It’s been a while since I read an epic fantasy so a few weeks ago I decided to pick up Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Because of everything else I have happening reading has been slow going but I have enjoyed the book, my snail’s pace notwithstanding. The other day I came to a part that stuck out to me. As far as I know this part in particular is nothing hugely significant to the plot, it simply struck me as, well, pretty damn insightful.
A bit of background- Kiin is a wealthy man and well respected. He is dining with other wealthy men (some noblemen, in fact). Kiin enjoys cooking and has prepared the large meal he and his guests are about to tuck into. However, the country they are in and this particular group of men in particular are quite traditional and don’t understand why Kiin, a wealthy man, would go to the trouble to cook instead of hiring servants.
“Still, Kiin, it is very odd of you to insist on doing this all yourself. Couldn’t you at least hire an assistant?”
“I enjoy it, Roial. Why would I let someone else steal my pleasure?”
“Besides, my lord,” Lukel added, “it gives the king chest pains every time he hears that a man as wealthy as my father does something as mundane as cook.”
“Quite clever,” Ahan agreed. “Dissidence through subservience.”
“Dissidence through subservience”. Well isn’t that something! Stick a pin in that, I’m coming back to it.
Saving Us From Ourselves
In late 2014 President Obama offered his remarks on women and the economy. In it he had this to say:
Sometimes, someone … usually mom … leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. That’s not a choice we want Americans to make. So let’s make this happen. By the end of this decade, let’s enroll 6 million children in high quality preschool …
Though in context he was clearly not literally saying no woman should opt to stay home the message is still clear, women should be working. They should be developing careers, earning their own money, etc. Housewives are, at best, tolerated but in reality are far from acceptable.
As Elizabeth Bernstein said in the Washington Post some months later:
But it’s one thing for society to treat stay-at-home moms with a certain disdain; it’s another for the president to get the government to discourage the choice to stay at home by subsidizing the alternative. Note that Obama’s proposed tax credit, which could be used only by families who owe thousands of dollars in federal income tax, is targeted not at the poor or jobless but at middle-class families.
Ms. Bernstein is a proponent of a tax credit for at-home parents. Regardless of where you stand on that particular issue she has a very valid point:
Some people oppose tax credits entirely, which I can understand. But if we’re going to have tax credits, they should be distributed equitably.
president isn’t just adjusting tax policy; he’s sending a message about which approach to child care deserves respect and support.
Obama was being honest when he said staying home wasn’t a choice he wanted women to make. If he did support women in having this as a viable option he would be pushing for tax credits for at-home parents and presenting homemaking as a valid life choice by extension. When was the last time you heard him or any feminist group say such a thing about women opting out of the workforce? When was the last time you saw them give any time to discussions on making opting out more accessible for women? When was the last time they suggested women having to work was a problem that needed government assistance to eradicate?
The feminist movement has prided itself in advocating exclusively for working women’s rights, completely ignoring housewives when they aren’t mocking us or using us as an example of the type of life they have narrowly escaped, a life so clearly beneath them. This anti-homemaking hyperbole is important because it serves the cause of women’s liberation. Women are only truly liberated when women are out of the home. Karl Marx once said “… the first condition for the liberation of the wife is to bring the whole female sex back into public industry.” Simone de Beauvoir famously said “No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.” and Helen Hartmann offered this nugget of wisdom “The crucial elements of patriarchy as we currently experience them are heterosexual marriage, female child rearing and house work, women’s economic dependence on men.” But perhaps the most damning quote I can give you is the one that really started it all which Betty Friedan penned in The Feminine Mystique: “the women who ‘adjust’ as housewives, who grow up wanting to be ‘just a housewife,’ are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps” And thus the stage was set to save us from ourselves.
What we have been left with are men and women who are determined to make western women’s lives better by helping them to rise above their prescribed station. That sounds good, right? As I’ve said before most things sound good when they are reduced to their base and their base only. But the reality of this mindset is that in order for this crusade for women to take place there must be an enemy and their must be a united front.
Housewifery is the enemy.
All women are soldiers.
Housewifery has become, in recent decades, beneath us. So successful has this campaign been that anything related with homemaking has suffered the same “ew, gross!” treatment. Cooking? Cleaning? That’s for the poor, for the immigrants to do for us. That’s for the uneducated, the unintelligent. The sign of status and high social value is not having to do these things yourself. We outsource as much as we can and celebrate our own ineptitude when it comes to these things. “I don’t cook” modern women declare proudly, their faces contorted in disgust at the idea of being reduced to domestic activities. We have all been denied any form of education in the domestic arts because of their fall from grace. Domesticity is antiquated, unimportant. Out with HomeEc., in with Women’s Studies and STEM.
Housewives are routinely shown in media to be trapped, miserable, and in need of saving. Even when they are stuck-up and judgmental (which they often are) they are shown to cry into their glasses of wine often and hide their misery with contempt for others and about 10lbs of makeup and jewelry.
So what happens when women opt out of this message? What happens when they decide housewifery is a valid pursuit, that their careers can wait or are, worse yet, unnecessary?
A Life That’s Beneath Us
Whether you realize it or not opting to stay home, opting to marry, opting to live a simpler life are all dissident acts. Why? Because we are rejecting the prevalent message that these things are beneath us, that they are wrong, that they are a waste of our potential. And I get it “subservient” is a nasty word with even worse connotations. The campaign against the homemaker and the traditional wife has worked its way into our psyches to such a degree that words like “submissive”, “housewife”, and even “domestic”. We say things like “I’m the CEO of my home” or “I yield to my husband” dare we not show that we are what we have been raised to hate.
But are we really subservient if we engage in a traditional marriage? Yes and no. No in that we are not less important nor are we treated as such (a myth turned into feminist gospel truth); yes in that we obey, serve, and understand that the things that make someone “strong” “independent” and “good” in today’s view is not something we see much value in, is something our husbands achieve first and foremost. Money? Career? In some cases higher education? We don’t need them. It’s that simple.
And there it is, right there “we don’t need them”. Perhaps the greatest act of dissidence women can take part in today is to say a loud and firm NO to our would-be saviors. To accept these roles without apology or explanation. No more euphemisms, no more arguing semantics.
“But aren’t you just subservient to your husband?”
“And… you’re okay with that?!”
Because, loves, we aren’t suppose to own it. We’re suppose to be ashamed of it. We’re suppose to make excuses for it. We’re suppose to ask their forgiveness for it by making it more comfortable for them to accept in us. And what happens when we don’t?
“it gives the king chest pains every time he hears that a man as wealthy as my father does something as mundane as cook.”
These poor men and women succumb to the vapors when we dare flout their narrative. Don’t rob yourself of that opportunity by not embracing your lower societal standing. Wear it as a badge of honor, wield it as a weapon; because it’s exactly both those things.
Speaking of lowly things (hardy har har), beans are amazing simple little things, aren’t they? They get a bad rap but really they can be delicious and nutritious.
This is a family go-to and has been for quite some time. We make burritos, burrito bowls, nachos, vegetarian flautas, stuffed bell peppers, and more using this basic recipe. It freezes amazing and is easily adjusted and customized. It took me years to find a really good restaurant quality refried bean recipe. I didn’t expect it to be this simple at all but here it is.
Super simple restaurant quality refried beans (without the refry).
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 38
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Total Carbohydrates 33g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- 4 cups dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed (if presoaking cut cooking time in half)
- 2 Tbs garlic powder
- 2 Tbs sea salt
- 1/4 cup corn oil, lard, or other fat (optional)
- In a large heavy bottomed pot add the rinsed and sorted 4 cups of dried pintos and fill with water to an inch or two above the beans.
- Bring to boil and reduce to medium (you want it just above a simmer) and cooked covered for 3 hours, checking regularly to maintain water level.
- After 3 hours make sure the water is 1/2 an inch above beans and add the garlic powder, salt, and optional oil/lard. Let cook another hour.
- At this point you can serve the beans whole or mash them. My personal favorite is to leave them a bit on the runny side and puree with an immersion blender, then return them to the heat and let them simmer of 10-20 minutes or so.
- Add water and beans to instant pot (again covering beans to a few inches above with water).
- Close and cook on manual for 50 minutes. You can quick release or allow the pressure to come down a bit first. The quick release will make a mess of your InstantPot and counter but is worth it if you're short on time.
- When finished add the garlic powder, salt, and oil/lard and mash or blend.
- As with the stovetop you can leave excess water in them and simmer in the IP on low for 10-20 minutes until the beans thicken a bit. DO THIS COVERED! Or else you'll have an even bigger bean mess.
- Add beans and water to your crockpot and set on high for about 8 hours.
- Check water amount and add garlic powder, salt, and oil/lard.
- Cover and let cook for another hour or two.
- Mash, blend, or serve whole.
- This recipe is really intuitive. I've found that measuring the water doesn't actually help because depending on the batch of beans, heat, and pot/cooking method what was the perfect amount before proves to be too little or too much. I've found that simply keeping an eye on the water is key.
- Over time you will know just how much water your family prefers. Some like their beans thicker and some runnier.
- As the beans sit, especially in the fridge, they will thicken! Even the runniest beans will take on a different consistency the next day.
Adapted from the internet
Adapted from the internet
Mrs. Uppity http://www.mrsuppity.com/