Canning and Feminism

Man, it has been a while since I’ve written anything “for fun.” I recently turned in my last ever undergraduate paper for my Gender Studies degree and I am acclimating to being done with school. It’s a weird sensation and I could probably talk about it for quite some time.

However, today I have something specific that I want to talk about. This has nothing to do with school (although I will mention that I am almost officially graduated!), my new job (again, I will mention that it is going phenomenally well), or how weird I feel that Nathan is starting school on Saturday and I am not.

What I actually want to talk about relates to what I did on August 11th. I spent this particular Saturday in the great north woods of Minnesota with my mom. Some friends of ours were in Canada for a powwow and they generously allowed my mom and I to come out, pick all their ripe green beans, can them, and take them home. I also made my first jar of pickles! (I’ll let you know how they taste after I open the jar, hehe.)

The reason I want to talk about this is because of a conversation we had while we were standing there at the sink. I was rinsing the green beans and my mom was stuffing them in jars, waiting to be processed. I made the comment that canning was such a uniquely womanly thing and I really loved being able to do it with her. My mom responded by saying that this is what she though feminists were really missing out on. As I thought about this, I carefully considered what I would say.  After all, I am a feminist and I am also really enjoying canning with my mom.

Throughout the day up to this point we had been talking about how second wave feminism seemed to be filled with anger toward “the man.” While much of this anger was completely justified the movement also alienated a lot of women who were proud of the work they were doing at home as mothers. In many ways, second wave feminism hurt the very women it sought to help. And while it also did a lot of great things (I really appreciate being able to open my own checking account) it also did some less great things.

My response was that while I agreed with her about what she was saying earlier in the day, I thought that the women’s movement was constantly changing. Today, there are all different types of women speaking their piece about feminism. Part of that is due to the internet where everyone can have their voices heard. Part of that is because many women who many not have been empowered to say anything were empowered because of the women’s movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. And that a huge part of that change is that today, women can identify as feminists and enjoy canning because we realized that feminism is truly about choice. If you feel strongly about staying home and have that ability you should be able to do so. If you feel strongly, or need, to work outside the home you should be able to do so. These choices, and many others, need to be accommodated by society through equality all around. Women who work outside the home receive a child care tax credit. I feel that women who stay home with their children should receive the same tax credit.

These are just examples. To sum it all up, I am grateful that feminism has changed to accommodate the needs of many people and not simply a select group. I know we still have a long way to go but I feel we are making progress in the right direction.

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4 thoughts on “Canning and Feminism

  1. I love that u had this conversation on my kitchen! I consider my self a radical homemaker and the work I do the.most radical work I have ever done. I think that it is unfortunate that feminists believe that they need to win in the competetive world of men instead of raising the status of the cooperative world of women. What we need in the world is not feminism but a return yo matroarchy.

    1. Becky, I absolutely agree! And really, I think it has something to do with your kitchen because it seems a lot of those types of thoughts are floating around in there.

      I am proud to call myself a feminist. However, I believe that feminism is about equality for everyone. You want (and are able to) stay home? Great! You want to leave home for your work? Great! Regardless of your sex and/or gender identity, those options should be open to you.

  2. I just fist pumped when I read your post. Literally. Awesome points, and it excites me that we’re having these conversations about feminism. For too long we’ve always been saying (or at least me, anyways) that feminism is about challenging gender stereotypes, including the notion that women who are feminists are hard, harsh, and hate domestic styled stuff. If that’s what you’re into- go for it. If you want to breastfeed your toddlers while raising chickens in your backyard, have at it. If you prefer to be a beer drinking, sci fi reading, beatifully disorganized soul- enjoy yourself! True feminism is being non judgemental of the life choices of others, and recognizing the social and economic grip that gender can have on all of us.

    Just lovely. 😉

    p.s. I love canning, too.

    ~ j

    1. Awesome, I’ve never had my post garner a fist pump before :D.

      As I said in the post, I am grateful for second wave feminism but it really did a disservice to a lot of women. They kind of just missed the point, I think. The point is about equal opportunity and equal responsibility for everyone.

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