I found this interesting article over at the New York Times. The authoress, Peggy Orenstein, coins a new word, femivore, and defines it as “Femivorism is grounded in the very principles of self-sufficiency, autonomy and personal fulfillment.” I wonder if that makes me a femivore.

Ms. Orenstein interviewed Shannon Hayes, authoress of Radical Homemakers. She describes Ms. Hayes’ interpretation:

a renunciation of consumer culture, a return (or maybe an advance) to a kind of modern preindustrialism in which the home is self-sustaining, the center of labor and livelihood for both sexes. She interviewed more than a dozen families who were pursuing this way of life. They earned an average of $40,000 for a family of four. They canned peaches, stuffed sausages, grew kale, made soap. Some eschewed health insurance, and most home-schooled their kids.

I have not read Ms. Hayes’ book so I can’t comment on that though I did put it on my Amazon wishlist for future reading.

The interesting thing for me is I’ve often said that in order to be progressive I’ve become really regressive. That is, I’m learning all these things (canning, knitting, etc) my mother and grandmothers weren’t interested in. I’m sure I’ve talked about it here on HH before (I’m being lazy by not looking through old posts to link to) about how in order for my grandmothers, and Wolf’s mother, to be perceived as Middle Class (capitalized on purpose) when growing up in the 1920s through the 1940s each refused to learn how how to can, sew, etc. Rather, they wanted everyone to know they had overcome their immigrant roots by sloughing off anything that identified them as Irish or Italian so they could be Americans. Americans were, after all, rich and could afford going to the store to buy food and clothing. To make it was a source of shame and embarrassment because it provided the perception to outsiders they were poor.

So maybe I am a femivore, just one without the fancy SUV, the 3.5 children, and the husband who works in finance. Even if I am a femivore I still prefer the label “pre-farmer” because that’s closer to my dream.

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7 Responses to Femivorist?

  1. Allie says:

    I read that too! I thought it was an interesting article. I really hate the word though. It’s a made up word from a made up word and that kind of makes my teeth itch. Pre-farmer is a great one. :)

  2. Howling Hill says:

    Do you fit the definition?

  3. Interesting article. Feels weird to have a lot of what I stand for summed up (although I don’t and won’t homeschool). I can’t help but feel the whole thing was dismissive in a way though…

    Can I ask, why Pre-Farmer?


  4. Howling Hill says:

    Pheenix: thanks for stopping by. How did you find me?

    “Pre-farmer” because neither Wolf nor I consider Howling Hill a farm. It’s more like a farmette. We’re working hard at paying down debt and saving so we can buy a farm.

  5. I honestly can’t remember which blog led me here but if I remember correctly we follow some of the same blogs so it was probably through someones blogroll.

    I tried to buy a farm this year as well but because of the recession and being a single mum, no go. Got other plans in the pipes though :c)

  6. Jordan says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now. I read that article too, and hated the term “femivore” It makes it sound like I eat women. (BTW, I am one, and no, I don’t eat them.) I wrote a blog post about it myself,
    A term I heard recently is greenhorn. I just bought some land in upstate NY and am learning how to do all the farm-y stuff too, so greenhorn fits me. Also beginning homesteader.

  7. Howling Hill says:

    Jordan: first let me apologize for taking so long to approve your comment. I’ve been away for the last few days.

    I laughed about the “eating women” comment. You’re totally right! And I agree with the greenhorn label. I’ll take that over femivore anyday!

    Thanks for delurking!

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