Monday, January 30, 2012

Feminism With My Mouth Full

{In Which We Rethink Camille Paglia Over Waffles}

Meg Keene and I have been, how do I put this, ONLINE FRIENDS for a few years. Dear friends in fact; she bought one of my paintings with her book advance, and I bought her book. She's the hilarious, brilliant, smart-alecky, articulate force who started a groundswell movement of like-minded women navigating the insanity of planning a wedding. Women who reclaimed what a wedding is, minus all the batshit craziness. What was amazing, as I squeezed my way into the crowded Barnes & Noble for her reading on Saturday, was the show of hands of people there who were either a) already married or b) not engaged or even thinking about marriage, but who still tuned into her blog on a regular basis not because they're interested in learning how to make a thousand DIY tissue paper pompoms for napkin rings, but because Meg suggests a new feminist ideology that we can get down with. It was, in a word, inspiring.

What was most inspiring, on a very personal muggle level, was that P. came along to the reading and after-party. He had plenty of work to do but he insisted on coming. He was one of maybe a dozen men there, and he spoke up and asked a thoughtful question during the Q&A. The dude was part of the feminist conversation. And as we walked home later that night, two hot toddies and a pit-stop at the Belgian waffle truck later, I thought about how much my ideas about words like "wife" and "marriage" have changed in the three and a half years since our wedding. How much I love being called P.'s wife, when, since we're laying down the cards here, that word made me cringe for a long, long time. What Meg and the women behind APW articulate so beautifully is that you can be a feminist and be happily, devotedly, joyfully married. Not that marriage isn't a bumpy road at times, but you can be a staunch feminist AND be a wife. The two are not mutually exclusive; this is something my grandmother and mother espouse wholeheartedly, but something I had to figure out for myself. 

Also something I had to experience in the first person: the turkey leg sandwich and cocktail menu at Henry Public. Life-changer, guys. Inspired by their Beecher's Tonic, I dusted off a bottle of Pimm's from the cavernous depths of my parents' liquor cabinet (do real people even have designated Liquor Cabinets anymore?) when I was home on the farm the other weekend and recreated it. Pimm's is usually a summer drink, but served with cider and muddled tarragon? My god, the wintertide magic is almost too wonderful; one must have at least two. Or three. And so a post about post-Neo-Feminism ends with an aside about drinking, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I think Meg would toast to that. Hope you had a good weekend.


  1. I am drinking to that too; being a wife and a feminist. Exactly how I see things; living life with all the treasures and bumps, the love and the arguments, freedom and commitment; none truly has meaning without the other. Cheers to that from freezing Berlin.

  2. Love this post! Can you share your drink recipe for the tarragon Pimm's? Sounds delicious...

  3. There's nothing like a great weekend full of philosophical figuring-it-out-discussions and waffles. I'm happy to have found her blog through your wonderful, thoughtful post.

  4. proud married feminist here as well, dragging my husband along for the ride. :) he's learned A LOT about women in the past 7 years.

    also, i enjoy how you call humans muggles. it goes along quite nicely with how i like to pretend i'm living in a harry potter film.

  5. Glad I'm in such good company!

    Laura P- recipe coming soon!

    And Brit reminds me of a good point: just as much as P. has learned a lot about women throughout the course of our relationship, I have probably learned DOUBLE that about men. It's a two-way conversation, with both parties sharing equal footing.

    Another thing that goes without saying- this doesn't just apply to women marrying men, of course- I have plenty of lesbian friends talking about the same issues in their marriages. But Meg articulates all this far better than I- just head over to her blog (linked above in main post). xo!

  6. ha! Love this. you are such a doll...and those book shelves are rad.

  7. 1. I'm still adjusting to being called a 'wife'. But it's only been a year and a half, and since it's a life-long title, I think that's ok, adjustment-period wise, in the grand scheme of things. I'd never actually thought about it being possible to be both before. Thank you for that.

    2. We have a liquor cabinet. It's actually an old metal tanker cabinet that has lots of little drawers in it, that are perfect for holding bottles. But it also holds all the fabric that I brought home from India, and napkins and candles that haven't been used yet and a pair of rainbow suspenders that I'm trying to find a recipient for, so it's a multitasking liquor cabinet....

  8. You know... I am a happily married "newlywed" of 31 years, and I never get tired of the term "wife", and my heart still does a pitter pat when I see my husband... throw in a huge dose of respect, joy and laughter, and you get a very happy marriage!
    I am so lucky...

  9. you get me. and i love that the rules have changed and people like you, meg, and others will continue to grow all the many dimensions and roles women can play in the future. sounds like a great night. ;)

  10. My first marriage was to a man who espoused all the usual feminist principles, yet lived them not with me. My second, should it go forward, will be with a man who is more a traditional "husband" and still, lived, more a feminist. We want someone who sees and values and supports our selves. Marriage, I believe, can be a wonderful place for that. Oh, and BTW, go you. Go Meg. Talent will out. Wait, last thing, go P.

  11. agreed. all the way. the longer i am married the more i love being a wife and the more i love being a feminist. congrats to meg on her book, and congrats to you for all the wonderful creations you are making!

  12. that drink will be the next one featured for my pals and I at our "crafternight." we've never actually crafted's more of a food/cocktail club!


    thanks for the excellent post!

  13. The idea of you and Meg meeting in real life makes me very happy. Almost as happy as the idea of finally encountering you.

    I have a liquor cabinet! Currently stocked with both summer and winter Pimm's. Have you have warm winter Pimm's? That shit is MAGIC.

  14. My wedding consisted of an ebayed silk dress and a convoy of pick up trucks driving into the national forest in Wyoming. We picked a spot and said STOP, got out and said all the real photographer - no favors none of that. But it was the best day and I love thinking about it.

    I love being a wife and I love him being my husband. coming from a family where parents were not married, no one was religious and mom was a staunch feminist it took me a little while to wrap my head around what all of this meant and really, after 2.5 years I am still figuring it out. But it is good.

    I too have a liquor cabinet. Right now it contains the makings for Mistaken Negronis. mmm. I need to try this pimm's!

  15. You speak out what has been in my heart for a long time! I grew up in East Germany, where feminism had two strange sides: one was the brainwashed East German propaganda feminism, where woman were equal in the work force and much was provided for (childcare etc) in education, as long as you stood close to the official politics, and a other fierce, anti marriage and anti establishment feminist wing (off the charts), where all the old values were questioned and ignored. Very confusing for me as a young girl.
    But I ended up married, divorced and now live in a wonderful marriage and family, liquor cabinet and all.....

  16. I love hearing all these stories.

    1. Done and done!

      Here they are:

      P.S it was Fing windy that day!

  17. I love this post. Now I'm going to have to check out her site.

    Also, Pimm's! I love that stuff in summer. And I have a designated liquor cabinet, but that's just because it makes my consumption of whiskey seem a little more sophisticated than it actually is.

  18. Once upon a time the word wife as well as the word feminist freaked me out. I couldn't picture myself as either (not in the way I thought they should be). Now I embrace both terms and it feels pretty bad ass.

    Going over to check out Meg's site!....


  19. Love that perspective. After having such an amazing role model as my parent's relationship growing up, combined with my mom's staunch independence and do-it-yourself attitude, I never questioned the idea that you could be self-sufficient and yet in a committed relationship. Guess I was even luckier than I ever considered. :) Glad you got to go see her IRL! And Pimm's...oh yes...brings back London memories. I can't imagine it without a shit ton of fruit in it!

  20. thanks for sharing, lily! i can't help but oogle (is that a word? oggle?) your plethora of marvelous books... "painting today" in particular. do you have any other modern-painting-diatribes-with-gorgeous-color-plates book suggestions?

  21. i don't know where i've been. but it hasn't been here and it's needed to be. this post is spot on in every way. and not just because beecher's tonic is my all-time favorite drink at henry public. for all the other reasons, too. i've been feeling cranky about planning a wedding and cranky about blogging and now i feel better about both. thanks to you. maybe someday: a beecher's tonic date?

  22. Hello! First of all I would like to say the fact that you truly succeeded in organizing a magnificent resource. In addition to that I want to ask you a question which is so interesting to me. Do you plan to write as a professional or online blogging is a?


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