The Femivore’s Dilemma?

In “The Femivore’s Dilemma” in last Thursday’s New York Times, Peggy Orenstein looked at the surprising intersection between feminism and locovorism. Apparently, there is a noticable movement of American women leaving high-level careers to raise organic produce, home school, can vegetables, and raise chickens.

Femivorism is grounded in the very principles of self-sufficiency, autonomy and personal fulfillment that drove women into the work force in the first place…

There is even an economic argument for choosing a literal nest egg over a figurative one. Conventional feminist wisdom held that two incomes were necessary to provide a family’s basic needs — not to mention to guard against job loss, catastrophic illness, divorce or the death of a spouse. Femivores suggest that knowing how to feed and clothe yourself regardless of circumstance, to turn paucity into plenty, is an equal — possibly greater — safety net. After all, who is better equipped to weather this economy, the high-earning woman who loses her job or the frugal homemaker who can count her chickens?

This is an interesting trend, though I’m not sure we need to label educated women with chicken coops “femivores.” I guess writers love to coin new words.

In reality, the movement is just a new version of what used to be called “back-to-the-land-ism.” It was fueled by the desire to escape war and a growing materialism. I knew many of those families growing up in rural Nova Scotia (a popular destination for them). It was a hard life, and amateur farming didn’t pay very well, so eventually most of the idealistic and educated moms and dads returned to the cities and the 9 to 5 life. We’ll see if technology — and some new ideas — gives the femivores a better chance.



Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Zo

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