Friday, February 18, 2011

21st Century Postmodern June Cleaver-ism: The New Domesticity

June Cleaver would so her pearls of wisdom...
...this at-home Neo-Dior new-look but she'd be surprised... see it going out the door for outside the home work as well!

Between girlfriends' posts on blogs, Facebook and emails... it seems there's a New Domesticity about...

Preppies and non-Preppies alike are not relegating themselves to being "only career women", "just staying at home" or "mainly ladies who lunch...and play tennis" anymore. Everyone seems to not only be rejecting all too simple-labeling of themselves and their lifestyles but also to honestly be actual multi-faceted women.

Suffice it to say, I really like this trending. The 21st Century Woman can no longer be labeled!

We are much more than just what we "do", who we "care for" and what we're "interested in".

After doing a very non-scientific research polling of my girlfriends and female acquaintances, it looks like most of the women I know who are aged about late 20's to mid-50's are faceted in the following way: either working full time, part-time or have a sideline that brings in money; caring also for children, parents/grandparents and/or a bevy of dogs, horses and such; either in graduate school, going back to school or doing some kind of additional learning, certification; do some sort of church, community, children's'-events, civic clubs or other type of volunteering; is actively interested in something like athletics/fitness, the arts, gardening, book clubs and such; is fashionable to some degree no matter what's the personal styling; is married or is in a serious relationship or is really looking for a serious relationship; leans towards some form of domesticity.

This last facet of the 21st Century Woman fascinates me....

June Cleaver would be chuckling to herself by this point in time after her 1950's all-things-domestic heyday was "rejected" by the Mods, the Hippies, the Career Girl and Working Woman arising in the late 1970's and dressing like their male counterparts by the 80's, the Punks, the Yuppies, the Slackers, the Laura Ashley Romantics and the Nouveau-Preppies, the Grungers, the Tree Huggers and today's Yoga Moms, Super Have-it-All Women, and so on and so forth.

For despite all of the incarnations a woman of today may choose to style herself and her life from, despite all of the ready-made products out there now and the multitude of service providers available at any one's beck n' call, despite graduate degrees and business awards and playing power politics as well as any man...many, many women still find such valued reward in tending hands-on to their particular versions of hearth n' home.

I know so many women who truly enjoy the domestic arts of baking, cooking, sewing, knitting, needlepoint, houseplants, gardening etc as well as actually wanting to sweep, wipe down counters, set the table and so on. And the majority of these are not full time stay-at-home folks.
One of my ole' college buddies is a great example of this: a full time career woman who juggles her job and assorted community n' church activities with raising her children and spending time with her husband all the while running regularly up a storm. I always enjoy seeing her picture-postings of what she terms "food porn" on Facebook. Beautiful baked goods, delicious looking lasagnas and gourmet fish dishes, very pretty appetizers and on n' on.....

June Cleaver would not only be proud, she'd be gobsmacked!

Another college buddy and fellow sorority sister of mine has her graduate degree in science and has translated this into a homesteading project which blends science, environmentalism, gardening, art, blogging and a learning center with also tending to her family and coordinating her husband's art work gallery pieces n' shows as well.

June Cleaver would not only be impressed, she'd be intrigued!

My own adult life path has seen seemingly-contrasting multi-facets within it over the past twenty years involving a business management career on local, district and corporate levels along with a professional writing career as well having written a fashion column, aviation columns and now this blog, producing fashion shows and merchandising for three different retailers, one graduate degree down and one left to go, caregiving for family members, decorating and tending to four homes so far, a penchant for needlepoint and puttering around the house, cultivating way too many houseplants n' orchids and working now my third kitchen-herb raised bed garden and of course fly fishing n' skiing as much as possible all the while traveling to now over thirty different countries.

June Cleaver would go, dang girl!

The 21st Century Woman can indeed still wear her pearls, Dior full-skirts with short coat tops and heels all the while baking away in her kitchen, running the local charity sale, running the kids around, running a business, running a business meeting and heck, running the world.

Sometimes yes, we literally can't do it all, period, or do it all at one time but we all can do most all of the choices that are important to us...

Hillary Clinton's quip about just staying home and "baking cookies" was so 20th Century wasn't it? In this 21st Century you bet that indeed we can bake cookies no matter what our daily life involves and what's more, we can actually really enjoy doing this too!


  1. Love it and how on the mark you are...we have done June Cleaver proud!
    Agreed, I don't think women have to compartamentalize themselves into a term, label or identity. We can be many things. My doctor friend who is brilliant also runs a small freelance graphic artist business and is about to start a blog on it as well (who knows where she will find the time but if anyone can do it, it will be her) I know of someone else who teaches dentistry at Columbia but is a fierce baker and often daydreams about quitting her teaching job to get this bake cookies for a living!
    So the glass ceiling lets say maybe is really lifting in not its definition of women agasint the men but more about how women are free to express themsevles however they might wish, without the inhibtions of the past or fear of being labled. We as a whole, are more secure and confident than we have ever been. I also wonder as I write much of an effect the internet has had on our freedom to express, its been an incredible outlet and thats a whole other question which I will have to think about!
    Great post.....have a wonderful weekend. And maybe I will go bake some Hilary"s

  2. Thank you so much enchanted home for such a wonderful reply post and I definitely agree about the internet playing a huge role in this...excellent point! I'm hoping that someone like Juliet Schor will research and write about this- I love her work.

    Women have always multi-tasked and the internet allows this to go on whenever a woman has extra-time instead of only when office-hours and store-hours are available. I'm thinking of how such things as owning a bricks n' mortar store is as contrasted to owning and running an Ebay store or other online store fronted by a website. Also how writing has changed. When I first started out, I wrote for a local newspaper and occasionally other publications as well and would run typed-out copy over to those offices then floppy discs and eventually just email over at whatever time before deadline I was finished with a piece. As well, establishing any kind of individual presence as a writer used to be limited to being carried by a publication or churning out one's own newsletter which would be mailed out but now...especially with blogging, no actual paper or postage or patronism is needed...

    Your point about the glass ceiling is teriffic too! Numbers-wise we may still lag a bit but quality-wise we don't and I believe that soon enough, with all things considered, women will equal pay, professional stature and pure numbers to men at some point. James and I were chatting about doctors the other day and we agree that the best physicians we've experienced so far have all be female excepting one neurosurgeon from a decade back. It had just occurred to us...and wasn't something we were trying to prove or had a preference for.

    SO neat about your friends!

    Oh, and finally, as I'm thinking of it. The whole perspective about education is also changing. I'm so glad that my undergrad experience involved being fully-involved living on a cute campus with lots of activities going on amidst beautiful red brick buildings shaded by big oak trees however...for my masters...I didn't need all that and happily completed this degree entirely online through the UNC system. And now, in looking into PhD programs, one of the biggest considerations again is that it can be at least partially to fully done online. Some study areas do need one's physical presence with science labs and such but my field can easily have me doing research via the internet and also from wherever I personally chose to glean information from which, in this case would be Germany and thus I'd travel over there during my dissertation segment of the degree pursuit rather than sitting in a classroom or digging thru library stacks.

    Viva la internet! We are so blessed to have this within our 21st Century experience and especially so as truly modernized women :)

    Best as always to you! -Lachlan

  3. Lachlan, you have inspired me! I grew up on the Georgia coast, but moved to Colorado in 1998. While I love the mountains, I do get homesick for the flowers, trees, & great food of the South. I always look forward to reading your new posts. You've inspired me to start my own lifestyle blog today, "Mountains & Magnolias." Here's hoping that I can give it the attention you show yours.

  4. Thank you so much mountains and magnolias! :) I am really thrilled to hear that I've inspired you to begin writing your own blog and I just checked it out...great start and have a blast with it!!!

    It's wonderful to hear that people look forward to reading my posts, yea! This is the third year of my blog and each year I write more frequently each month...or at least try to ;) What started out as a novelty to me has become such a rewarding aspect of my life with both the creative writing and also the friends along the way I've been honored to connect with thru this blog.

    BEST to you and congratulations again on your blog- Lachlan