Finally saw that Frontier family show... : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

I only caught the last show but I tell you, I wanted to hit that Cluney guy upside his head! Spoiled little rich man...

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2002


I only saw the last episode, too, Dee! So I don't know how these folks were when they first "landed" in the 1880's. I was amazed that the kids seemed to be taking leaving harder than the parents. Could someone please tell me if these families were just left there on their respective homesteads with just the clothes on their backs...or were they given some basic equipment and livestock??

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2002

I missed one episode but I have it on tape to watch this weekend. The families went through a 'frontier bootcamp' to get them ready for their experience. Each family was allowed one wagonload of supplies, a team of horses, and a dairy cow and calf. Due to modern-day laws they were not allowed to hunt. Their homes were in various states of completion when they arrived. The Glenns received a small complete cabin, the Clunes got a larger partially completed cabin, and Nate Brooks had to build from scratch. There was a small general store and they could do things to earn money for more livestock and supplies. Both women sold butter and eggs, Mrs Glenn took in laundry, and Mr Clune made moonshine. The Clunes broke the rules several times but they always had some 'justification' for what they did.

The show was interesting but a bit disappointing. It didn't do a whole lot to show how they actually did things, it focused more on the personalities. I would have been much more interested in seeing how Mrs Clune managed to make such beautiful baked goods in her cookstove instead of listening her complain about how mean her neighbors were.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2002

I haven't seen the show as we don't watch TV in the Hagan household.

It strikes me as curious though that Mr. Clune made whisky with a still. The feds are very particular about folks distilling their own spirits for any reason and I can't see that they'd just ignore this fellow doing it on TV! Somewhere in there someone must have applied for a license or something because there just ain't no way to legally make your own whiskey, most *especially* not if you're going to sell it, without that government license. Curioser and curioser.


-- Anonymous, May 03, 2002

I wondered about that myself Alan. They couldn't hunt because it was out of season, yet they let this guy set up a still. And it wasn't like he suprised them by cobbling together the apparatus out of scavenged parts. He had it custom-made back in the "real world" and shipped in. Each family was allowed to bring in one modern luxury item.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2002

I was curious about how they were doing things also. Those Clunes sure were something! I actually thought that Mr. Clune was coming around and turning into a guy saw what was really important in life in spite of their cheating every now and then. But unfortunately he regressed to his icky old self once he was back in the real world. What a brat! Did you see Mrs. Clune's red feather heels at the end?

I really liked Nate, his father, and his bride. She was a good sport. And apparently they did the best job of preparing. Do you think it was because they didn't have children to care for? I think they would have been fine with children also.

And the Glenn's. What is that man's problem. Why did he get married to a woman with children if he didn't want to be a Dad? I wish he hadn't been so unkind to the Clune girls when he could see they were really upset and struggling with the cow in the snow.

I LOVED the school! My grandparents went to a one room schoolhouse. It doesn't sound like it was too much different then what they were experiencing. I liked it when the one kid said he had discovered imagination when asked what he had learned out there.

What a neat experience they had! I hope they do this or something similar again.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2002

I liked the way most of the children said that they were bored now that they are back. The Cluney kids with the most money were the most bored. The boy would only play video games and the girls said, "how many times can you go to the mall?" I think they came away with more then the father. I think the one girl should have been given the horse too. Give her continuing responsibilities.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2002

A good friend of mine put it very well, so I will try to reiterate what she said here. "What a bunch of whiners the Californians are. And wouldn't you think a mother, any mother would know that wet clothes are better than no clothes (this refering to the Adrian sending her daughter out in the snow to fetch the cow). Now smart girls would have figured out that the easist way to get the milk and cows back to the house would have been to let the cows carry the milk home, then milk them. Daaahhhhh!!"

I loved the little boy who got so upset when his chicken got killed and when they killed JoJoPumpkin the pig. My kids said I am just like Karen, hmmmmm! Do you think that is a good thing? I'm not sure how I feel about it!

I too liked the Brooks' The dad was so sweet and I loved it when the goat was snuggling with the guy (can't remember his name). I noticed the one thing they had going for them that the others lost was humor. They turned the whole thing in to fun and games while still taking their responsibility seriously.

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2002

Iwish you could have seen the one we did here in Canada,it made me quite proud!!It was called pioneer quest, to have a peek.I have it on tape.They had to go a year,with an equivalent budget.Period tools,clothing and supplies,seeds etc.When the garden got flooded out they had to work at the neighbours for veggies,they nearly starved their draft horses feeding wild grasses for hay,but they did really well.My husband is in Winnipeg now,where this was filmed and he is going to the homestead to take pictures for me!!! They had to build there own homeThey also recieved $100,000 each couple.There were some problems getting along,it was the ultimate homesteaders soap opera!!!!

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2002

The four of us watched all of it, together, and discussed it at length, and I have tuned into several forums discussing the series, just observing peoples' reactions, so I'm gonna give mine,and ours, FWIW, to whomever, because we LOVED the whole thing, and found it enormously meaningful.

We immediately predicted that alot of folks would burn on the Californians, both cuz we know from living as Californians years ago that this is a favorite American sport, and cuz they are rich, which of course makes one open season, period. Rich=bad. No suprises there.

First evidence of this was Karen Glenn"s attitude, which was apparent througout the episodes; she seemed to us to have lotsa issues with comparison (competition), but right off the bat, had seemingly decided she was no way gonna like those goddam rich Californians. Course we discussed how that obviously had more to do with how she felt about HERSELF than it had to do with the Clunes. But we can discuss poor Karen later, if you like. Fascinating woman really.

We thought it totally unfair and unrealistic and unjust that there was NO HUNTING allowed (and y'all know I aint no hunter!). The producers could have made arrangements, somehow, some way, for this very important aspect of realism to be included. OBVIOUSLY, hunting was THE VAST MAJORITY of homesteaders' livelihood,and to eliminate it from their lives in a dissmissive way yet, to pretend it was an option, was ludicrous, and completely ruined the credibility of the whole experiment. The one art which had any direct connection to this project that Mr Clune brought with him, and which came from himself within, was a honed skill for hunting; and from our view, they ripped it away from him, from the very get-go, and it must have seemed like a severe punch in the gut for him. It was almost inhumane that the producers had not communicated with him that hunting was not going be allowed, and it had to have colored his perspective of the rest of his time there.

Mr. Clune came with scant homesteading skills, it is true. His family was a perfect example of someone who had reached the pinnacle of the American Dream, what we are all trained to reach for. I doubt that too many folks would argue that he had worked hard to achieve his position, even those who disdain it.

But the fact is, something tugged at him, something called him to apply for this project. I believe this whole series had more effect on the American psyche, if it indeed had any at all, because of the fact that the Clune family was there.

He didn't NEED it, for any purpose the rest of us can imagine. But something called him there, and more than any of the others, he took an unnecessarily huge risk, and for that my family bows down to him.

I have read several inferences, especially on CS, about the Clunes "cheating", and I would truly appreciate it if someone would delineate what they are referring to? We really wanna know; we may have missed em or forgotten? Can we discuss please?

The hunting thing, like I already said, I agreed with Mr. Clune. The thing with the box spring, and people said he was making excuses for, I really found myself agreeing with him? If I were a homesteader on the prairie, just like if I were a homesteader today, would I not be justified in using whatever I could reasonably scounge? Isnt scounging a good thing?? Where else did he cheat...maybe I am just missin stuff...........HELP!

I have lots of thoughts on this series; just touched the surface, but dont want to cover too much on one post cuz issues tend to get buried in the morass that way, I think.

In any case, I guess this is kind of a test to see if anyone here wants to really discuss issues, of course in a friendly, loving manner. If not, that's ok, I'll move on. Godspeed all.

Blessings, and hoping for sappy stuff like love and peace always,


-- Anonymous, May 03, 2002

We watched the 1st part tonight, on tape, with my daughter and her husband here from Florida. We thought it was really entertaining!

Sometimes I wonder what is that pull that a lot of people have with the earlier homesteading type period? I can speak I guess for myself in that I'm so sick of thinks being so easy! Maybe a lot of us were meant for more a physical existance than a mental one. Or at least more of a balance. I guess what makes things really nice for us is that we can do it with a choice verses true survival.

I remember once I backpacked for a month on the Pacific Crest Trail and it was so great to walk 4 hours then sit! Just sitting was wonderful! Eating when you were hungry, sleeping when you were tired. Back to basics and not having to deal with the psychological trama of life. .....Kirk

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

Oh Earthmama, I've missed you!!!!

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

Sure good to see you Auntie Em!!!!!!

Oh, I have the last two episodes on tape, but missed the first night, does anyone have the first night on tape that I could buy, trade or beg for???? I make a lovely salve or soap I could trade!?

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

EM, I'd love to discuss it. I thought that the Clunes were put on the show for the very reason you mentioned. And I was just discussing the hunting issue with my husband last night. I was reading at the Frontier House site about an actual life in that place and time. And hunting would have been an important supplement of food. I think that was unfair also.

The biggest cheating I saw was when they traded baked goods for meat with the modern neighbors. They did this because they were concerned that Mr. Clune was losing so much weight that he wasn't getting enough meat protein and that he may be sick. While they were there trading the girls watched TV for a short while. I think the rules said that they weren't to have contact with the modern world during their stay. So while I agree with you about the scrounging, box springs were not yet in use in 1883. So it was breaking the rules. Why not just make another rope bed? Oh, and the girls and Mrs. Clune defied the rules and brought items such as make up, shampoo, and face wash to the cabin after being implicitly told that was a no no.

I found it interesting that Mr. Clune was a normal weight for a man his size in 1883. Just goes to show you how standards can change. I thought he was looking alarmingly thin too. So I can understand the family's concern for him. And it goes to show how much exercise the American population as a whole is lacking.

I know the girls weren't making a good decision to want to milk the cow over at the neighbor's, but they are just young girls who were upset and not thinking clearly at the time. I've done dumb things like that when under stress. I just wish Mark had been a little more understanding and consoling rather than just yelling at them to get that cow out of there. They were already sobbing and crying from the cold. Did he think yelling would make them any more efficient? I think inviting them in to warm up might have been nice before sending them on their way.

I agree that the Clune's did well considering their lack of skills to start. I commend them. But he sure did have an icky attitude at the end. But who knows what they didn't show us. They do that with Survivor. I don't think Jerry sp? was as bad as they portrayed. I think they just showed us all of her worst moments. The close up shot of Adrian's feet with her red feathered rich lady sandals irked me. But it was probably supposed to do that. There was really no other point other than that to do a close up of her feet.

Oh, and I think Nate's goat was called Glowbug. He was funny making up that song about Glowbug as the goat was snuggling him. Are there many goats that lovable?

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

EM! Glad to see you! I watched the whole thing too, but didn't tape it, because I was taping other things. Now I wish I did have it on tape. Oh well, I be they'll run it again during pledge drives!

I thought there was a lot of whining all around, except for the Brookses. After the first night, I decided I'd live with them, given the choice. The Glenn's obviously didn't deal well with stress -- I think the stress of what they were doing came out in their relationship.

About the bed thing: I agreed with the logic of scrounging, but if it was explicitly against the rules to use anything modern, then the were "cheating". Also, after it was all over, I got to thinking. About the time Gordon Clune gave a rope bed to Mark Glenn was just about the time that Gordon and Adrienne "found" the box spring. I think giving the rope bed away was a way to cover up that they had the spring. I suppose they could have surreptitiously disassembled the rope bed, but otherwise, how were they going to hide it? I guess they could have given it to one of the kids, but probably they didn't have room for it.

Over on CS (before injury to my 'puter) I read a post by greenbeanman/notforprint. He had applied for the show. He said that he was told they didn't WANT anyone with any experience! Is that stacking the deck or what? Even a city slicker of the time would have some knowledge or experience in day to day living that modern folks would not have! Even it it was merely lighting an oil lamp!

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

Yeah, I remember someone emailing me and asking me if I wanted to be on that show (or was it Survivor?) I can't recall. But I sure didn't want to be!

FH really had challenges in being very authentic if you think about it. Modern folk have a hard time "getting it". Even city folks with no country experience had a different mindset in the 1890's. The kids probably would have been less upset about killing the animals for food (people understood how they got their food, even if they lived in cities). People understood that food needed to be made, not just purchased. etc.

I personally think it would have been better to select from a pool of modern day homesteader least they would have the *understanding* and yet, not the skills (yet). That would have been a more authentic situation, imho.

I think the scariest things back then would have been living next to some pissed-off Indians (which kind of got discussed, but kind of not) as well as living around predatory animals. That and storms, fires, and sickness. The rest of it would just be planning and taking the consequences for poor planning. Picking the right partner would always be a good thing to plan for, too!

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

My friend applied for Frontier House and was not even reponded to. She woulda kicked ass homesteading there and loved every minute of it too. Probably they didn't want Canadians. I know I couldn't have made it. I too loved the Glowbug was so funny and cute. I love when grown men are so lovably silly..nice change from their usual ways. It was one ugly goat though..sorry but I am not a La Mancha breed fan club member. Now wanna sweetie pie goat you get yourself a Nubian. I love my doelings of all my critters although curling up in my lap will be a challenge when they are grown. Gorgeous milk too. Gordon Clune cracked me up sometimes. They had a close knit family and were very happy together and sang together and clowned around (helloo my name ees Innnga and I luff to make a de hay...) and seemed to really enjoy one another. The Glenns seemed whinier to me actually..always bitchin' about the Clune's did this, said that, blah de blah...and not even able to get along with themselves. They never would have made it or would have turned into one of those stereotypical angry subsitance farmer type families portrayed in movies, bitter at the world for who knows what reason. sad that they separated though. Karen, for all her griping seemed pretty down to earth and I admired Adrienne Clune's ability to create beautiful food in such old timey conditions (no fancy convection ovens there eh?)and her quantity of preserved food. The Clune's garden was very lush too..the Glenn's was quite pitiful in comparison. Did we even see a garden by the Brooks couple? I too wish the focused less on the negativity and more on the how- to but I think part of the aim was to de-romanticise the Old west and the homesteading life. Why did the Glenn's have sheep anyways..they did nothing with them (didn't eat or shear)? The Pioneer Quest's couples complained about the length of winter etc but they didn't do any of the traditional winter work such as sewing, knitting, weaving, spinning, fence pole making..etc etc etc. Adrienne Clune had hoped to have time for that kind of thing but she was there the wrong time o' year, poor lass.

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

Hey Alison! I second everything you said! (So funny....LaMancha fan club@ Poor hideous dears!) I'm sure LaManchas are are sweet and lovable as all the rest of em .......actually they are the only breed I have never kept, but U..G..L..Y! or was that butt ugly? :) sorry.....

Anyway, I really loved how you analyzed everyone from such a positive perspective, seeing their good traits, and seeing through their questionable behaviour to the wounds that always precede them, rather than finding fault.

The conversations my girls have been having about this series seem to mirror what I have heard from folks my age, and in between.....seemingly the whole country is in love with Nate Brooks! His poor wife may feel pressured here, cuz he's gotta be gettin tons of fan mail.......doesnt matter if they are 15 or 75, male or female, they all love him! (and his dad and brother too!)

I dont see how it would have been a particularly interesting show to the general public if they had only used people with lots of homesteading skills. I guess I felt the main point was to demonstrate the huge gap between modern culture and that culture of the past. Nate had grown up poor and learned lots of the necessary skills utilized in the show, plus he had spent I think a year in some far off place (Africa), so he had a huge leg up as far as confidence goes. Plus he had youth, and no kids to fret about. I didnt like the idea of the competition about the ability to withstand the coming winter; competition always takes away from the needed bonding of community, imo.

Denise, I didnt get the same feeling about Gordon at the end that you did. My gut feeling was that he was very sad to hear the news, and not just in a kind of macho "I failed" sort of way, but because I truly believe that this family was the most traumatized by this whole experience. I was feeling that more than all the others, he will forever question his life, while not really knowing what to do about it, and that is a very sad thing to comprehend. I feel his children were in a similar situation, reacting in the short term in their own individual ways, but deeply moved in ways they will possibly never recover from.

Thank you Denise for pointing out the things that folks consider cheating...lets see.........the box spring thing....

I see what you mean, but is it possible that when scrounging, folks wouldnt have a clue when box springs were invented? I sure as heck wouldnt! Joy's comment about the possibility of Gordon using the rope bed as a distraction from having found the box spring was intriguing though! Very good detective work, Joy! You might got somethin there!

The trading baked goods thing...well I guess I am in trouble here to begin with cuz I aint much for rules for the sake of rules to begin with, but if one had to stick exactly to the rules about contact with the "modern world" I reckon one would find them guilty. However, I just cant see the wrong in tradin bread for meat; sounds like something very typical of the times represented. Its not like they were trading bread for flashlites or toilet paper.

Guess I missed the bit about the Clunes bringing make-up, etc; I know it was a traumatic deal at the beginning for them........I felt sorry for them all that they had bought into the cultural self-hatred of their natural appearance to the point of panic at the very idea of doing without. I'll hafta watch it again to see those details; the whole thing is being re-run this Sunday here locally.

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

heepish, "Picking the right partner would always be a good thing to plan for, too!" Did you mean for the show or in the 1800's? The men back then definitely wanted a woman that could out work a mule. Little petite women weren't a prized possession back then. Well, maybe at the saloon but not on the homestead! You're right though, they did pick their partner for their abilities and not for love. Of course, out there in the wilderness, there wasn't much to choose from in the first place. And they married them off as young as 10 so those teenage girls wouldn't likely be living at home. No sense feeding and clothing another female They didn't feel that the woman of the house needed help. Of course, now the best workers the farmers can find for hauling hay bales are high school girls. Go figure!

Wildman, (wondering where we went wrong!)

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

Sheepish, you don't really mind being called heepish, do you? Wonder where the "S" went?

Wildman, (looking for a "S")

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

We caught the last four hours of the show and enjoyed what we saw. I find myself thinking about it often.

Before we knew about the respective backgrounds of the people Chris, my wife, sez "I really don't like that man." referring to Gordon Clune and I had the opposite reaction. I thot they'd done a pretty good job all in all.

The still, another "cheating", was a master stroke IMO and it turned out to be a good business decision.

Clune was an outta the box thinker, always looking for the angle to play and did stretch the rules a bit I guess but they still did good IMO. The irrigation system for the garden was a good idea and it showed in their produce.

The "excuses" they used for "cheating" were plausible enuf I guess. I noticed Mrs Glenn commenting on their "morality" when referring to the still and she seemed to do ALOT of comparing/competing, while that seemed to be less on the minds of the Clunes and not at all with Nate and his bride.

It was a great commentary on modern life and how empty it can be. The kids left the program with a sense of the "real" world and a sense of accomplishment. I agree with the comment by Kirk? about the required physicality in some peoples psyche. Without it some folks never get satisfaction from life and with it they thrive.

-- Anonymous, May 04, 2002

I think the Clunes knew that box springs were probably not authentic for the time. Why did they feel the need to bring it home in the middle of the night and then why did they keep it a secret?

I have to say I was also amazed at the beautiful food that Mrs. Clune prepared. I wanted to see how she was doing it. There was a huge difference between the appearance of the cakes at the wedding. The women really were getting tired of all the food preparation weren't they? Mrs. Clune said she would not be sad to go for that reason. I wonder if women and "women's work" had been more valued throughout patriarchal history if they would have felt the same.

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2002

I think each family had great strengths! The Clunes had good family strength and humor. Karen was a work horse. I agree she seemed like she was trying to prove something to someone, herself or to others. The Brooks' had the humor and the strength, all around. I wonder where she got her yarn for her knitting. I didn't see any spinning wheels or any stash. I think the kids learned the most! I wish we could recruit Mr. Glenn and the Brooks' and any others who want to get back to what they had discovered. I feel sorry that they didn't get any debreifing. Many of them seemed so lost when they got back to the 21st century.

I wonder what happened to the houses and animals. My kids were very concerned that the animals were left behind.

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2002

Better Homes and Gardens magazine has had articles about this show for the last 3 months. This month (the final article, June 2002 issue) talks about how the families felt upon reentry into the 21st century. Adrienne Clune said: "I certainly didn't prefer life on the frontier, but there were aspects of it that I found were better than what I have here. Since we've returned, possessions have become meaningless, and family and friends are meaningful. I used to worry about robbery and fire, but that fear went away completely. I don't fear losing things anymore. I realize I can live a very simple life."

That didn't quite show up on the last teevee episode! Instead they looked a little too pampered, etc. Makes one wonder how much the teevee editing manipulated some of their experiences into a story.'s another corker, the magazine reports that "Gordon and the children now dream of finding a piece of land and working together to re-create their Montana log cabin, which was dismantled after the production ended and is now displayed at the Froniter House Museum in Nevada City, Montana." Guess Mom isn't that interested, though! LOL

Karen and Mark Glenn filed for divorce.

Nate and Kristen Brooks live in Salt Lake City. Kristen Brooks said: "I didn't relaize how much I missed taking a hot shower until I got home." The magazine reports that "(she) went for a makeover at the Clinique counter as soon as she returned to civilization." That didn't quite show up at the end of the show, either!

The best lines were at the end of the article: "If you think you need to go back in time or move to rural Montana to find happiness, Kristen has news. 'I thought if I could just see the mountains I would find inner peace and serenity, but it's not true. You better be happy in your head or the mountains don't matter.'"

Sage, indeed. (pun intended, sorta). Anyway, check out the magazine article. I hope I didn't slam any copyright rules. This was intended for educational purposes, etc.

(And heepish is kind of funny and how I feel today anyway!!! We celebrated our anniversary last night in an very-unfrontier way....lots of excellent cuisine and wine!)

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2002

I don't know, I'd still like to hit that Clune fellow up-side his head....

-- Anonymous, May 05, 2002

Lots of stuff there, including the rules. Didn't have time to read thoroughly, but I didn't immediately spot anything that would make what the Clune's did "cheating". They didn't get kicked off the show anyway!

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2002

The only goats I've seen up close and personal are Diane's Nubians, so my first reaction to the goats on this show was "Oh my gosh! Where are their ears?!" :)

-- Anonymous, May 07, 2002

{I wonder if women and "women's work" had been more valued throughout patriarchal history if they would have felt the same.}

Great question, Denise!

....I and my girls are spending some time actually pondering this very question.....will let y'all know what we all come up with in a few days, if anyone is interested......would be wonderful to hear some input from all yous guys....and most especially, but not limited to, the men.....

-- Anonymous, May 08, 2002

Just a couple thoughts I've been pondering...

I think that Gordon Clune was just demonstrating the type of "out of the box" thinking that made him a successful businessman in 21st century USA. Those of us who have embraced the homesteading lifestyle have either consciously or unconsciously rejected those values, so seeing him express "his" values on "our" turf makes us uncomfortable/angry.

Would we have considered the Clune women trading food with the modern people cheating if the voice-over announcer for the show wouldn't have said it was cheating? Just because they're PBS doesn't mean they can't spin things. Viewership and revenues for public TV are dropping while shows like Survivor and Big Brother are huge hits.

-- Anonymous, May 09, 2002

I think I would have been fine with the trading if the girls had not been watching TV while it transpired.

OK, now about "women's work". I think that part of it is that women and "women's work" have not been valued throughout patriarchy. Ancient men found out their role in procreation and ran with it and overpowered us (which is what male energy is about). I read somewhere it was as if they were "cuckolded".LOL! Another part of it is that the results of "womens work" is invisible or without longstanding reminder. If a man goes out and builds a fence then the fence is there for some time to remind us of that man's work. Where when a woman prepares a healthful meal it's only visible as long as it takes to eat it. When a woman heals a loved one or prevents an illness with her care it's a memory. Probably 99% of the health care in the world is invisible and administered by women (mother, wife, partner, women caring for themselves, etc. in the home).

I think that the energy in the world has shifted way too far toward the male. I think that's where so much violence in the world comes from. And I mean that the male energy within women has done this too as women are afraid to acknowledge their womanliness and their womenly functions (ex. menses, compassion for others) because it's not male. Let's face it a woman could use a day or two a month to recoup but that's not accepted as normal, as shirking our responsiblities, or not being strong. Instead we are expected to act like it doesn't happen. We must hide it and any odor. So it's no wonder that this type of thinking has been carried over and women would like to reject "women's work". That sort of leaves women in very confused place now doesn't it? Grrrrrrr! LOL!

-- Anonymous, May 09, 2002

Denise, I was talking about something similar with a friend just the other day. We were commenting on the increasing number of women we know who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. My theory is that we as women are pulled in so many directions and have so many roles to fulfill, the only socially acceptable means we have of taking a break is to get sick. There is a theory that people store emotions as knots and sore spots in their muscles, and many women develop fibro after an emotional trauma.

Sorry about the drift, maybe we should start a new thread about this topic. :)

-- Anonymous, May 09, 2002

A couple of things...I keep running into old friends, both from the city and from the country. The women folk are almost to a person, *depressed*. It's almost like I keep finding out which one is on Prozac (or equivalent) and in my head it's like "My God, now you, too?" !

I had a tough winter of depression, in some ways, but I'm astounded that so many women I know (my age) are in a major funk (sans meds).

That said, regarding men (generalized):

I know that if Mr. S. prepares a meal for company, even if it's mediocre, he/it gets raves (simply because *he* *did* it). If *I* prepare a meal for company (and it can be a good one), I may get compliments, but none of the standing ovation that he gets when he cooks. (And my house had better be clean, too!) I think it's like the dancing bear's not that the bear dances well, but that it dances at *all*. Everyone clap for the bear!

Men get *praised* for their creativity. Women get *judged* for their ability to do (or not do) the same damned boring work over and over again. Men make art. Women (and "primitive" people) make crafts.

I tell you if more men had to do the same stupid, repetitive, boring, tedious tasks (like cleaning house, making food appear on the table, etc.), the whole attitude of the world would (have to) change.

I'd rather be building a fence than cooking for hours just so folks could eat in less than 10 minutes so I could then clean up for hours...

Just my raving $.02.

Guys, I love ya, though!

-- Anonymous, May 09, 2002

I FINALLY got around to rereading this thread and let me tell ya' I'm damn proud to be a woman!!

Happy belated anniversary..."Heepish"!!

Aunty Em...really wonderful to see you back here :-)!!!!

-- Anonymous, May 09, 2002

I think that the gender division of boring jobs cuts both ways though. Men are pretty much expected to take out the trash, mow the lawn, household and auto maintenance, etc. If I changed the oil on my car it would be a big deal, if Keith changes the oil its a big yawn.

-- Anonymous, May 10, 2002

Sherri...when you mentioned fibromyalgia, I remembered reading somewhere that more women are subject to migraines and depression than men. Do you suppose that's a direct result of the repressive society women live in and the lack of respect for "women's work"? I watched a movie years ago about a man who spent a period of time masquerading as a women and he could not believe how stressful (mentally) it was. While walking down a sidewalk, if a group of men were headed towards him, he would cross to the other side of the street to avoid them! Can't for the life of me remember the name of that movie!!

-- Anonymous, May 10, 2002

Other than simple cause and effect situations such as "these blisters on my butt are a direct result of me tripping and falling into the Beltaine bonfire", I'm very reluctant to say that any health issue is a direct result of something. Feeling stressed-out, repressed, and undervalued won't help the situation but there's also hormones, differences in skeletal and muscular structure, diet, heredity, environmental factors, etc. We're so wonderfully complex. :)

BTW, the example above didn't happen to me, but it did happen to a friend a few years ago. Those crazy nekked pagans! :)

-- Anonymous, May 10, 2002

I dunno ladies. I recall one of the homestead wives discussing this and her comments seemed accurate to me. The wives were expected to be the "support" infrastructure for the men. "Womens" work does seem to be more repetitious but mens work is often very physically challenging and more diverse. Thats the way it seems around here any way.

I can't speak for anyone else but I do alot of things around here that Chris simply couldn't do. Not because she was necessarily unwilling but because she lacks the physical strength to get it done. Around here chores are pretty gender traditional. She cooks because I'm lousy at it. I change oil because she doesn't know how and doesn't want to learn. The list goes on and on.

-- Anonymous, May 10, 2002

I guess my comment has to do with what work is "valued." I guess if I changed the oil, I might get kudos for having danced like the bear, too. Mr. S. does a lot of the physical stuff around here (and I'm glad; he's a whole head taller than I and has big strong muscles!) Social expectations are kind of tough on women in general though.

It would be nice if both genders could be hunter-gatherers, I guess. Then there's that child-bearing stuff, though, too.

I guess a lot of women that I know have SO much talent, and are getting so little chance to use it. Maybe all the men I know are on Prozac, too. I didn't think to ask ... I dunno anything anymore.

I *do* know that *I* would probably go mad living in Montana in a frontier house!!

(I hope this makes some sense at least grammatically, if nothing else. Mr. S. has interrupted me every 15 seconds to update me on the Mariner's game. I guess I had better go watch it so I can get some peace!)

-- Anonymous, May 10, 2002

It's difficult for me to understand the common arguement about the division of labor being justified by physical differences between the sexes. We managed to run the farm for 12 years with no men involved, except for an occassional hired job. Truly there are some things that a strong man would have had an easier time doing, but brains will usually replace brawn for those hefty jobs. Course when we had willing and eager male visitors, we definitely would put those big muscles to work, and it wasnt washin the dishes we were havin em do!

I understand entirely the concept of tedious, uncreative and unending work being much more pleasant when it is it highly valued. The pure drudgery of most household tasks can be quite draining to one's spirit, and all the more so when they are taken entirely for granted. I would imagine a similar response in a situation where a guy works every day at a monotonous assembly line, and comes home to a partner who shows no appreciation for his agony, but has her hand out for the paycheck.

I used to think that whether someone enjoyed stuff like cooking/cleaning etc was mostly a matter of attitude or perspective, that if we could look at it all as the nuturance of our families/friends, as the glue that holds us together, blah blah, we could begin to actually enjoy it. And to some extent I still think the basic premise is sound. However, I now believe that all the attempts at attitude adjustment in the world will not make us enjoy things we were not programmed to enjoy. I would rather change the oil any day of the week than wash the floors. I love to cook for an appreciative audience, but I will always hate the clean-up afterwards. That's just who I am as an invidual.

Like Sheepish said, I would go mad in a short time being stuck in that little cabin, even in the beautiful summertime. Can't imagine staying a winter without a homocide involved! Fact is, I simply wouldn't have done it, wouldnt have accepted the 'rules' of the time, cuz I think we all need to use our creativity to stay sane. The women on Frontier House coped as best they could: Adrienne used her culinary skills which were newly challenged in that limited environment, and she did quite well, not only feeding her family with few resources but creating works of art with her food. Karen used her creative energies for more entrepeneurial ventures, making and selling bread and butter, and taking in laundry. Kristen's workload was considerably less cuz she didn't have the additional burden of keeping the mouths of always-hungry children filled. She and Nate actually had LEISURE TIME, which the other adults never seemed to find.

The only thing that makes sense to me, is to divide work up according to what folks like to do, and for those things everyone hates, to take turns.

-- Anonymous, May 11, 2002

Yep, once again, I find myself in agreement with EM latest post. I personally, would rather mow the grass (traditionally male job) than vacuum the house (traditionally female job). I LOATHE vacuuming -- the sound of one of them drives me up the wall. I kind of like the mowing -- outside activity too, which is a plus. You all know I'm single, but should I FIND a man to blend my life with, my BET is that he wouldn't think he should vacumm while I mow the grass! (Which I can accomplish just fine, BTW, withOUT a riding mower!)

Being single, I have accomplished a lot of "muscle" things with ingenuity instead. I don't ever remember getting any admiration or credit for doing that (except from my mother) by anyone, male or female. So, call me chauvanistic, but I will propose that our society is acculturated to praise for men, no matter how mundane or extraordinary the task/accomplishment, and to ignoring or taking for granted anything done by women. Of course, there are always exceptions to this, and if you tell me that you're a different kind or guy or your hubby is different, well, more power to you. I still think it's a prevailing attitude (and even worse in some cultures other than ours).

-- Anonymous, May 12, 2002

I think there is some truth in the idea that routine, everyday jobs are kinda taken for granted, but we all, male and female, do them. Chris cooks. I make firewood. She cleans. I build stuff. She takes care of the money. I take care of the cars and household repairs. It all evens out around here.

-- Anonymous, May 12, 2002

I've given up on the role thing. After being passed over for promotion at my previous job (the promotion being given to a man with less seniority and lower scores on his apprenticeship tests); and then, when promotion time came around again; having them tell me that they could give me or Hubs (then BF) the promotion and having them be totally shocked when I wouldn't step down so he could have it - I said "Screw this!" and went to nursing school; with the thought in mind that if I was going to be discriminated against, then it was going to be by other women, by gosh!! (And don't kid yourself that they don't do it, either!)

Out here, Pop and Hubs do the mowing. Their choice, really. I think that it is perfectly adequate to bush hog the lawn twice a year; with more frequent passes made over the path to the garden and clothesline. For some reason, they think the lawn needs mowed weekly. I change the sheets - which they think needs done twice a year, and I think needs done weekly!! They are perfectly capable of foraging for their own food in the fridge, but I do cook frequently. And they better tell me "Good dinner" or they get rapped on the bean with a wooden spoon! (I tell them good dinner when they cook, too!) We each do our own laundry, tossing in whatever is in the basement hamper that will go with whatever we are washing. I do the sheets and towels, since I take them to town with my work clothes. I'm the only one who dusts, and the only one who mops - they will run the vacuum and sweep the floors. Hubs will clean the old food out of the fridge, but won't wipe the shelves; and neither one of them would wipe a counter top on a bet. I hate bill paying, so I dump most of my check in Hub's account and he pays the bills - but I balance his checkbook at the end of the month. Any of us here could learn to do the stuff that the other's know how to do - yeah, I can run wiring for lights and outlets, and change my oil; and they can sew and go buy groceries - but we're okay with what we do. If we weren't, we wouldn't do it. Any "role" expectations that anyone has of me are the ones that I allow them to have.

I do agree that feeling undervalued and "put upon" is a cause for depression among young adult to middle age women; but I also think that they put those expectations on themselves. If they'd pull their snouts out of the TV and magazines showing lives that are make believe for pity's sake; and spend that time doing something that they can feel proud of, they'd be a lot less depressed! So many of them have expectations of themselves/their lives that are so far out of line that it is ridiculous! They think they need all the latest gadgets and clothes and their house has to look perfect and their kids need to have the fanciest birthday parties and be in all the activities, etc...and they have to do all this while maintaining a perfect figure with perfect hair and perfect nails and ......stop me!! I'm ranting!! If you ask them to think back to their happiest time; I'll guarantee you that it wasn't stuffed so full of "activites" that they didn't have time to enjoy cooking and eating a nice meal at home. I can always tell when Jessie is stressed to the max - she comes home and asks me to cook her "real food" and then crashes out until it's done! I don't much feel put upon by someone wanting me to cook when I know that it's so healing!

I had a co-worker come out last summer with her three children to pick strawberries. (These kids are driving her nuts, BTW) The two oldest didn't want to pick berries; mostly they just wanted to whine. I told them that children were responsible for their own entertainment at our house when the adults were working, so scram if they didn't want to help. The kids were astounded. And so was she. But it worked. We've got our kids lives so regulated now that they don't know how to spend their leisure time - and the kids turn into adults with no idea of how to enjoy themselves.

-- Anonymous, May 13, 2002

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