Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gardening & Feminism

Ok, I am ready to admit it. I’m obsessed with gardening right now. I think about it in the morning. I can’t wait to get home in the evenings to tend my plants and see how they have grown. I dream about lush green vegetable gardens. I have a problem. Perhaps, I’m not so unique. I know I’m not the only one who when the sun starts to warm in the late winter and spring seeks to dig their fingers in the earth and grow things. Aside from finding a Gardener’s Anonymous meeting and submitting the to the twelve steps, I think I’ll just try to remember that there are other important things in my life too like my daughters and my husband, and some other not so important but necessary things like laundry and cleaning.
I was out last night until dark planting the last of my mammoth sunflower seeds. I also put in the first three sisters corn mound. The one I planted earlier is in too much shade so I changed up my plans. It does look the corn is sprouting in the old one so I’ll probably try to transplant it. I think that my current obsession with gardening is affected both by the seasons and by my inherent desire to create things. Many of my hobbies are geared toward that: cooking, sewing, knitting, and gardening all have a common theme of creation. I take the raw materials like soil, water and seeds and create a garden, or I take some fabric, thread and my sewing machine to create a dress. I have a deep well of desire to create things. I’m not taking credit for the production of the basic materials. I do not believe that I cause the sun to shine or the rain to fall, but I do have a part. If not for me, those tiny radishes wouldn’t be growing in my yard right now. I believe that it might be somewhat of a feminine instinct to create. We are the mothers, and motherhood is essentially an act of creation taking the building blocks of life and turning it into a human being. I feel connected to that side when I engage in these activities. I know that many women before me have done these things throughout modern and ancient times. It is important and we should embrace this aspect of our femininity. I believe it is a powerful part of our femaleness. Some of these things have been derided by modern feminists. We are no longer forced into “women’s work”. I wonder why we as women adopted that view. Why shouldn’t we have just elevated those things, our motherhood and our feminine urge to create. There has been somewhat of a renaissance of these things as younger women have eschewed the views of their mothers and picked up some of these things. The younger generation has been more fully able to embrace types of activities. I think this all gets back to how women have fought the gender equality battles. We have never done so on our terms. It has always been on men’s playing field within the male value system. Elevating these activities that have traditionally been “women’s work” is one way to continue the fight for gender equality.

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