Anarchy, Homemaking and DIY

What does your average punk rocker have in common with Martha Stewart?  (This sounds like the start of a bad joke, doesn’t it?  “How is a punk like Martha Stewart?  They’ve both been to prison!  Ha!”)

The answer though, is pretty simple.  DIY.

I’m firmly of the belief that punk rock is based on the principle of DIY.  (I may of course be wrong, I’ve been in several heated debates on this subject with people far more punk rock than I.)  You cannot have anarchy or punk rock without DIY.  They go hand in hand.

Show me a punk who doesn’t sew, and I’ll show you a poseur.  Punk rock clothing, music and organizations (such as Food not Bombs), are based on DIY, independence, personalization, fun and self-expression.  This is the basis of anarchy.  (As a note: all punkrockers are not anarchists, and all anarchists are not punkrockers.  In general though, they tend to follow the same ideals.)

And in it’s best form, it is the basis of homemaking as well.  during the economic recession of WWII, not only were women beginning to seek employment, they were also becoming empowered at home.

short funds and rations got women in touch with their roots, and long-forgotten skills.  Even in cities and suburbs, women were planting Victory Gardens, canning, sewing, making their own bread, rag rugs, et cettera.

women such as Julia Childs (okay, yes, I did see Julie and Julia last week), helped the average american woman develop freedom in her own kitchen, instead of being dependent on pre-prepared foods.

now we’re entering a time again where more and more feminist women are not striving to remove themselves as far as possible from anything traditionally ‘feminine’ (and really, I don’t understand the stance some feminists have that all traditional ‘women’s’ roles are to be avoided.  I believe women can and should do whatever they’re good at and enjoy, and if a woman happens to be a foodie with a forte in domestics, I see no reason to criticize her.  why are women encouraged to follow traditional male roles and critisized if they’re interested in things which are traditionally women’s roles?  let’s just let people live their lives and be themselves.) foodies are hosting dinner parties, moms are forming baby-sitting co-ops, women with a drive for sewing are organizing stitch-n-bitch groups, and crafty women everywhere are writing books, blogging, and setting up etsy shops.

for me, there are a few main reasons behind my DIY drive.

1. Anarchy.  the less dependent I am on any system I don’t agree with, the better.  I will jump through hoops to get what I need, but I’ll still do things the way I want.  plus, if the shit hits the fan in my lifetime, the government goes tits-up, and everything crashes, I want to know I have the ability to take care of my family.

2. anti-consumerism/frugality.  the more stuff I make, the less I buy.  not only does this save us money, it also means less support for large corporations, with their unfair labor practices and domination of small towns.

3.  personalization.  if you make something, it’s unique.  it has your own fingerprint on it, and becomes far more meaningful.  buying shit that means nothing 2 us is probably the #1 lifestyle contribution to our disposable culture.

4.  it’s fun and I’m good at it.  if you like something, why not do it?  if you’re laboring away miserably, sacrificing yourself to make shit for your family, that bitter energy is what you’re pouring into it.  if you’re getting burned out, take a break, or mix it up.  have a canning party, or organize a weekly or monthly stitch-n-bitch.  the same things that start to feel monotonous on your own, become fun when you add a crew.

anyhow, there’s my proof.  anarchy and homemaking go hand in hand, tied together by the awesome power of… DIY.

-Domestic Anarchist


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