Traditional Womanly Arts for Austere Times by Sue of Suburbia

Thursday, Mar 31, 2011

Sometimes I ponder what it means to be a woman in our society of hyper-consumption.  If you watch television or read today’s women’s magazines, you are led to believe that the activities most preferred by a woman are shopping, poisoning her nails, getting her hair yanked around in a salon, zapping packaged foods in the microwave, and ingesting a concoction of prescription drugs to stay sane through it all.

I tried some of these things in the past.  Each time, I was left with an utterly unfulfilled feeling and thinking, “There has to be more to being a woman than this!”  I stopped reading women’s magazines about 11 years ago and stopped watching television about five years ago.  With both of these moves, my life has changed dramatically.  I have been able to focus on the true meaning of being a woman, not the image fed to me by advertisers.  In the process, I have acquired a set of traditional womanly arts that I will never lose.  I began acquiring these skills first while living in a condo and have expanded my skills set here on my ½ acre suburban plot.

Many of these traditional womanly arts are also necessary skills during periods of austerity, and have been used by generations of women and mothers before us.  I practice them for the feeling of fulfillment I get from them, knowing that I am taking good care of my family and my land in the most healthful way.  When TSHTF, it will be necessary for us women to go back to our roots doing what our bodies, minds and hearts were designed to do.  Our primary function is to be selfless and nurture our families in a mindful way.  Succumbing to pressures from advertisers to be selfish and to consume their products does not achieve this and holds us back on so many levels.  Why spend $20 getting our nails done when we could use that money to buy a used book and a video on knitting or sewing?  Why spend $150 on getting our hair yanked around when that money could be spent more wisely on a whole library of books on gardening?  It is time to invest in ourselves as women in a real way.  Learning these womanly arts now will prove to be priceless and will help our families stay healthy when TEOTWAWKI occurs.  It will be necessary for a woman to be a “Jill-of-all-trades” and those trades do not include pushing a shopping cart, parallel parking an SUV, or operating a television remote. 

These are by no means an exhaustive list of traditional womanly arts, but they are what I love to do the most and what I have found – as a mother and wife - to be most valuable in my household:

For good reading on the philosophy of homemaking, I recommend Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture by grass-fed cattle farmer Shannon Hayes.
While not specifically aimed at women, this book dives deeply into the fulfillment that traditional domesticity offers, and it aims to drive people away from the consumerist lifestyle into a more satisfying life of production.  I believe women of all walks of life can benefit greatly from this type of reading.


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