You remember, the ones largely targeted towards women which are mostly just common sense wrapped in psychobabble and dragged out over 200 pages? And those are the the “good” ones.
Well, as it turns out I ran across another one recently in my daughter’s library stash. I never would’ve ever bothered to look at it except she kept showing me all these great ideas for household shortcuts and how to make some things new out of some things old. Anyway, here’s the book:
Homemakers, A Domestic Handbook for the Digital Generation, by Brit Morin, published in 2015.
This book is written for the express purpose of helping millennial women who enter adulthood without the skill set of their mothers, according to Mrs. Morin, herself a millennial. I think it would be more accurate to say that this generation of young women are growing up without the skill set of their grandmothers. If my life is any indication (and I think it is), most of the women of my generation entered adulthood with few domestic skills.
Alas, rather than simply enjoy the pretty pictures and note the very creative way Mrs. Morin made a scarf rack out of shower hooks (I’m totally going to do that!), I did what my daughter did not, flipped to the beginning of the book, and read the background and introduction which outlines the author’s thoughts on the limited lives of yesterday’s homemakers. In fact, the point of the book is that the traditional idea of a homemaker is obsolete, but that creativity and resourcefulness in the home can walk hand in hand along side a burgeoning career life.
After offering up the latest statistics on the numbers of women who work now vs. the 1960’s, the increasing numbers of families with bread winning wives and stay at home dads (presented as inherently good), the reader is treated to an excerpt from Good Housekeeping’s best selling book, Guide for Young Homemakers (1966):
Personal grooming for health as well as good looks concerns the modern housewife as a practical matter. She must budget her time for it, shop wisely for cosmetics and beauty aids, and learn to use them for best results. She may find herself in the role of counselor to a growing daughter. Above all, a sensible regard for her everyday appearance contributes to a happy home. A lovely wife pleases husband and children, favorably impresses guests, and faces the outside world with confidence.
No matter how many experts you consult, you will still have to brush your hair, cream your skin, coddle your hands. You have to exercise and diet, stand and move like a beauty. No one else can do these things for you. In daily housekeeping, care of the figure is perhaps the beautifying measure most overlooked.
To which Mrs. Morin replies:
Excuse me while I go throw up.
Now, while even I may take exceptions with some of the specifics from the excerpt, it isn’t particularly offensive and even a cursory glance at the author’s cover photo strongly suggests that she spends a fair amount of time and expense to look good. In fact, there are a fair amount of beauty and fashion tips in the book as well as practical and creative homemaking tips. Yet somehow the idea that this should be a priority or duty to a homemaker was met with derision. Perhaps because it is sexist for a woman to be “just a homemaker”.
In any event, I have once again been reinforced in my conclusion that self-improvement books targeted at women, even when full of very useful and valuable information, almost always descend into ideological foolishness.
It’s too bad because she has some great ideas in her book, with the exception of her alternative to ironing which looks like it takes longer than just learning to properly iron. Not everything was useful to me, but with the exception the first 30 pages or so, I’d have hard time discounting it, especially for young women starting from zero. So I won’t discount it completely.
Grade: B- ( Combining the A for creative content with a D for that drivel at the beginning).
‘Tis the season for cooking, sewing, cleaning and decorating. This means less time to read at leisure and less time to review.
Y’all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with your families.