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Feminist Housewives Reclaim the Kitchen

Many of the new wave of women stitchers and bakers see kitchen work as part of a lost culture that belonged only to women.

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Cultural movements, like everything else, are cyclical. Rose was at the beck and call of her large family, making popcorn when they wanted it the only way she knew how. My working mom, a second-wave feminist, taught us to toss prepackaged bags into the microwave if we were hungry after school. Today those bags are known to be unhealthy at best and carcinogenic at worst. Hunter's mom will cook him homemade popcorn, with organic everything. Which way is the Right Way To Do It? I don't know. Friedan and Matthews suggest that our culture has a stake in keeping us doubtful of every choice we make, even going so far as to obscure whether or not we have one.

For as far as Friedan's movement has taken us, statistics don't lie. Women's paychecks are still short 23 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Child care costs in Minnesota are estimated to be as high as $11,000 per year. Mathematics proves that our playing fields still aren't level.

Yet I'm proud that I could put all my college writing skills to work eulogizing a woman who was one hell of a grandmother and housewife. In it, I noted a truth that would seem shocking if uttered about a mother of a different generation: I can't remember Grandma Rose ever telling me she loved me. That stern North Dakota mien never left her. She showed me, though, in her amazing cooking. I returned her affection by eating.

Shannon Drury is a SheSaid columnist for MWP.

 
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