Valuing Traditional Feminine Arts

saturnblueI had a interesting consultation last week.  The gal is in her 20’s, she has Saturn in the 4th house. She wants to cook…for a man. Her feelings surprise her. She’s spent her life focused on her career. She’s now realized she has a domestic side.

She’s aware of the rewards of being successful in the workplace.  She always felt this was the way to have power. I don’t know about that. What kind of power?

Recently, I wrote that I liked to cook and while I did not like to clean, I could do it.  Someone in the forum wrote, anyone who can cook and clean will always be welcome, anywhere. I read that and went on to see how true this is.

The feminine arts are definitely highly valued in the South. I got my husband (when I was 17 years old), by inviting him to dinner. I explained to this gal, who does want control – there was nothing weak about it.  It was more like, “Look here. This is a meal. If I like you, there will be other meals. If not, I guess you’ll go back to being hungry.”

This may sound foreign to some of you, but deep down, this gal understood what I was saying, You are not weak when you’re the one who makes the food!

I mentioned this to my husband. “No one cares what your job is,” he said. “No one cares and no one wants to talk about it. But they will talk about Bessie’s cherry pie for years and years…”

He’s actually right about that.

I realize some women are not “domestic” but many of us are.  I hate that our skills and interests have been devalued.

I’m pretty sure the average man would greatly appreciate a meal that a woman prepared for him. Before you yell at me for saying so, you might want to try this and find out I’m right.

What value do you place on the traditional feminine arts?

37 thoughts on “Valuing Traditional Feminine Arts”

  1. I just think whatever you like you like… whether success in the workplace makes you feel powerful .. or cooking in the kitchen does… everyone’s different

    1. I agree. But what’s sad is women who do like to do this stuff are divorced from their own reality.

      My point with her was that she was commanding, period. Commanding at work OR in the home or both for that matter. I run a business and my house!! 🙂

  2. My exes, in laws and even former step kids have all said they missed my cooking.

    Maybe not me so much, but that good cooking made an impression, lol. Ex SD told me she made something really good recently and her brother said it was ” à la (Kumquat)”.

    Yes I am vain about my cooking, tee hee!

  3. Quite a bit really. Cooking is intoxicating and a real money-saver. Same with sewing, home-making. If you can sew, you can buy cheap clothes and turn them into flattering and comfortable. I treasure those home economics classes in jr hi, hi school and college.

  4. Traditional feminine arts have become devalued in our society, but not in my life, even when I had a high-powered job. Cooking big, fancy dinners was my getaway, my escape from the pressure of a big job. It was therapy for me. I still do it, but just for mostly for me and my husband. He eats like a king because I love cooking and I know he loves it.

    1. This is along the lines of what we talked about. People who can get it done at work can get it done at home, if they enjoy it. She’s just not thought about women who cook having power. But come on! You take a bunch of stuff and transform it into something delicious. It’s amazing, really.

      I told her that her ability to cook was an asset. Not a secret desire, see?

      I’m sorry. I see a woman who knows her way around a kitchen as full of power and energy. And definitely, definitely in demand!

      A cook in the house in as important as a doctor for sure. Everyone needs to eat, see? So by God, the person who can produce the food is undeniably important.

  5. The only people I have ever heard devalue traditional feminine arts were women who weren’t any good at them. I have always worked and had a career AND kept up the the running of our home. I come from a long line of excellent cooks. My nephew is and executive chef and he calls his Auntie almost every day to run his menu ideas my me. If you ask him who the best cook is in our family the executive chef will tell you it is me :-). I was raised to believe that keeping a home, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking are how a woman shows her family she loves them. My career while it pays the bills it brings me satisfaction the career is for money and for me, the keeping of my home is for my family they are very loved and I show them everyday with clean clothes, a clean home and good food.

  6. in my family, women are very traditional; I still kept that tradition going, as i love being a wife, mother and having a home. I feel good serving, making my family happy and fed. My husband has told me that his colleagues at work were surprised that i make his lunches and make breakfast for him; i was surprised that his colleague’s wives/girlfriends don’t do that. They are too busy they said. So they jokingly told him, hey can your wife also pack us lunches too. lol So it goes to show that there’s alot of “modern-day” women or what is not valued anymore for women. I’m not the best cook though, i’m not that good at all, but it’s tasty enough. 😀 Personally my mother and my aunties are the best cooks. My mother in law is very good too.

  7. Aquarian with Cancer south node and more moon than sun aspects. I love baking and cooking for people but I live in a tiny studio apartment and I’m a starving artist/writer/student so I don’t shine domestically as much as I’d like to. I’ve never hosted a Thanksgiving or Christmas. Makes me sad. I took sewing my junior year of high school. Made a few dresses. Won a blue ribbon when I was in 4H for my cherry pie. I’m still trying to learn how to fry chicken. I went all out for my ex-boyfriend, the Capricorn.

  8. I have a career, my friends have careers, and all of us cook well and like cleaning and keeping our homes “homey” too and yeah – people love it. My husband once told me I created the first real home he ever had. (Though he comes from a large family, but his parents divorced and cooking/cleaning is not something the women seem to do in his family — in every case their moms treated them like infants thru their mid-20s. Now it’s like they play at the “I have no idea how to cook or clean, I am a teacher, I work in marketing or at the bank” crap. And expect the men to do it for them while they go to the mall — not teamwork. It’s weird to me to see this. I look at is as a basic adult skill set, and I also like creating great food and a cool space to live in. I work in a creative field and everyone is a foodie, and has a great-looking home (be it studio apt or giant home)….men and women alike cook fabulously etc. I agree — a good cook in a home or group is a necessity. Nutrition is life, even if you live by lots of good restaurants as I do.

    So seeing my SILs try act like they are feminists, that cooking is beneath them because they “educated” but are actually lazy, kind of bitchy really, and prefer to shop at the mall and spend hours at salons just makes me roll my eyes. (Their marriages are messes, and when the various husbands come and stay with us a night or two due to this, they are astonished that I’ll whip up a good breakfast or my husband and I are going to the farmer’s market for healthy produce for dinner like it’s normal, because it is. LOL.)

    All our friends, from ages mid-20s up into age 60s, cook, like to cook, sort of pride selves on “feminine arts.” And all are well-employed and some are even chic city hipsters on both coasts. So….keep those arts alive! Civilization. eh?

  9. I’ve always known how to cook. I’ve not been career orientated, but I notice people who are, usually do, regardless of their sex. It may be that it wasn’t considered a “feminine art” in my culture, at all, except of maybe for a brief period between World Wars, when people “gentrified” and adapted borgeous lifestyle imported from Central Europe.

    My grandfather cooked. This came from being away logging for months a year. They couldn’t always find a female cook/housekeeper for the cabin. So, they had to know how to peel a potato. And, obviously, men hunted, fished and butchered their cattle themselved, and had to know how to prepare that food.

    Cleaning the house is another matter, though. That was considered feminine task. I never really liked that either, but was taught how to keep places clean. My grandmother worked as a housekeeper in her teens (then as a shop assistant and cook).

    And, everybody in my family, except for my godmother and me, can sew, knit and crochet (actually, I was not bad in that) effordlessly. This was and is taught at schools, now to boys as well, although old gender roles die hard, and boys tend to choose metal/wood work after an introduction (I would have had, but I’d been the only girl at class, and that’s not something you like, at 10).

  10. Suffice it to say that I was one of those women who felt that to be career oriented, you needed to stay away from the domestic arts. After becoming a caregiver and having purchased a condo, I have done a 180 degree turn! I enjoy cooking and trying out new. Recipes. I also like to buy and organize the kitchen more:) In fact I made the Greek sweet, baklava, recently… And several people complimented me. You can have a successful career as well as be great homemaker. They are not mutually exclusive.

  11. I love a tidy and clean home. I’m not a fan cooking but surprisingly am very good at it according to my husband and family. I hardly cook but lately want to get to cooking more. My husband would be over the moon. ?

  12. ooh and I find a man who cooks so darn sexy. Holy crapola, met a grower man at the farmer’s market. If I was in the market for a relationship, hot cha cha. And he was flirty as I fondled his produce. Thanks for the thrill man, thanks for the thrill.

    Cooking is fun. Especially since so many new old varieties of veggies and fruits are increasingly available. Hmmm, what’s this called and then time to google recipes. For example, imagine a time when there were hundreds of different potatoes or corns in the world. Our food is so pared down and limited now with mass production.

    1. I was watching Sean Brock on mind of a chef talking about seed saving and heirloom foods. It is sad. I blame the 50s when futuristic progress was viewed as nothing but good.

  13. I cook every day for my family, soup and a main course. I have a husband and two sons, they love home cooking and I feel truly valued and loved that I can do this for them. I’ve even rearranged my work hours so that I can schedule cooking and serving up. I bake too and they also value this. I clean of course too but I don;t enjoy this as much as the baking and cooking. Men do appreciate domestic skills, we must make an effort to show them that it’s worth while and that we glow too in their praise and satisfaction. (I’ve got lots of Libra – Jupiter in Libra square sun so I like to go over the top to please!) But funnily no taurus and an empty fourth house! Although both my sons have moons in second house, one of them has a Taurus moon and the other has jupiter in the fourth.

  14. I truly enjoy the “feminine arts” and they do make me feel empowered (and happy within myself). I really enjoy spending time in the kitchen making a good dinner, pie or whatever, for those I love and I’ve not had anyone say they’d not come back again :). While I don’t really care much for cleaning the satisfaction I feel once it’s done is worth the effort. I have a 6th house cappy moon, so taking care of the little/day to day things (that are in fact not ‘little’) is a natural fit for me.

    That being said, I’ve not met or lived with a man that truly appreciated those things, until he no longer had them. I make dinner most nights (5 out of 7) and the girls & I sit down to eat and share our day. Mr. Leo/Libra makes it for 1 maybe 2 of those nights and one of those is the weekend, when he’s already home.

    I don’t understand this at all and it makes my heart terribly sad 🙁 It has taken me a long time see that I am not disempowered or worthless because of this.

  15. My boyfriend has the biggest sweet tooth ever. He loves it when I tell him about the cake I have waiting for him when he visits. Last week, I served him a slice in bed, complete with a glass of milk.

    He reminded me of a little boy, gloating over all the attention and spoiling. He took a picture on his cell phone of our feet together on the mattress and the cake in front of him on a plate and sent it to his best friend.

  16. Part of me when reading some of this goes ‘eww, they don’t deserve it. What do they give you?’ Or ‘you’re not their mommy and they can’t expect their mommy or you’ll grow an ass like their mommy.’ I know that’s messed up. I have to figure out why I sometimes deny people stuff to manipulate them. And I have Venus in cancer. I don’t like to cook for men cause I cook healthy to manage my life and if they don’t like it I feel violated

      1. I think i misspoke. I mean, i live by myself and practice cooking recipes, before I didn’t know how to cook at all and fking up really discouraged me, finally I’m getting something right. If I were to cook for a guy I’d tell them honestly what recipes I know work cause I’ve been cooking them for a while. Id ask what they feel like, too. Guys sometimes ask what do I cook and I sometimes tell them the truth. It’s what i know how to cook and ive screwed up fancy food many times. If they tell me they want a pot roast im likely to screw it up, if they ask me to cook and they say ‘whatever you want’ im likely to revert to something i know works. My ex was a chef so he’d usually cook for me. Ive also never lived with an ex. I’m just learning. A guy I like asked what I cook, I told him honestly and he said he’d like to try it. It is intimate to feed people and also a weird performance. It makes me self conscious because I’m not very adaptable, so if they were to say ‘cook me a lobster newburg’ I might be inclined to say cook your own. I guess learning to cook for others is a separate art than learning to be an adult and make lunch from vegetables that you don’t spit out like a baby.

        Does cooking for men mean they have to give you the recipes or requests they want?

            1. Sorry, over time i had a lot of thoughts about thism I should probably drop this subject but I thought a lot about it and your post which is really.. crucial, memorable. I also resisted the idea this proposed somewhat cause it jarred me. I do agree with the premise but I took it too far in my head. Maybe cause I’m an inveterate control freak. Or because home life and being comfortable at home supersedes my desire to please others and that’s why I live in my own space. I’ve sold some stuff in life just to be comfortable to go to the can for a while. (Also I do tend to buy men good food or bring them to restaurants and stuff their faces with it. I know the food in my area and am very generous about ‘feeding’ people stuff others cooked..)
              Truth is, I haven’t cooked much for men cause I’ve only been in two relationships. And I don’t know a lot of presentation worthy recipes.

              The thing is, if every day you cook for men, and give a gift they like, what if every day you cook some weird stuff they request? Plus how often do men or women tell you what they like? In my family, they say i want something good. Then my mom cooks and we complain about it. Or you give them something in their food language, and if food is important to you, it’s like you’re putting on a costume. Say they’re from a different culture, like if they’d make me cook…scrapple or yak butter or scorpions on a stick (dunno.) Something you dont understand and might screw up. It would be a sacrifice of my hearth. I’d start to resent always shapeshifting for them. It makes me hyperventilate to constantly fake it and be like ‘here hun, lets eat some casserole, sardines au roi and seven layer marshmallow hash.’ I hyperventilate about ‘cooking for a man’ and not ‘cooking for us.’ It’s like for me having a communal motel bathroom with no walls. Or bunking with a speed freak. (Or always having to wear a dress at home and never yoga pants.) Like i have to be donna reed and never have private ritual (read: never get to have bodily functions). Its a messed up thing i have. On the other hand, you can make someone a rabbit fricasee one day and then another day try to get them to enjoy your vegan taco salad or a hearty mushroom eggs Benedict which I can do. Or one day they take over and roast a chicken for you both.
              For kids of course you totally change your palette, totally sublimate your desires. Which is fine and good. But, thats when a kid comes along. if they get on a bread kick, you’re eating bread every day. But, a man and a kid? Serving both and completely prostrating your desire to make a healthy soup n salad?

              I thought a lot about this post and thought maybe i oughtta take a cooking class or something to get prepared. Perhaps cook through julia child’s book. But if i cook that for myself ill just get even fatter plus if it tastes bad I’ll get discouraged. I guess there were many things I was told to learn to do to please men and I never had the intrinsic motivation. Pretty much saw it as suppressing myself. To wear skirts, heels, go to the gym, etc. Only if it has some ‘health’ or personal empowerment angle do I latch onto it. I have a lot of Virgo style energy and if I get some cookbook with specific steps and/or a healthy angle, I’d probably start cooking more like Amanda hesser for guys or something. Or perhaps I could learn a couple showy pastry dishes. I guess it might be some time yet before I feel an ease and facility with cooking (as opposed to blending, processing and chopping) rather than anxiety. I have this fragile ecosystem of vegetables, fruits, and spices that I’ve won with one good dietician/cookbook writer and seems so easy to upend with burnt food and over salting. He showed interest in my recipes, so that’s progress.

            2. I guess I need some good cookbook. I know lots of guys who push the plate away when they don’t like their food and aren’t even grateful you tried (read: people in my family when my mom makes dinner sometimes)

            3. I totally lol’ed at scrapple…as something someone would demand 🙂

              Send him to a diner, you’d have to get a pound of it at the store and unless it’s a family, who eats that much? Anyway, good luck figuring this out!!

  17. Interesting, I’ve never thought of making food (for others) as “empowering”, but I guess it could be.
    It depends on how you feel about it. For my part I know I can cook, have done that before (in a previous life) but did not like the idea that I was working all the time + taking care of stuff while my boyfreid just sat back (his mother’s upbringing).
    So I tend to think of that as some sort of slavery.
    But I do admire and respect women who cook for their family, even if they work. Especialy those who commute and have long hours of transportation. How do they have the strenth to keep this up, I don’t know.
    These days I just cook for myself, and not very much – stuff I think I wouldn’t dare propose to anyone! I’m not self-confident about this talent. I do think it’s a talent.

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