The San Francisco Chronicle recently ran the article, Radical homemakers reclaim the simple life, describing how women are stepping off the professional track and going back to homemaking. But, not in a 1950s way. More like an 1850s way which include subsistence farming, food preservation, bartering and frugal living.
These women are staying home to raise not only their children, but chickens, and grow gardens, can food and make their own soap. In other words, "shunning consumer culture in favor of a life of complete and utter domesticity." You know, the stuff many of us have been doing for years. With or without a job in the formal economy.
However, is it really radical? I would consider many of these activities to be non-mainstream (albeit popularity is on the rise), but not exactly radical. For many, I think they see doing these things more like a hobby. I'm sure the same could be claimed for men who are interested in cooking (a la the Food Network) or DIY automotive work (a la MOTORZ.tv). But, that's not considered radical.
First of all, do you need to quit your job to be a homemaker? Particularly in light of the fact that the women featured in this article all had some other source of income either through writing, their farm business, soap business or, in one case, a full-time teaching gig?
And, furthermore, is there anything radical about what we do?
Photo credit: Robin Johnson Simpson making soap in her kitchen, courtesy of The Chronicle.