Martha Stewart and Porn

1

April 22, 2011 by rebelwithalabelmaker

Remember in all those Women and Gender Studies classes, when they told you how bad pornography was, and they showed you all these studies showing that people who view pornography become less satisfied with their real life partners?

Here's a little test. Look around your house. Read a Martha Stewart magazine. Look around your house again. House look better, or house look worse?

It's easy to write that off–who cares if a few silly women get tied in a knot about the state of their homes after reading a magazine? Our homes aren't our bodies, after all. They aren't who we are.

I think our homes are deeply important. They are expressions of who we are, they are our refuges, and they are the sanctuary we create for our families. And just like we need to make peace with bodies that sometimes show a little evidence of birthing babies and a few extra pieces of pie, we need to make peace with our homes. We need to insist that these are not spaces for guilt, comparisons, or constant nagging–they are spaces for life. And we can spend our lives worrying about stains and learning how to get them out of the carpet. Or we can decide that a stained carpet is not the end of the world–and get back to living.

You've heard this before, I'm sure. It is, ironically, a major theme of those women's magazines. They say "oh, you should feel less guilty–nobody can do it all". And then they give you examples of things not to feel guilty about. I remember reading that I shouldn't feel guilty for not ironing pillowcases. I remember thinking "Oh God! You can iron pillow cases?" How come they never put on the forgiveness list any of the things I actually do? What's with the fake guilt list with all that obscure stuff on it?  How come nobody ever says "You know, if you don't sort, fold, or put away the clean laundry, the kids will still be able to get dressed…"  or  "You know what works if you're too busy to mop?  Wearing shoes.  You can get away with this for quite a while before you start to sink in the dirt like quick sand."

Now, if you've never been to my house, you are probably thinking you never, ever, ever want to go. Remember, I do exaggerate a little at times.  But two things are true:
1)  My house is definitely definitely far from picture perfect most of the time (although it is consistently sanitary and tidy enough to support all the things we want to do), and
2)  People love to come over.  They say it all the time.  People go on and on about the "comfortable feel" of my house, and the "community"–which thrills the heck out of me.  I don't think they are lying, because they always come back.
Martha seems to promise that a perfect house will bring us happy home lives, personal peace and flocks of friends coming over to admire the little christmas trees we made out of green peppers.  It's hilarious that we buy this.  Saying that hand coloured easter eggs will add to your happy home life is like saying that a new shade of lipstick will improve your marriage.  And while it's true that having the basics done and adding a few homey flourishes do bring about a sense of personal peace and order, Martha doesn't ever feature those things.  There is no article on "how to make sure the dishes are done".  She features "12 kinds of crystal decanters for your dishsoap".  And maybe, somewhere, there are potential friends just waiting to come over and admire those decanters.  Who knows, maybe people like that do exist… I think they give my house a pretty wide berth on account of the "compost" pile in the back yard and how your feet stick to the floor in the entry way.
When it comes to house keeping, it's not as simple as just "letting go". It also requires some discipline about what we allow to enter and take hold of our minds. Any magazine that judges our life-scuffed homes can go sit with the magazines that judge our life-scuffed bodies. I, for one, see stains and a little grime as a badge of honour for a house that has been delightfully, noisly, messily filled with life–something to be proud of. And I am determined not to allow the house-porn industry to replace my home with some made up, airbrushed, surgically altered version of my family's messy and lovable world.

One thought on “Martha Stewart and Porn

  1. Jerrod says:

    Awesome article

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