A Queer Take on “New Domesticity,” 10 Years Later

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My new piece “Femme as in ‘Fuck You’: The Life-Changing Magic of Throwing Gender Roles in the Trash,” a nonbinary perspective on gender and domesticity is out in Compound Butter‘s Our Club Issue!

Photo of the first page of my piece “Femme as in ‘Fuck You’: The Life-Changing Magic of Throwing Gender Roles in the Trash.” The illustration by Kissi Ussuki is two abstract people, one with black hair in a middle part adding a spoonful of powder to the bowl that the person with short brown hair and a side part is stirring. The first person has their arm around the second person.
Image description, also in alt text: Photo of the first page of my piece “Femme as in ‘Fuck You’: The Life-Changing Magic of Throwing Gender Roles in the Trash.” The illustration by Kissi Ussuki is two abstract people, one with black hair in a middle part adding a spoonful of powder to the bowl that the person with short brown hair and a side part is stirring. The first person has their arm around the second person.

I initially pitched the piece as revisiting the 2010s hot topic of New Domesticity through a non-binary lens.* In the new piece, I discuss having others attempt to gender my interest in cooking; femme solidarity but also the lack thereof; the harnessing the queer power to destroy gender roles vs becoming a bootlicker; my online queer DIY community; and some dry-ass pie crust.

When I started writing this piece, I realized my argument about degendering cooking sounded similar to a blog post I wrote almost 10 years ago. Before there was the cottagecore of the late ‘10s and 20s, there was New Domesticity (a term popularized by writer Emily Matchar) of the early ‘10s. “New Domesticity” described the activities of mostly (cis straight) women re-engaging in DIY activities like canning jam, knitting, and other household work. In discussing New Domesticity, the question “is this feminist or regressive?” came up a lot. But I wanted to ask a completely different question: “where are all the queer DIYers?” In the pandemic, I found them on Instagram: trans bakers, queer farmers, photos of kitchens and gardens that folks had carved out for themselves. These were my people! Here were others who could fully enjoy themselves in their domestic hobbies without having to make it about the gender binary!

“Femme as in ‘Fuck You’: The Life-Changing Magic of Throwing Gender Roles in the Trash,” Compound Butter, Issue 15.

Re-reading the original piece is, as the kids say, a little cringe. I’ve developed such a different understanding of gender after being in community with other trans, non-binary, and queer folks that it feels like a different person wrote it. Which I guess is true in a lot of ways and also shows character development? It’s still so strange to be how being a “geeky feminist food blog” was so radical in 2010 and now seems more like “well, do you mean that in a Girlboss/Gaslight/Gatekeep way, or for real?” Which is why I’m calling this a “queer food blog” now, since it better reflects my values.

Huge thank you to the editors for letting me write this punchy little sequel to some of my work on gender and food from 10 years ago (and for letting me say “fuck” in the title).

You can support my work by purchasing a copy of Compound Butter, joining my Patreon, leaving me a tip on Ko-Fi, or purchasing some zines.

*In 2011, I was out as bi at the time and married to an abusive cis man who took his queer shame out on me; versus now, when I have been out as nonbinary/genderqueer for about 6 years and have been partnered with my rad, supportive, openly queer + nonbinary partner for about the same length of time. Plus I’ve managed to find a group of friends who are nearly all queer or trans and we can just be us around each other.

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