We recently published a response to Emily Matchar’s new book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity. In the book, Matchar describes a homespun rebellion taking place, as twenty- and thirty-something women “embrace the domestic in the service of environmentalism, DIY culture, and personal fulfillment” and draws some controversial conclusions about the implications of this movement.
We asked Etsy Blog readers if they identified with the movement Emily Matchar describes, as well as what they considered success and ambition. The response? Well, it was momentous, with almost 300 insightful comments (and counting). Today we’re sharing your thoughts and feedback.
Some saw similarities between the new domesticity and movements of the past.
“As someone who became involved in the consumer co-op movement back in the 1970s, I see the DIY movement as something very similar; it’s about self-sifficiency and helping each other succeed, and choosing your own work conditions and priorities. If many of us choose not to be involved in corporate culture, I see that more as a boycott than as a retreat.” — Sharon Parker of Arty Didact
Tiffany explained why advancing in corporate culture is not the true measure of success.
“It is not because I am a woman that I am not ‘aiming’ toward a mainstream job; it is because those jobs are not for me. They are not for most conscious people. We accept them when we feel we must…The local, handmade movement is not a retreat but an acceptance of the reality of our current world…If we can liberate our lives and make choices that reflect our core values and intuition, that is a great task. It is greater than any corner office ambitions. Matchar’s framework of what constitutes success is very limited. I hope one day she will be able to shatter her conceptual ceiling and see that humanity’s potential goes far beyond pay scale and vacation hours.” — Tiffany Key of Haru Aki
Many voiced why they seek a creative outlet, even if it never pans out as a full-time job.
“Like many Etsy sellers, I don’t make my primary income through my craft. Instead, I find that having a creative outlet fulfills a part of me that my lawyer job (which I absolutely love) does not. I agree that women should agitate for better working conditions. I also agree that women should find fulfillment in their working lives, and that this can be accomplished by finding a creative outlet, and maybe even making some money while doing so. I think we can do both, and I think many of us are doing just that.” — Valerie of Valerie’s Stitchery
Others expressed why they’ve chosen to exit corporate culture and the success they’ve found.
“…What kind of a society do we want to live in? I have been a woman in a suit, and that was fun for a while, but then my situation changed and my priorities too. I want to be flexible enough to base my worklife around my child and health. Etsy is just a small but really enjoyable part of this. My husband is not happy with his 9 to 6 job, and it looks like my business may be able to offer him a job in the next couple of years, as as well as providing freelance work for other craftspeople…It was easier in lots of ways to have a job with regular income, but not as satisfying.” — Diane McFarlane of McFarlane Metal
Hollie Wilson mused upon entrepreneurship, ambition, and human nature.
“I’m convinced that everyone (with any amount of ambition) who is currently working for someone else is dreaming of the day when they’ll be working for themselves. Creating your own income is not retreating — it’s advancing. Running my own shop has in no way broken any ‘promises’ — it’s given me the freedom to make my own promises.” — Hollie Wilson of The Tufted Frog
And Anne thought about the future.
“…We need to remember that across genres, platforms, ages, and decades 80 percent of businesses fail. This morning my third sale emerged from my shop, and the cold reality is that, divided by the hours I’ve put in, maybe I’ve made 5 cents an hour. But it’s laying groundwork, I’m learning this framework, and I’ve great hopes for eventually garnering momentum toward my goal of geographically independent income. I’m glad that someone is out there giving voice to keeping women empowered in corporate America.” — Anne from Free Range Cowgirl
Editors’ Note: We shortened comments for length. To read all of the comments in full, please visit the original post.