You all know the stereotype: The obedient and subservient wife who could cook a gourmet meal, make her own absolutely fabulous clothes and decorate her home beautifully with things created with her own hands.
The Stepford Wife. Martha Stewart. June Cleaver. The more recent version: Sandra Lee
You know. The stereotypes good little feminist girls love to hate, because they represent a lack of independence, a willingness to define yourself by what services you can provide to your man or your children. They represent servitude rather than freedom, an obsession with fitting in and being exactly like everyone else, with keeping up appearances and keeping up with the Joneses.
But the face of the woman who loves to cook, craft, and sew is changing. No longer is this only the realm of the June Cleavers of the world, the WASP bottle blondes with the botox smile. Crafts and Cooking aren’t just for boring old ladies or cookie-cutout wives anymore.
No, the only common factor for the new crafty, cooking, home-maker woman is that she is exceedingly uncommon. She embraces her weirdness and her differences and her independence even as she embraces those things that once defined the “domestic.”
Take a look at me, for example: I am a geeky girl who cares more about the latest video games than in what some celebutante wore to the Oscars, who happily streaks her hair pink, purple, or fire-engine red when she can get away with it, who loves tattoos and punk music and has a mind that is very happily at home in the gutter in which it generally resides, and who has a mouth that could probably make a sailor blush. The only pairs of stockings I own are all fishnet (and mostly torn) and I have to be really in the mood to put on a dress. Most of the time when at my leisure, I’m found in a snarky t-shirt and unravelling jeans.
I love to sew, cook, knit, crochet, embroider – you name it. I devour recipes and play with them to make them my own. I modify store-purchased clothes to make them better suit my (tending-toward-punky) tastes. I sew elaborate costumes for conventions, and I knit or do cross stitch to relax. I have been known to be an insomniac baker – getting up and baking odd things in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep. (My office loves me for this…)
There’s Natalie, over at a foodie blog I love called Bake and Destroy. Not only does she have some really tasty recipes to offer, she has some of the most beautiful ink I’ve ever seen and shares my love of punky clothes, odd haircolors, and good music.
There’s a forum for domestically inclined punkers over at Punk Rock Domestics that can always be counted on for some good recipes and fun projects. Naughty Needles and Knit Porn have some awesome knitting patterns and advice for knitters, including some gorgeous burlesque outfits to knit and some bondage related crafting advice. (Ever wondered how to knit some cuffs with d-rings ready for the ropes?) There’s an entire section of patterns over on Ravelry for “adult” knitting patterns, and there’s geeky patterns enough to keep me knitting for decades. (My Ravelry Profile).
As far as books, since the new knitting revolution began with Stitch ‘n Bitch, there’s been an increase in books with knitting and sewing patterns that girls (and guys) like me might actually want to make, wear, and/or decorate with, including Domiknitrix, Punk Knits, and Subversive Cross Stitch. Etsy is full of people turning these sorts of crafts into a business, especially with the new popularity steampunk, diy, and maker cultures.
These aren’t your mother’s crafts anymore. For those of us who love to craft and cook, but like things that are just that little bit different – you aren’t stuck with doing the same old samplers anymore, and cakes and cupcakes are no longer required to come with cute doilies underneath and piped flowers on top.
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- Even Alton Brown thinks Sandra Lee is creepy! (anotherwineblog.com)