We were delighted that Peggy Aloi chose to link to Garden Rant in the Huffington Post last week. And we all had a good, loud laugh at Rant Headquarters when we figured out that Aloi was using us to illustrate that feminism has failed.
Here's a taste of Aloi's argument:
Women are girly. Again.
Don't believe me? The proof is in the blogosphere: Women who blog about cupcakes! Women who blog (okay, rant) about gardening, Hello Kitty, and knitting!… So many women have seemingly retreated from our reign of awesomeness to immerse themselves in the feminine past-times of yesteryear, it does indeed appear that we've lost sight of what it means to be a badass, strong, tough woman.
Obviously, Aloi has never stuck a single plant in the ground and has no idea whereof she speaks. Gardening as "a feminine past-time?"
Here's a hint, Peggy: Take a look at the equipment gardeners use. Bowsaws designed to remove limbs as thick as an arm. Wheelbarrows large enough to carry a limp body. Picks that could disembowel a man with a single swing. If we weren't gardeners, we could easily be soldiers in any criminal organization you can name.
Take a look at our hands: they are calloused, wrinkled, and dirty. They are very much like a brick-layer's hands.
Take a look at our projects. At some point, every gardener, except for the very rich gardener, gets involved with laying stone or erecting a pergola. Want a log house built on the frontier? We gardeners are better qualified for this job than most.
Look at the way we dress. It's hard to dig furiously or move a mountain of compost when you are wearing a shirt-waist and pumps, so we tend to favor big boots from the worlds of construction or horse-wrangling. Many of us look just like Chrissie Hynde, only tanner.
Look at what we accomplish: With little besides brute labor and a good local nursery or two, we tranform the landscape around us. We take depressing holes and we make them places of inspiration. I'm sorry, that's power.
And seriously, look at how buff we are! I mean, as far as I'm concerned, there are no more handsome specimens on earth than professional farmers and landscapers. The amateurs are pretty solid, too. It's safe to say that some of the fittest old ladies on the planet are gardeners. They'll kick YOU around the block any day.
Plus Peggy, wise up. The domestic sphere is not girly. It's where the species carries on, the people are shaped, the dogs are fed, and the civilization evolves. It's where life takes place, and you need to be one tough-assed, super-competent modern human being to cook, garden, raise kids, wrangle a spouse, and keep the house from falling down, all while earning a living.
So maybe we knitters and gardeners and cupcake-makers represent an advance, rather than a retreat. We know that real toughness is more than just striking the right pose. It's meeting the umpteen demands of an adult life in the 21st century and still having the energy to produce a nice sweater or grow some very fine tomatoes.