Sunday, February 24, 2019

further thoughts on women's work

Someone was angry about my last post and mis-interpreted my thoughts and I want to explain myself a little more.

My mention of my 'big dick energy' refers to how I deal with problem solving, leadership, doing business. For years I've worked on developing the more feminine side of my persona which makes me feel better about myself and in relationships with others.

It's no mystery that my excess of masculine energy (courage, sense of authority, etc) resulted in a lot of success for me and those of us that benefitted from Saipua 1.0 as we might call it.

In the last year and half I've given myself a lot of room and time to grieve the passing of the old ways and allowing for new patterns to emerge in my approach to working and living. This is exactly the importance of the feminine -- the waiting, the allowing, the acceptance of unknowing. In some ways I'm still tough, still bold and brash at times.

My comments about children and care-taking were never intended to demean or discourage women who make the choice to stay at home. I think the fact the women do choose is the most important aspect in all of this. All of feminism is about having access to choice and not having to explain our choices, ever.

I bear a lot of my personal feelings and thoughts here with the hope of having these conversations. You might imagine I live for your comments, and I also welcome criticism. As women we need to be able to talk about these things without getting nasty. I absolutely refuse to participate in conversations that include passive aggressiveness or snide comments about how I choose to live.

Ask me questions about why I say certain things or why I choose to live a certain way - but do not make assumptions or mock my sheep. And if you want to be critical, please show me respect by telling me who you are. Hiding anonymously behind your anger is a disservice to the power of your own voice.

Here are some links to reading we can talk about next:

These thoughts on the work of feminist Andrea Dworkin.
Here's one and here's another look at the senator Amy Klocuchar's methods of leadership.


Elizabeth McMurtry said...

Hello - long time reader (ten years?), perhaps my first comment, though I can't remember for sure. I just wanted to thank you for your writing, for sharing your thoughts, for your eloquence and intelligence and envelope pushing.

I went back and read the other comments so I could understand what had been said. I don't see (don't think I've ever seen) any dismissal or belittling of women who choose children, or choose a more "traditional" life (for lack of a better world, in no way meant to sound insulting). I have many friends / family in these roles and I have talked with them at length about their struggles to find themselves in a more aggressive feminist agenda (like mine); I understand that to a lot of women in my life, my agitation for a life that looks very different than theirs feels like a judgement on their choices. I, like you, obviously think the goal is freedom of choice - for women and men to comport their lives however they choose, with no attached cultural judgement: for men to choose to stay home as caregivers as freely and often as women might, and women to choose to lead lives that look like "men's" lives as freely and often as men have.

To me, the kind of world / work / environment / commune / life you write of building sounds like the metaphorically perfect "village" it takes to raise a child. I don't say that as a request for you to have one (!!!) but rather as a response to the anonymous poster, who says she has been trying to find herself in your writing, and your worldview. I have often thought that if my culture, my environment, my feeling of community were radically different, I would have liked very, very much to have a child. But under the systems and expectations we currently inhabit, I don't honestly feel capable. Of the women who do, I am in awe. I recognize the strength and power and as you said, inherent political-ness of the act. But I also know that all the other choices - including even a different looking role of motherhood - are still ones we must actively fight for, tooth and nail.

I'm a little embarrassed to post this as I doubt I've added anything new to the conversation. But I have been so, so so excited and grateful to find you returning to this space so often, so I wanted to add my name to the scale on the side of deep appreciation. I have for years sighted you as a Shero of mine, and though I'm sure we'll never meet, I am grateful to have you, your work, your thoughts, and your writing in the world. I am grateful for your "woman's work" - and your big dick energy.

Unknown said...

In response to the commentor above, I thought this was beautifully worded and I appreciate what you've added to the conversation.

Re: the turmoil (it's funny [but real] to me that there is turmoil on my favorite florist/farmer/person's blog [that I feel privileged to get to read more regularly these days!]) - I felt that the sentiment of the frustration came down to neoliberalism, specifically that women should do it all because they have all the options "available" to them (heavy quotations). It also made me think about how I travel the internet these days: an admittedly lefty rut where gender identity is divorced from anatomy, and youth slang prevails. Which is to say, "big dick energy" being a statement of power divorced from having a penis, or even having a penis at all.

Now I'm rambling. Anyway. Thanks Sarah, you make us all think.

Shelley said...

What would a discussion of power look like without pronouns or essentializing men and women? Utopian?

Annabelle Chapman said...

Well put. I always enjoy reading your thoughts here on everything from aesthetics to being a woman; looking forward to more.

Rian said...

I love the idea of having women "only" farm. Not as a way to be exclusionary, but with the intent of doing something different. I feel like while bringing people together can help us make a lot of incredible changes in our lives, worlds, etc.- maybe spending time working together as women can help us figure things out, what we can do/be, without being reactionary/responding to the "opposite" gender.

I am a parent of a 4 year old, my husband and I live alone in the bush in the Yukon, and we are constantly negotiating the differences in our approaches to things. There is no denying that our farm, if left up to each of us individually, would look drastically different. As it is- it is a mish-mash of our own expressions of what we would like/how we do and see things. And our ability to leave our own marks has been drastically influenced by the fact that for a large part of our time out here- I've been breastfeeding, and therefore inside, cooking. Our buildings have been designed and built by him, because I couldn't do it while nursing. My influence has mostly extended to our home, some of the landscaping, and the gardens. We have clearly drawn lines of where we've been able to work- and that is inextricably tied to our daughter.

The gender politics plus life is boggling. Always. Especially because I've worked in male dominated fields (big dick here, cut my own firewood, maintained my own chainsaw thank you very much), and before the birth of our child we did most things 50/50. I was able to not just said what I would like, or where something should go- I would DO it.

Wonderful discussion, thank you! If these winters finally drive me mad, expect my application for resident commune chainsaw maintainer. Also real good at butchering chickens.

#bigdickenergy for life.

melody said...

I think that women need to stop using the sentence she chose to" stay at home " and raise her children. It almost sounds like there was an interruption of some kind. As if you put your life on pause. You stay in one place and never advance.

Women actually can breastfeed and still move mountains and carry spears, they can also do it with a baby strapped to their back. In the farming/homesteading environment that you live in, imagine the millions of women who did this before you. Childless, with children, with a partner, as a widow, without electricity, the list is endless. The challenges were daunting.

My grandmother raised 11 children on a farm. The first time I met her as a young girl, she walked outside, caught a hen, wrung its neck, cleaned it and cooked for dinner. All with me looking on in awe. I still remember her hands, worn from years of hard work, her eyes lined, her hair grey..

The set of her jaw was firm and proud, she looked at me with eyes that said " I know exactly who I am "

She was beautiful, proud and her gnarled hands created the most stunning quilts right up until she died. She passed them on to her family like pieces of her. What impressed still to this day is in old photos, you can see how she set her table always with flowers. Always. Thinking of adding beauty to her environment. Such a gift to do that. Just like you do. Women need to be kind to one another and themselves. I think when she placed the flowers on the table, that she knew they were for her eyes. She knew what she needed.

I think you will find that too. Your eye for creating beauty is so powerful, but maybe you have not met all of yourself yet. So, let your bigdickflag fly, and you will be suprised by what you find. It may not be what you thought.

Emily Schroeder said...

I still find myself grimacing a wee bit here. I suppose it is because in my interaction with you, you made me feel really uncomfortable and not welcomed. I paid a whopping $500 for a class in Brooklyn, and when I corrected you on bracts for dogwood “flowers”, you really put up your aires. You were better than me, you running show. How dare I? In the service of community, we all teach another, right?! Wrong. You use this platform for your own greed and self-forwarding. I approached I’m sure again, and was offered volunteering. To help you with nothing in return. Then, as a consultant at CookFox, I approached your studio again, and you were in benefit of that, commission in hand for their new office. I sometimes have a really hard time with admiring you, Sarah. I want to like you, and what you do, but something under it all, feels so I dunno, selfish. Big dick for sure, because I return, and read on.

My sister rang me up well over a decade and a half ago and said, “I think I’m a feminist.” To which I replied, “Of course you are, you are a woman.” I then had to hang up on her. I have always resorted to that during any feminist conversation.

I also took offence to your children convo from previous. I don’t think my life really began until I accidentally fell pregnant, and I never would have felt that way or said that, until after it happened. For the many who choose to have, and might not do anything remarkable, or cool, I think the everyday has a lot to say for our strengths and wills and small betterments to society.

Moderate this out I’m sure I thought you should just know.