Women do not have to sacrifice personhood if they are mothers. They do not have to sacrifice motherhood in order to be persons. Liberation was meant to expand women’s opportunities, not to limit them.
No, Martha is not vegan. Nor are her cookbooks or show terribly vegan-inclined (although searching “vegan” on her site will turn up quite a few articles and recipes). And I know it’s all the rage to hate on her, but I don’t care: I still love Martha.
Say what you will about her time in prison, because we all make mistakes, and the rest of us are lucky enough to not deal with them publicly. No one is perfect, but one mistake (a mistake that didn’t hurt anyone) shouldn’t define a person’s legacy.
Now, I’m not a hardcore devotee, tracking and subscribing to her whole empire of awesomeness. But I do subscribe to her Living magazine, own a couple of her cookbooks, and I have purchased some of her cooking accessories at Macy’s (my favorite spatulas ever!), but I don’t watch her show or keep tabs on much.* But I admire her very much, and here are a couple of reasons why:
1. When many women were running from domesticity, Martha stood in the kitchen with her head held high. I know people who strongly feel that women who do anything “domestic” are turning their backs on liberation and woman’s rights. Martha not only held close to those domestic activities, she made them hers. I consider myself a feminist with three different-sized cookie scoops.
2. Martha is a self-made woman. She’s never been to culinary school. Or design school. She simply had a passion and talent and ran with it and it took off. Because of that, people have labeled her many things (demanding, a bitch, etc.). This is what happens when you shake up the good ol’ boys club. Martha is one of the richest and most powerful business women in the US. You don’t get that far and create such an enormous brand without being assertive and sticking to your guns. Last time I checked with the opposite sex, this was called good business sense, not bitchiness.
3. Martha makes everyone an artist. There are a good amount of people who think they have no creativity. There are also people who think that because they aren’t Picasso or Bob Dylan that they aren’t an artist. Martha has opened up the public eye to see everyday living as something creative. Whether your art is making a wholesome dinner, handmaking invites to a party or decorating your house, there is art to be celebrated everywhere. I’m not saying she invented this concept, but she certainly popularized it. Everyone needs to have an outlet.
4. I pray that when I’m 68 I’ll be that cool. Sure, she has a staff who scouts out trends, but she also has the ability to decide that they should be focusing on quilting with gingham rather than pursuing hip new crafters or vegan cupcake decorations. Sorry gingham, you lose.
5. When your name becomes an adjective, you know you’ve arrived. “You’re being so Martha!” Or “Oh I’m feeling very Martha today!” Like it or not, the woman has defined a certain sense of do-it-yourself chic.
Anyone who knows me know that I’m far from being a terribly conventional or girly-girlish. Actually, people who know me also know that I tend to shy away from things that have mainstream popularity, so my outpouring of love is uncharacteristic (and no, no one is sponsoring this post.) But I love cooking and canning and I pretend that I love crafting (even though I’m too lazy and have no attention span for it). I love how popular these things have become again. It delighted me when I went to the store this summer and they were sold out of canning jars because it meant the people were making their own food. I love going to Crafty Wonderland and seeing the awesome creations that people are selling. And look at all of us and our food blogs! There are a good many things that have contributed to this surge, so to say it’s all Martha is unrealistic, but you can’t deny what a trailblazer she has been. Go Martha!
What do you think of Martha? Leave a comment and 3 lucky winners will be randomly picked for a copy of my cookbook (with nom! buttons, of course). Winners will be drawn on Friday the 9th. I’ll send them where ever on Earth you are, so get commenting!
*full disclosure, I do follow her on Twitter. But I suck at maintaining Twitter and god knows she doesn’t actually update it, so it doesn’t count.
Squirrel’s Vegan KitchenGo back in time to my original blog: Squirrel’s Vegan Kitchen!
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