November 09, 2007

Sarah: Retro Progressive

Today I discovered Tiny Choices via Not Martha. This blog is mostly about reducing your consumerism or energy use, but the author isn't condescending and I don't feel guilty for any of my wasteful ways. Instead I'm inspired to look for easy, small ways to simplify my life, to reduce the number of scary how-do-you-even-pronounce-that ingredients or chemicals I use or consume.
Perhaps I'm just feeling vulnerable right now because last night I ate a frozen pizza, only to find out minutes later that it had been recalled because of possible E. Coli contamination. (Good thing I bought Christmas gifts early. If I die, consider them my farewell gifts to friends and family.)
Anyway, Tiny Choices discussed a term called Retro Progressive to describe returning to old practices in order to reduce one's energy and chemical use. I know myself well enough to accept that I won't immediately start cooking and canning homegrown organic vegetables, refuse to purchase any frozen (albeit deadly-bacteria-containing) food, and washing all of my clothes by hand. But I will continue to air-dry about half of my clothes (I totally believe that it extends the life of my jeans and delicate items) and I'm trying to cook more at home instead of grabbing fast food for every meal. These are my tiny choices.
Giving sensible living a buzz term like "retro progressive" spurred some debate among Tiny Choices readers. Does the very notion of 'retro' home life imply oppression of women? Some found the term a bit insulting. It just made me want to put on a cute apron. I liked what one commenter said, though, that "'Domesticity' is not just a way to keep women oppressed - it's also a set of really useful skills." So I think that what I'm taking from that blog entry is that enjoying domesticity, whether it's crafting, cleaning (because what feels better than a sparkly clean house, really?), cooking, or taking an active role in your quality of life, is nothing to be embarrassed about. You can believe in your right as a woman or individual to choose your path in life, whether it's working or staying home, married or single, and still embrace how great your legs look in heels and enjoy the smell of something delicious bubbling on the stove.

Posted by sarah at November 09, 2007 10:24 AM

Great post! So, speaking of using natural resources, did you know that the world's supply of helium is running out? Helium balloons may become a thing of the past. I am totally not kidding. It's a non-renewable resource released from holes in the ground, just like natural gas.

Posted by: lisa on November 8, 2007 10:40 AM
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