DIY Culture and the New Domesticity by Erin Ramirez

In society today women feel all sorts of different pressures to fit in or stick with the status quo.  These pressures could be to become smarter, prettier, thinner or anything else along those lines.  There is a new pressure that is rising in society today though.  This pressure is for women to become more domestic.There is a lot of talk about how good moms and wives are the women that can cook, clean, and take care of everything else around the house.  These women are supposed to enjoy being domesticated and make it even look fun.  This is where social media sites like Pinterest come into play.  Women can go on Pinterest and find all kinds of ways to make cleaning, cooking, organizing, exercising, and making them selves look better “fun and easy”.  A new word has even been created to talk about this new life style for women.  It is called “domestic chic.”  When women are “domestic chic” they are what society would consider the perfect woman.  The “good” wife and mother.  Some examples of social media that displays “domestic chic” are mommy blogs, Pinterest, and foodie blogs.  There is even a blog called Domestic Chic.  This blog has everything you would think a domestic woman would be good at or want to learn more about.  From recipes, to coupons, and even to fashion advice.  There is even a whole line of items out on the market with “domestic diva” written on them.

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“‘Feminized digital media” enhance and optimize women’s work” (Wilson and Yochim 3).  This quote is from an article all about the new Pinterest craze and the domesticity of women today.  It claims that things that are feminized or made for a female audience are more likely to help a woman do a better job at whatever she is working on.  This goes back to the line of “domestic diva” items.  According to this, since the apron is feminized it will help the woman wearing it become better at cooking.  

This new craze with women to become more domestic is called new domesticity.  “New Domesticity is re-embrace of home and hearth by those who have the means to reject these things.  It’s the MBA who quits her corporate  gig to downsize to a solar-powered barn.  It’s the twentysomething New Yorker who spends her evenings blogging about her latest baking project rather than hitting the clubs” (Matchar 12).  Pinterest is something that definitely helps women out with this.  Speaking of that, Pinterest has proved to be a big hit with women and their need to feel more domesticated.  They just received a $3.8 billion dollar valuation.  This makes them one of the most valuable, privately held internet companies.  This has a lot to do with what Wilson and Yochim said in their article “Pinning Happiness”.  Pinterest is “organizing products and practices that promise happiness” (Wilson and Yochim 3).  Women look at the different products, recipes, and DIY activities all over Pinterest and think about how all of these things can make their lives better.  They think they’d be happier if they could make that amazing homemade lasagna or make a jewelry organizer on their own without having to go out and buy one.  It gives them a sense of fulfillment.  

 

 

This video explains the hype about Pinterest.  It is somewhat making fun of Pinterest and the crazy obsession a lot of women have with it.  If you look at her captions on her “Pinterest board” though, you can see that they are things like “dream friends” or “dream rooms”.  This is how women view Pinterest.  They use it to create a fantasy about how they want their life to be and what will make them and/or their family happy in the long run.  She also pokes fun at how Pinterest is supposed to represent happiness in ridiculous ways.  She describes this by making a fake board called “dream happiness”.  This “dream happiness” they are referring to is promised by the image of two happy models riding their bike with the beach in the background.  This is not necessarily what happiness is to everyone, but it creates this happy image that women want to recreate because it makes them feel as though they will be happy doing it as well.  This new interest in being domesticated and DIY culture can also be related back to Hook’s theory about “consumer cannibalism”.  “Commodification of difference [that] promotes paradigms of consumption wherein whatever difference the Other inhabits is eradicated, via exhange, by a consumer cannibalism that not only displaces the Other but denies the significance of that Other’s history through a process of decontextualization” (hooks 431).  An example of this is when women go on Pinterest an find all kinds of DIY activities to make their house more organized, decorated, or anything else along those lines.  There is a whole tab on Pinterest called “DIY and Crafts” that has all kinds of things that fit in the consumer cannibalism category.  You can create an ornament out of an orange, while an orange was never meant to be an ornament or anything along those lines. 

Women are becoming more and more domesticated either because they want to or because they feel that they need to based on what society wants.  That is why the DIY culture and social media sites like Pinterest are there to help women feel domesticated.  

Sources

Matchar, Emily. (2013). Homeward Bound. pg 12. Print.

Wilson, Julie A. Yochim, Emily C. Pinning Happiness: Affect, Social Media, and Women’s Work. 2013. pg 3.  Print.

Hooks, Bell.  “Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance”. Eating the Other. Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 2001. pg 431. Print. 

(http://www.pinterest.com/pin/86342517829883410/) Accessed: 29 Nov 2013.

“Everyday Art: Dried Orange Ornaments.” Everyday Art: Dried Orange Ornaments. N.p., 11 Dec. 2011. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Stuff Mom Never Told You. “Why Do Women Love Pinterest?- Stuff Dad Never Told You. YouTube. 31 May 2013. Web. 28 Nov 2013.

“Chic Aprons.” , Bibs and Chic Apron Designs. N.p., 2000-2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. http://www.zazzle.com/chic+aprons. 

“Domestic Diva Vintage Chic Tee Shirt.” From Zazzle.com. N.p., 22 Oct. 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. http://www.zazzle.com/domestic_diva_vintage_chic_tee_shirt-235526710701561444. 

Morrissey, Tracie E. “Pinterest Receives $3.8 Billion Valuation.” Jezebel. N.p., 24 Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. http://jezebel.com/pinterest-receives-3-8-billion-valuation-1451395614. 

Hillary, and Stephanie. “Domestic Chic.” Domestic Chic. N.p., 2010-2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. http://domesticchic.blogspot.com/.

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2 comments

  1. Sam McWhorter response to “DIY CULTURE AND THE NEW DOMESTICITY BY ERIN RAMIREZ”
    Great blog post, Erin! I think that what you are saying about Pinterest and other forms of social media feminizing media is really accurate. The video you posted was really interesting. I didn’t know that 79% of Pinterest users were women! That seems so high! I guess that when I am scrolling through my own Pinterest page, I don’t really see anything that your stereotypical male would interested in though. You should definitely check out this post on the Huffington Post about the “Maker Movement”. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brit-morin/what-is-the-maker-movemen_b_3201977.html) The writer really reinforces a lot of your points such as; women on a resurgence of “craft nights” and making homemade dinners.

  2. Samson Gladieux response to
    “DIY CULTURE AND THE NEW DOMESTICITY BY ERIN RAMIREZ”

    I totally agree with your comments about how this new domesticity movement has become yet another “pressure” on women. You talk about how women go on Pinterest to make things like cleaning, cooking… etc more “fun and easy” but I’ve never had fun doing chores, have you? I like your primary source of using a “domestic diva” apron and shirt. Items like these really do show how much of a consumerist movement new domesticity really is. You mention that these items for women are more “likely to help a woman do a better job” but digging deeper why do you think so? Is it because aprons and sites like Pinterest give value to housework that has historically been invisible and under-appreciated? I really do think this is one aspect you could have added to you critique. As Wilson & Yochim state in their paper Pinning Happiness “Domestic labor- which is invisible, monotonous, quite physical, and never complete- becomes beautiful, promising, even fun and happy” (Wilson & Yochim, 3). I like the video you chose as it definitely shows how Pinterest is a site of happiness for women creating these “dream-boards”. One thing I might have included is if these “dream” images on Pinterest are really attainable or if they are a facade to something more. Just something about how the illusion of simplicity created in these blogs must be in part a facade because no people can surely to do it all and it takes a lot of effort to make something look so simple. Also, you should check out the site Pinterest Fails (http://www.pinterestfail.com/) if your not familiar with it. Crafts and DIY items (like those oranges that are turned into ornaments you talked about) are shown what they looked like on Pinterest and then after when people actually make them. I could only imagine what those orange ornaments would look like if I made them and I am sure they wouldn’t be hanging on my Christmas tree this holiday season. Pinterest Fails could give insight into your critique about expectations for certain genders and the great deal of effort and staging it would actually take to make those orange ornaments that look so simple.

    I liked your critique Erin! Alot of interesting stuff here!

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