I don’t want to call myself a feminist, I don’t want to be a feminist. I think its more accurate to say that the “back to home” movement is a recognition that as women we don’t need to find value anywhere else but in what gives us joy: doing what we are designed to do.

    Well, my two cents! Hope I don’t make any one person too upset. :P
    .-= Rachael´s last blog post …Newest endeavors…. =-.

    • KristenM
      March 15, 2010 | 6:25 pm

      I think the term “feminist” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I know many women who call themselves feminists who don’t resort to any sort of anti-male agenda or an “I don’t need a man” individualist spirit.

    • Katie
      March 19, 2010 | 11:50 am

      Yes, this!

      Feminism on a personal level might mean different things to different people, but it’s broad usage in modern culture is pretty clear, and it’s something I want NO part of.

      I don’t need chickens and gardening to “save” me from the drudgery of my home. I love my family. I love my husband. Tending to them makes me happy, because I’m living the life God has called me to. Everything I do is a part of that, my love for my family.

  7. a. borealis
    March 15, 2010 | 4:44 pm

    This is so fascinating.

    I’m reading this book right now: Glass Ceilings and 100-Hour Couples: What the Opt-Out Phenomenon Can Teach Us about Work and Family – Karine Moe and Dianna Shandy

    It has been a fascinating read, coming from being both in and out of the workplace. The authors make the assumption that ALL women want to be working FT. They also make it seem, though I think they would deny it, that the only sign of progress for women is to have a fabulous, out-of-the-home, paid job. I just don’t see this being the case. It certainly isn’t for me. And I know many, many other women with similar feelings/experiences. (Though some of the ramifications are interesting…like, why hire women if they are only going to quit in a decade (or less)? since most women start bucking the cultural expectations when they start having babies and their life experiences and priorities start shifting.)

    I think this is all a result of a much larger, sweeping problem. It isn’t limited to the 1960′s feminist revolt, or the decades that built up to it. Barbara Kingsolver called it, “the great hoodwink of my generation”. What it is, is the ramifications of industrialization and the changing of how we eat and live. This problem is centuries old. And if we want to dig back even deeper than that, it is probably as old as humanity. And, to make things even more complex, it stems from a variety of issues, all inter-twined with each other – industrialization, food, income, cultural shifts, etc. How’s that for an analysis?! LOL

  8. SassaFrass88
    March 15, 2010 | 5:12 pm

    This is a dream of mine, but, alas, I am also a renter after the ’08 foreclosure/ debacle my family had to endure.

    I must work full-time, run a blog and still managing the daily household duties for 2 young boys and my husband. Maybe someday I’ll be living the dream.

    Forget about ‘progression’. I think it’s time we all got back to our ‘roots’ and lived more simply.

    I’ll gladly trade in my SUV and 2hr daily commute for more time with my kids and healthy, home-grown/ cultivated food. Unfortunately, I’m the main bread-winner….for now….
    .-= SassaFrass88´s last blog post …Homemade/ Organic/ All-Natural/ Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies =-.

  9. Cara @ Health Home and Happiness
    March 15, 2010 | 5:15 pm

    I think it’s amusing that there’s a name for it now. Some of us have believed for a while that well thought out ‘home’ work is essential to a family’s health and well being. It’s not just conservative Christians either- I used to work in a Waldorf school where they recognized the importance of the rhythms of a home and incorporated it into the children’s school day.
    .-= Cara @ Health Home and Happiness´s last blog post …Maker’s Diet/Nourishing Traditions Menu Plan =-.

    • KristenM
      March 15, 2010 | 6:16 pm

      That was my response, too! I’m not much for labels, especially since they seem to mean so many different things to different people. But it still made me smile.

  10. mydogischelsea
    March 15, 2010 | 5:19 pm

    @sarahgilbert this story reminds me of you, with your kickass gardening, parenting & food-making (tho you also work): http://bit.ly/dy3ifX

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  11. Sheila (@stinginthetail)
    March 15, 2010 | 6:49 pm

    so only women with children and husbands, who’ve given up their lives and careers to spawn, can keep chickens or be self-sufficient? You have to be a bored stay at home mum with no other interests? Wow, thanks very much for the info
    .-= Sheila (@stinginthetail)´s last blog post …Die Already, Emo =-.

    • KristenM
      March 15, 2010 | 7:14 pm

      Sheila — I don’t think that was the article author’s intent, nor do I think it was the intent of the woman she was quoting (Shannon Hayes).

      I think she was pointing out the similarities between feminist goals (self-sufficiency, autonomy, fulfillment) with the goals of backyard farmers (self-sufficiency, autonomy, fulfillment).

      I thought it was a fun and fascinating parallel to make.

  12. Famous4Fashion
    March 15, 2010 | 6:50 pm

    Backyard Farming Is A Feminist Act | Food Renegade: http://bit.ly/cwHoym

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  13. Maggie
    March 15, 2010 | 7:08 pm

    If a carnivore eats meat, an herbivore eats vegetation, and a locavore eats locally, wouldn’t a femivore eat…women?

    Why do people find it so hard to just embrace the many ways there are to “be”? I try to embrace both the similarities and differences I see in people, but don’t feel the need to label each variation I identify. I certainly don’t want to be identified by such a silly label myself. Wouldn’t it be nicer to recognize ALL the people who live this way instead of singling some out and excluding others?
    .-= Maggie´s last blog post …Real Food Challenge Week 2 Recap =-.

    • KristenM
      March 15, 2010 | 7:15 pm

      Maggie — Ha ha! I had that thought first too. It’s why I found the label amusing. I wonder if it will become widespread, or if it’s just this particular author’s term.

  14. tammois
    March 15, 2010 | 7:25 pm

    @tammois a femivore? RT @silverbeet: @FoodRenegade: Keeping backyard chickens is a feminist act! http://bit.ly/dy3ifX /via @nomesmessenger

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  15. LisaV
    March 15, 2010 | 7:29 pm

    I don’t know about anybody else, but I feel fortunate to be able to stay at home and take care of my children. Baking bread, gardening, etc are all things I’ve always done, whether I worked or not. I don’t believe I need a label.

    • KristenM
      March 15, 2010 | 7:43 pm

      LisaV — You are certainly not alone! I’m a work-at-home, homeschooling mother, and I feel so thankful that I get to spend each and every day in the company of the most important little people in my world.

  16. Deborah Rosen
    March 15, 2010 | 7:48 pm

    Well, no…I’m not a “femivore.” I’ve never felt the need to “fancy up” being a homemaker. I’ve never been ashamed of what I do, be it in or out of the home.

    My work has always had value, to me, to my family and to my community.

    And I’ve been a feminist since Ms. Orenstein’s diaper days. Her own, that is. :D

    But hey, if someone needs a special label, they’re welcome to it. I happen to prefer goddess.

  17. Dyan Buffa
    March 15, 2010 | 8:06 pm

    I have chickens, polytunnels, greenhouse, cold frames, bees and compost bins. I love it and see it as “I am one with nature” or muscle to the devas. I think men and women should come to this realization… that it is the only way we are going to survive. Now without a lot of help from other people including my landlords that let me catch up on my rent when it is behind, or help with building my latest project I couldn’t have the lifestyle I do. So I am grateful for everyone and thing in my life. I also take great pleasure in all the wonderful people that come to visit to see what I am up to. LOL Then take some of my ideas and change them into their own ideas. You spread the best parts of you by your actions.

  18. Liz
    March 15, 2010 | 8:28 pm

    I am a SAHM trying to be self sufficient. This is what I’ve always wanted to do- for many reasons. However, I certainly don’t consider myself a feminist (don’t get me started on that) and I hope “femivore” never becomes widespread! Wow I can’t believe how much this word rubs me the wrong way!

  19. RK
    March 15, 2010 | 8:34 pm

    To be honest, this seems more like a facet of the DIY movement. The whole DIY movement seems like a certain strive for independence, whether it be via homemaking or otherwise, men or women, etc. In a backlash against consumer culture people are more inclined to make/grow/handle things themselves, and willing to learn how. Consumer culture ‘failed us’, time to get back to handling matters on our own, right?

  20. Gigi
    March 15, 2010 | 9:37 pm

    I am fortunate enough to have a husband with a job that allows me to not *have* to work to support myself/us. Last year I retired from being a Pilates Teacher for a variety of reasons, and began to wonder what my new mission in life would be. I was not “raised” to be a housewife, so I’m having to learn how more or less from scratch. I’ve always loved cooking, and also physiology. I’ve gotten more and more into the traditional – nourishing – real – local food philosophies and nutrition. That new mission is slowly forming – I’m learning all I can about Traditional Foods from those further down that road than I, and I will start teaching those following me how to get back to a more natural diet. I’m quite excited – I feel a lot like I did when I first discovered Pilates and made it my career 15 years or so ago!
    Like some of the other commenters, I react badly to the term “feminist”, although I’ve always expected equal treatment and pay and such. It seems that in an attempt to “empower” women to equality in the workplace (a good thing!!) the importance of taking care of the home and nourishing the family was sidelined. I went to a college prep school – was never taught to cook, sew, or balance a checkbook. I guess it was assumed we’d hire someone to do all those things for us?
    .-= Gigi´s last blog post …Hot Chocolate – Dairy Free =-.

  21. tina
    March 15, 2010 | 10:15 pm

    I’m just a Mom who works her butt off making sure her kids aren’t eating the crap other kids eat. That’s all.

  22. ApplecheekFarm
    March 16, 2010 | 4:59 am

    Backyard Farming Is A Feminist Act http://bit.ly/9nJkhs #realfood #profood

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  23. PureMothers
    March 16, 2010 | 6:03 am
  24. Barb
    March 16, 2010 | 8:22 am

    If farming (however little or much) and caring well for one’s family makes one a “feminist,” then I guess the majority of women throughout history have been thus. Which makes contemporary, urban, career-oriented feminists the oddities.

    • TJC
      March 29, 2010 | 6:02 pm

      Great point!

  25. Alex
    March 16, 2010 | 10:06 am

    This is a very interesting discussion–and i can see from some of the responses, that we here are truly “renegades” as most of us dont like the “labels”…lol–oh what a long strange trip it has been for me! City girl–full time marketing professional–married, working that 100 hour week–kids come–health issues (bad lymes disease)…fall into the loop of medication…expectation…desperation…

    now, 15 years out from lymes–and work–though no disability–which was my choice…i live my life as an artist, earth mother, gardener, child tender, multiple cause volunteer–double girl scout troop leader…a person who gets up every morning excited by life–a person who lives with a team of lovely beings and who enjoys every minute of it…two years ago, that lifestyle was all threatened by my husbands lay off–but we turned it into a sabbatical…traveled, lived more frugally–enjoyed nature and natural foods (which are much cheaper than take out and dinners out)…and it helped us REALLY realize what is important in life–a connection to family, friends, community, earth…having had the career success–and then having it taken away–you so much understand and appreciate that money/success/material goods do not make you happy…

    I like the term homesteader because that is much more what i am…i no longer need to equivocate myself with my gender…i am who i am–a woman with a shovel–and a woman and a shovel can change the world…my grandfather told me that when i was 3 years old, as i dug in the dirt of his coffee/bananna plantation in puerto rico–i believed him then–and i still believe him now…

  26. Diana@Spain in Iowa
    March 16, 2010 | 2:42 pm

    Not really digging the labels as well. I am a part time work at home mom and like so many woman here, garden, urban homestead, and cook real food. You are so right that feminism means so many things to so many people. The way I see it… sadly, our world changed so much when the wife and mother stepped out of the home to work and succeed. No longer able to raise her children, cook meals, and be a passionate homemaker. We opted for larger homes, 2 vehicles, material possesions and out of necessity gave in to fast food and daycare providers.

    In the state that our economy is now, most of it is due to the inability to be content with living simply.

    I was actually speaking to my father about this the other day. I live in a neighborhood that to some people would be classified as a “starter” home. A small home that one can live in, fix up, and move on up. However, in the 1950′s these were family homes. Families with 2 and 3 children were raised in these homes. It’s that kind of life that I want to live. One based on community, family and friendship. A life worth living! Call me an urban homesteader, call me a passionate homemaker! I love my kids and that is the number one reason I decided to hang up my corporate hat and stay home. The best thing that I have ever done!
    .-= Diana@Spain in Iowa´s last blog post …Growing Seeds Under Supplemental Lighting =-.

  27. Michelle
    March 16, 2010 | 2:53 pm

    I like the comment about carnivore, herbivore, and feminavore. Personally, I can say I grew up on a small, growing larger, family ran dairy farm. Both of my parents were always home on the farm. I grew up wanting to be independent, work the 100 hour week, knowing full well that when children entered the pictures, i wanted to be a stay at home mom. Since becoming a stay at home mom, I have learned I much more appreciate the term homemaker. I just buried my two great grandmothers who lived to be 97 and 103 doing exactly the same things as these “radical homemakers.” So tell me, why is it so bad that people are going back to their “roots”? In my case, it gives me a sense of nostalgia that I love – being with my child, playing in the dirt, learning to be the type of woman both of my great grandmothers lived to be. I don’t see anything radical or feminist about it.

  28. Melanie
    March 16, 2010 | 3:03 pm

    “chicks with chicks” = cute.
    “femivore” = irritating as heck.

    I have a comm. garden plot, I work 40 hours a week out “in the world”, I have a 5 y/o son, grown step-kids, two grandsons, a hubby with 2 jobs. I like Twitter, blogs, Facebook, FarmVille, and I have a cookbook addiction that won’t quit. I’m just as happy (usually) cooking as I am eating out. I’d love to be a “housewife” and have a whole different set of jobs and pay more attention to my husband and kids than I currently can.

    Anyone care to label me? Are there enough labels? Can’t “femivors” just be “people who like to garden and raise their own food for a variety of different, and some non-politically motivated” reasons?

    Sorry – end of rant. :)

  29. Allister
    March 16, 2010 | 3:19 pm

    Not a fan of this concept being feminized. “…Feminist act” No. Smart? Yes. Good for them? YOU BET! But why is it a feminist act? Because they are exercising their choice and choosing the home? Come on! I am a male, homemaker, gardener, sewer of clothes and changer of diapers. Am I a feminst? NO! Am I am maninist? NO! I am a stay at home dad. So flipping what?

    There is nothing revolutionary here. At home gardening is older then the car, so common the presidents family has one, and a woman choosing to stay at home is, well, irrelevant. If this were a man choosing to stay at home and garden and take care of the family while his wife worked what would be your reaction? Would you feel differently about it? Why does gender have to play a role in this in any way?

    Sorry, but I think adding “fem” to something excludes the “mas”, and gardening or being the stay at home parent is merely an economic decision. Child care is ridiculously expensive, schools are useless, markets are filled with costly garbage that hurt your health, and the information is available to help you find a smaller house, till a yard, and live within the budget allowable by one income. The only choice then becomes which parent is making less money or enjoys their job less? That parent goes home.

    Maybe I was raised by hippies (dont tell mom), but I do not see this as being revolutionary. Just good plain, common sense.

    • Cool Beans
      March 22, 2010 | 3:25 pm

      Agreed! Moms aren’t the only ones staying home…
      My husabnd stays at home with the kids, does the homeschooling and the vast majority of the housework. I work, cook the dinners, and do the gardening. Stay-at-home moms are not the only people concerned with negative impacts of our instructrial food system, taking action to feed their families SOLE foods, baking bread, or preserving their garden harvests.

  30. Real Food Mama
    March 16, 2010 | 6:08 pm

    I too read this article with a bit of a cynical gaze. Why is it that when a group of women appear to all be doing the same thing, it suddenly becomes a feminist issue?

    I do not categorize myself as feminist. I feel like the act of staying home with my child, preparing our food in a wholesome way and working to raise dairy goats and chickens is not anything like the feminism that took women out of the home, creating a situation where a whole generation of kids were in daycare and resulted in the myth of the super-mom; a woman who prepares food, cares for her children, works 60 hours a week and still is smoking hot in the bedroom.

    As far as I am concerned it seems perfectly natural for the food revolution to be the domain of homemakers – we are the ones with the closest relationship to our food! The fact that the majority of us are women may be interesting, but is fundamentally irrelevant.

    Perhaps it is my inherent dislike of being classified as a feminist, but I dislike the idea of my hard work being summed up in a single catchphrase such as “femivore”.

    That being said, I am not at all surprised that women are the driver’s of the local and SOLE food movements. If the historians are to be believed, women discovered agriculture the first time around. Seems only natural that we would rediscover it now!

    – RFM
    .-= Real Food Mama´s last blog post …Food For Thought Tuesday =-.

  31. Jo
    March 16, 2010 | 10:53 pm

    I agree with many here…..”chicks with chicks” is cute, but “femivore” is not. To me, it makes me wonder if this is some way of trying to “market” this way of life. Trying to stick a label on it irks me.
    I do “get” that this person is trying to say that many people are finding their way to this lifestyle. It’s getting validation. But to stick the label “femivore” on it, is appalling. No ONE group OWNS this type of lifestyle.

  32. momma cass
    March 17, 2010 | 12:47 pm

    I guess I am in the minority but I was not offended by the term “femivore”, I understood that it was meant to be funny & ironic. I related very much to the article & thought it amusing that there are new terms being coined to try & describe what is becoming a growing movement. Obviously this is not just about women but I personally have felt very conflicted as to what the best choices were when I started having children & I stradled both the world of commerce & home for several years before wearing myself out completely! I feel that I have discovered that missing piece that has made it all click together for me. Not just chickens & gardens but also natural medicine & homemaking that allows me to feel a wonderful sense of power & freedom which to me is ironic b/c those are certainly not the emotions I felt about being at home with small children prior to making this change. I think that the biggest lesson for me has been to follow the natural rhythms of life & to NOT TAKE EVERYTHING SO SERIOUSLY!!

  33. KnobbyKabushka
    March 17, 2010 | 6:36 pm

    Ladies are you a “femivore?” – Backyard Farming Is A Feminist Act http://shar.es/moywZ

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  34. btwixt
    March 18, 2010 | 7:43 am

    @misterberndt See: http://bit.ly/dy3ifX. (Did your neighbors grant approval?)

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  35. Brandy Afterthoughts
    March 18, 2010 | 2:10 pm

    It seems to me that the feminists in Berkley inadvertantly discovered what women have done for almost the entirety of human history, and then the author of the article decided to treat it like it was a novel idea. Truly, reading Wendell Berry’s essays in Home Economics or What are People For? should put an end to this ridiculous notion that the agrarian lifestyle is somehow “feminist.”

    I do agree that a proper homestead would ideally benefit from the work of the entire family–the husband, the wife, and also all of the children. That was mentioned near the end. However, Berry himself asserted this back in the 80s in his essay Feminism, the Body, and the Machine when he wrote:

    I do not believe that there is anything better to do than to make one’s marriage and household, whether one is a man or a woman. I do not believe that “employment outside the home” is as valuable or important or satisfying as employment at home, for either men or women.

    Feminism was essentially an Industrial movement and its core values involved a rejection of marriage, children, and home life in favor of an industrial job and a personal paycheck. To the extent that self-proclaimed feminists have returned to a place similar to that in which their great-great-grandmothers once stood, one might more rightly call it repentance than anything else.
    .-= Brandy Afterthoughts´s last blog post …America Alone (Post 4) =-.

  36. Nate @ House of Annie
    March 19, 2010 | 10:50 am

    The label is only there for marketing purposes. The movement back to the homestead can get along without such names.
    .-= Nate @ House of Annie´s last blog post …Belacan Fried Chicken =-.

  37. Anisa
    March 19, 2010 | 2:50 pm

    Ok – the term “chicks with chicks” cracks me up and makes me feel like I’m not the only crazy (which is what I felt when my family firt started down this urban homesteading path). But the key to that last statement: my FAMILY stated down the path. I didn’t do it with some agenda, and certainly don’t count myself as faminist. I wouldn’t be able to (nor would I want to) do this for one second with out my husband’s help – emotionally, physically, financially, and morally.

    Still – expect a trackpack. Good post!
    .-= Anisa´s last blog post …Let Them Eat Cake =-.

  38. DrChoc0late2
    March 21, 2010 | 3:39 am

    http://twitpic.com/19z6hv – 5 star?

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  39. cheyennevyvyan
    March 21, 2010 | 4:32 pm

    Backyard Farming Is A Feminist Act:
    So says Peggy Orenstein last week in The New York Times Magazine. Are … http://bit.ly/cwHoym #reader

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  40. annaavenhoward
    March 21, 2010 | 4:42 pm

    Backyard farming is a feminist act! whooo hooo! http://su.pr/1rI7ak #farming #feminist

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  41. candace
    March 21, 2010 | 5:58 pm

    My husband used to call me a conundrum because I hyphenated my last name when we got married (he also took this combination of our last names) and am fairly adamant about gender equality, but plan to stop working outside the home when we have children and eventually homeschool. For now, I’m working part-time beginning this fall to create more time for gardening more seriously and preparing more of our own food. While I don’t think the “femivore” movement is a new one, I’m happy to see the lifestyle described is getting more notice and perhaps more popularity.
    .-= candace´s last blog post …Spring Break aka An Excuse to Not Leave the House =-.

  42. jacobmlee
    March 25, 2010 | 6:06 pm

    Hate the term, love the concept. “-vore” is the ‘cupcake’ of the hipster-literary world… http://bit.ly/9hwTlQ

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  43. Sheri @ Moms for Safe Food
    March 26, 2010 | 9:39 am

    I don’t care for the term either, but I’m a mom, garden and have chickens. :-)
    I also work from home so don’t know what term they’d use for that. LOL

    We are also renters at the moment. We’re planning on relocating after the kids graduate high school in two years. We’re in the heart of the suburbs and my landlord was okay with us having chickens. They’re in a movable coop and as long as we don’t have a rooster we’re within city guidelines.

  44. Belle sudiste
    March 29, 2010 | 2:32 pm

    I don’t consider myself a feminist or radical because I garden and want to have chickens and kids and goats. I feel like I’m old fashioned. I think its a woman’s duty to be able to protect and sustain her family through self sufficiency. I don’t think that we’re being radical, we’re reverting to the satisfying and challenging lifestyle women had while running a household before labor saving devices. I’m a college student and I can’t wait to graduate, get married and settle down on a farm with a mess of animals and children!

  45. Deanna
    March 29, 2010 | 6:57 pm

    When I declared my intention to leave my corporate job and stay home with my six-month old son, that alone was enough to raise eyebrows in the office. When I followed by saying, “We’re headed to the country. And boy, do I mean COUNTRY,” my colleagues bluntly offered that I could easily find myself bored, unsatisfied, unchallenged and intellectually unfulfilled. Yes, I *could* have…but I didn’t, I’m not, and know I never will be. Consuming depressed me; producing rewards me, not to mention my family.
    .-= Deanna´s last blog post …Relatively Speaking =-.

  46. OffHerCork
    April 1, 2010 | 3:14 pm

    For the love of all that is holy, why does every act need a label? “Femivore” MEH. http://is.gd/baauw (via food renegade)

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  47. Jenna Ann
    April 8, 2010 | 7:17 am

    I’ve not applied the label “femivore” to myself but I DO consider myself a Radical Homemaker. (I LOVE that book!!!!!)
    .-= Jenna Ann´s last blog post …REDUCE, reuse, recycle =-.

  48. Mommypotamus
    April 8, 2010 | 8:09 am

    That term “femivore” is horrific. If we base our understanding off other similar words like “herbivore”, one would logically assume that a femivore eats females. Anyone else ready to pass? :)

    I blogged about my own chicken coop obsession just yesterday. I do not, however, consider myself anything at all resembling a feminist. I am educated, informed, and proactively researching ways to personally improve the health of my family. But I never do so from a perspective of domination or control or gaining back what was “stolen” from me by the male gender.

    Instead, I am quick to honor men, especially my husband and men in positions of authority in my life (spiritual and civic). There is a breaking of the bonds of control that only comes through the vehicle of honor.
    .-= Mommypotamus´s last blog post …Healthy Snacks That Toddlers Love Part 1 =-.

  49. Fimail
    December 6, 2010 | 10:23 pm

    I think that people don’t understand feminism. Feminism is and always has been about women being considered whole persons – so voting, changing the laws to make it illegal for your husband to hit you, and then changing attitudes so that this is dealt with properly by police, being paid equally for equal work and being allowed to study things at university are obvious major milestones that most people know about.

    All of these are about allowing women and men to participate fully in the world. If anyone told you now that you or your daughter couldn’t study maths at high school, go to university, complain if you were beaten up, or vote you’d rightly feel like a second class citizen.

    How people express feminist ideas however and what they think is a social good and how they think about society. Therefore there is definitely a stream of feminism which has been pro work anti childraising or home life and about women working long hours. Funnily enough at the same time many more women entered the workplace western economies were in the process of shifting from a manufacturing to a service economy – and there were many more employees needed, especially low paid ones like women, in the service economy. You can’t blame feminism for a major shift in the economy. After all not all feminists went that direction anyway.

    Feminist theorists have discussed for instance: why doesn’t the GDP of a country count the unpaid work that (largely) women do in society? Why do working hours have to reflect male ideals of long hours? What effect does this have on men too? There are some really interesting maternal feminists around too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminism

  50. Anna
    January 24, 2012 | 12:47 am

    Femivore – I never heard that one before! Though I’m not so sure about the name, I do identify strongly with the meaning, and I’m so glad to see that the movement is spreading as far as the New York Times!

    I write about radical homemaking at http://patchworkradicals.weebly.com – and attempt to answer the question so many here are asking: what makes homemaking radical, again?

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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