Modern Families and the Label of Homemaker

I give you The Families Project, from Betty Crocker.

This hit me hard.  As a queer woman, as a person who spends a lot of time in a multiple adult household, and as a person who does care a lot about food, family, home and heart.  The word ‘homemaker’ is a loaded one, and does bring images of women in the 1950’s, strange casseroles and perfectionism.  That Betty Crocker (and so in a way, it’s parent company, General Mills), a company whose name itself represents that gendered stereotype coming out and saying no is kind of awesome.

Don’t rain on the parade and point out it’s all marketing.  It is.  But it’s awesome it’s forward looking marketing, not encouraging women back into the kitchen on some false nostalgia trip or idea of what we ‘should’ be.  Anyway, Betty Crocker has had progressive moments, like the Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cookbook from 1965.

If you scroll through the slides on the website, one title says “But what we really want isn’t to be old-fashioned, it’s to be together.”  This is so incredibly true!  Families may look different than 50 and 60 years ago, but the heart of it all is the same.  It isn’t just a queer thing –  single folks, single parent households, blended families, multi-racial families, multi-generational families, adoption, how we distribute work (home and career) across those families.  The diversity in what a family looks like is a great thing!  And i have no desire to go back to a time when, because of my gender, I was expected to ignore my own needs and wants to follow social norms.

That said, i also love taking care of my home, cooking, baking, organizing and caring for my family – biological, by marriage and by choice.  That a company is encouraging that passion in a way that respects families of all sorts is touching.

The attempt to change update the word homemaker is also wonderful.  Why can’t homemaker be  another label, after all, i am not always engineering, but it’s a word I use to describe myself.  Because i am not a full-time homemaker does not mean I am not the person responsible for making our house a home!  So thanks Betty Crocker, for encouraging me to take on a new label, homemaker, because i do help turn our little house into a real home, for my husband and our families of birth and choice.



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