Meet the radical homemakers reclaiming

"Radical Homemakers" Review and Interview with Author Shannon Hayes | HuffPost

meet the radical homemakers reclaiming

Radical homemaking is what happens when Your Money or Your Life meets Mother Earth News. It's the journey of families who decide that rather than earning. Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture [ Shannon Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover's Companion for Enjoying Meat, . Coming home to Australia after meeting these women I didn't want to get straight There's a term called Radical Homemaker that Shannon Hayes coined with her book 'Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a.

Housewives and husbands were free people, who owned their own homes and lived off their land.

meet the radical homemakers reclaiming

While there was a division of labor among the sexes in these early households, there was also an equal distribution of domestic work. Once the Industrial Revolution happened, however, things changed.

Meet the Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes — YES! Magazine

Men left the household to work for wages, which were then used to purchase goods and services that they were no longer home to provide. Indeed, the men were the first to lose their domestic skills as successive generations forgot how to butcher the family hog, how to sew leather, how to chop firewood. As the Industrial Revolution forged on and crossed the ocean to America, men and women eventually stopped working together to provide for their household sustenance.

They developed their separate spheres—man in the factory, woman in the home. The more a man worked outside the home, the more the household would have to buy in order to have needs met. The household was no longer a unit of production. It was a unit of consumption. In truth, pointed out Friedan, happily-ever-after never came. Countless women suffered from depression and nervous breakdowns as they faced the endless meaningless tasks of shopping and driving children hither and yon.

They never had opportunities to fulfill their highest potential, to challenge themselves, to feel as though they were truly contributing to society beyond wielding the credit card to keep the consumer culture humming. And corporate America seized upon a golden opportunity to secure a cheaper workforce and offer countless products to use up their paychecks.

Before long, the second family income was no longer an option. In the minds of many, it was a necessity. Homemaking, like eating organic foods, seemed a luxury to be enjoyed only by those wives whose husbands garnered substantial earnings, enabling them to drive their children to school rather than put them on a bus, enroll them in endless enrichment activities, oversee their educational careers, and prepare them for entry into elite colleges in order to win a leg-up in a competitive workforce.

They cooked, cleaned, toiled, served and remained silent and powerless. My husband and I fell into neither category, and I suspected there were more like us. Backyard chickens in downtown L.

  • Follow the Author
  • "Radical Homemakers" Review and Interview with Author Shannon Hayes

Shannon Hayes found that "radical homemaking" is transcending urban-rural divides. I received hundreds of letters from rural, suburban, and city folks alike.

Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture

Some ascribed to specific religious faiths, others did not. As long as the home showed no signs of domination or oppression, I was interested in learning more about them. I selected twenty households from my pile, plotted them on a map across the United States, and set about visiting each of them to see what homemaking could look like when men and women shared both power and responsibility.

I spent time in families with and without children. By making use of locally available resources, they made the boycotts leading up to the American Revolution possible. They played a critical role in the foundational civic education required to launch a young democratic nation.

A Radical Homemaker

They were driving forces behind both the abolition and suffrage movements. Homemakers today could have a similar influence. The Radical Homemakers I interviewed had chosen to make family, community, social justice, and the health of the planet the governing principles of their lives. They rejected any form of labor or the expenditure of any resource that did not honor these tenets.

Preserving food at home lets "radical homemakers" eat local, organic food year-round—even on limited budgets. While all the families had some form of income that entered their lives, they were not a privileged set by any means. Most of the families I interviewed were living with a sense of abundance at about percent of the federal poverty level. Some lived on considerably less, few had appreciably more. Not surprisingly, those with the lowest incomes had mastered the most domestic skills and had developed the most innovative approaches to living.

There is a lot of talk about how unimportant income is to them, yet most of the people in the book have household incomes which put them in the third income quintile in the US based on the figures from and some are in the fourth quintile or higher.

Interestingly, the income from the family in which one parent is a medical doctor is not given. Nearly all are well above the poverty line. There is a complete lack of recognition for the fact it is much easier to be unconcerned about income when your income is large enough to sustain yourself and your family. Hayes is correct our culture is overrun by consumerism and far too many people fail to understand the real cost of what they own or even want to own.

Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by Shannon Hayes

Although she backpedals a bit at the very end of the book, her philosophy is largely presented as an all-or-nothing proposition. She blatantly ignores the fact, statistically speaking, very few people are actually living that life.

I also found it interesting Hayes encouraged readers to turn their backs on the "extractive economy" and live off the land, but she was fine with people taking money from family members who worked at jobs which were part of the same system they were eschewing. I was also a bit baffled by the rationalizations of the families who turned their backs on the "extractive economy" to become self-sustaining units of production, but then sought out and accepted government aid.

I won't take the time to point out all of the nonsense asthma caused by working parents, homeschooling to avoid E. I was surprised by how much I disliked this book. When it was suggested for our book group I was really excited to read it.

meet the radical homemakers reclaiming

But unfortunately it just didn't deliver.