Okay, so my critique here is likely as shallow and bad as the thing I’m critiquing, but this fucking article from the NYT is bugging the shit out of me for myriad reasons.
First of all: “femivore” means “one who or that which eats women,” not “women who raise chickens,” or “women who are producing rather than buying their food.”
Second of all: Dear Peggy Orenstein, Your four friends in Berkeley /= a trend. And your friends in Berkeley /= the face of the new homesteaders,which I would argue is an actual movement, albeit a necessarily delocalized one.
Third of all: Orenstein doesn’t seem to know if she envies or dismisses her friends who raise chickens, and it results in a mess of a article. Oh no, my hastily prepared whole wheat quesadillas! But chicken coops are an (ungilded) cage! Omnivore’s dilemma! Feminist dilemma!
Fourth of all: Orenstein could have written an interesting piece about “Radical Homemakers,” in a larger economic context (like: raising chickens is difficult work that for most people will be a net loss), or in a back-lash-y context (like: here’s a “new” way that a certain class of women are being pressured to perform a certain model of domesticity), or in a social history context, given that raising chickens to produce sufficient amounts of food for the family and a little extra money–you’ve heard the term “egg money” to refer to a housewife’s little private stash?–has traditionally been seen as an appropriate type of work for women. But no.
Fifth of all: Raising chickens is difficult and rather nasty work. Take it from a midwesterner. It ain’t all easter baskets and bucolic splendor, people. “Chicken shit” is an insult for a very good reason.
Sixth of all: FEMIVORE IS NOT A WORD.
To be clear, I’m not insulting farmers or homesteaders, cause that is serious, difficult work that–wow, like a lot of women’s work!–is not very well remunerated or recognized. I’m insulted by Orenstein’s piece, which is treating a (usually) politically motivated choice by people today as an idealized hobby of the uber-privileged. Marie Antoinette liked to play at being a shepherdess, too, you know.