Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hall of Household Arts

I was driving around my town today, close to the university campus, and I pulled up next to a stoplight just long enough to notice that one of the campus buildings had an etching I had never noticed before.  It read "Simon Guggenheim Hall of Household Arts."  Clearly a relic from bygone days, I couldn't help but smile.  You see, I was on my way to the university library to renew some books I checked out on housewives but hadn't finished reading yet.  What synergy.

My guess is that the authors of my books, all written in the last decade, would lament to see those stone-carved letters prominently displayed on a main thoroughfare.  They represent everything the women's movement passionately worked to leave behind.  Their efforts were obviously not in vain, as I believe the building now hosts business classes, not "household arts."  Whereas the first female students in those halls were most likely taught a variety of domestic skills, the females now are studying economics and management and overall asserting themselves into "man's world" of business.  And though certainly I am glad that today's female students are pursuing MBA's (click here to read a recent post on women, politics and money), I couldn't help but feel a little sad that "household arts" was no longer a part of the university's offerings.  

My sadness is entirely personal--I love domesticity.  I actually feel like a better person when my house is clean and my husband is well-fed.  Again, the authors of my books would lament.  I'm not suggesting, of course, that the university resurrect the "hall of household arts," but I might argue that we shouldn't bury them from society all together.  It is not an argument I would have a difficult time making, judging by the triumphant success of Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, and the brains behind "Real Simple."  So, domesticity is still alive and well, just not on college campuses.

For other posts from me today, check out:
--my thoughts on the role of blogsphere in international politics (and why bashing your ex on YouTube probably isn't the brightest thing to do)
--what French legislators, the Pope, and feminists have in common
...and stay tuned for more updates "On Claremont"

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