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I Have a Secret

Can I just tell you a little something-something about myself? It's a secret I've been keeping from the blogging world for quite a while for fear of a general outcry and swift retribution.

BUT, never being one to be able to keep a secret for long, I'll tell you.

I hate aprons.

A few years ago we had a women's social at church in which we were all given aprons and told they were an example of service.

I nearly didn't take one. I nearly skipped out on the whole thing... oh, wait--I think I did leave early.

You must be wondering what my miff is? What's got my bloomers in a bind? What's got my corset askew? What's the rock in my high heel?

To me aprons are the physical representation of everything women fought to free themselves of!

Forget bras, people... what about aprons?

Everybody seems so gung-ho to embrace aprons these days and every time I see one I just think to myself--"A woman's place is in the kitchen."

Wow, last time I checked my place was wherever the heck I wanted it to be (and that is rarely the kitchen).

Let's just take a look at a few images shall we:






Hmm, I'm starting to see a pattern here and I'm wondering why today's woman is trying to aspire to this? I'm not!

Well, okay, I admit that it sure would be nice to be so cheerful about chores, but I'm not willing to sacrifice my equality for it.

This is what goes through my mind when I see an apron. This is what kills me about giddy women who throw apron parties and make apron crafts and bow to the apron god.

It's like throwing away everything your mothers and grandmothers fought to accomplish!

So... I hate aprons. I really do. I have a few, and one of them in particular comes in pretty darn handy sometimes (it's a gathering apron... and I have fruit out back) but usually I just use them as extra large rags.

Besides, come on and admit it, aprons look ridiculous over jeans.


Anonymous said…
I do not view aprons in the same way but this post reminds me of my own skewed perspective on another subject. In fact I remember telling you about it.

I told you that I do not like schedules. I don't like living by something written down. You laughed and said, "but you wrote it, it's what you want to do". I know but I can't stand the written daily routine. I rebel against it. I do have routine but I don't write them down. It reminds me of something like horrid boarding schools where you're in for a beating if you miss anything by a minute.
Meaghan said…
I totally understand this. And I definitely agree with this whole post. I own an apron ONLY for making banana bread. It can get pretty messy. That's the only time where I will voluntarily wear an apron.
Polly Blevins said…
I think families were happier back then. If an apron is what makes a family happy, that is a small sacrafice. I know that my mother and grandmother did not fight against it. Honestly, I don't own an "apron" but I do spend a huge amount of my time in the kitchen. I don't love cooking but when the family is eating together and the kids are making silly noises and asking their Dad how his day was and vise versa, it makes it all worth the annoying task of figuring out what to feed them.
heather said…
:) I have to respond in a whole post of my own. Look for it in the next few weeks.

Also, don't be offended or anything, but I love aprons for a lot of the reasons why you hate them. I'll explain in the post.
Amy said…
I wrote a whole long response to this and blogger erased it! doh!
Amy said…
Here we go again:

Usually our thinking is pretty much in sync (your depression blog could have been mine word for word) but I have to say I totally disagree with this one.

I love aprons (and not just because I actually need one because I'm a total slob in the kitchen. LOL).
Cannwin said…
Oh, I hate it when blogger does that. Sometimes I actually will stop typing just to take the time to hit ctrl+c and copy the thing... just in case.

As for aprons, I know I'm in the minority on this one, but it doesn't change that I feel like a complete idiot in an apron. :)

I do, however, admit that there are some fantastic apron patterns out there. Ones that I wish were skirts or dresses instead.
beck said…
WOW! Who is going to cook dinner with all this womens rights you speak of? My husband and I both have aprons cause we don't want our clothes to get dirty while cooking. We are supposed to sit down together as a family and eat dinner. So many prophets have taught us this. And while women equality has lots of good points, I think getting women out of the home was part of the downfall of families today and so sad that it happened. I would give up my right to vote if families were as strong today as they were back in the day.
Cannwin said…
Just to clarify, I do the majority of the cooking in our home, but not because I'm a woman, because it's the job I agreed upon.
beck said…
don't you get that it's the same thing and it's not degrading at all? it's empowering to be the one in charge of your families health and well being. Motherly instinct is so different from fatherly instinct. Both so important but both play such different rolls and both are given different gifts for a purpose. And just to clarify, I hate cooking! Hate it with a passion. But, I know that is my "job" as a stay at home mom. And I would do anything to be able to stay home with my kids. Even cook and wear an apron. Screw history and just be who you are. Go ahead and hate aprons because you think they look lame but a woman's place is in the home with her children taking care of them. And by golly, I think aprons are cute. Even the half aprons that make no sense cause they don't do any good. (hope you don't take offense. it's fun to debate right? will a cheesy smiley face make it better?:)
Jason said…
Wow, I just finished a five day argument on whether or not you're an apostate if you cheered against BYU's basketball team last week. Soooo, I'm taking this one out.

Personally, I do think aprons look silly, but so do gardening gloves, Air Force blues hats (which I hated wearing), and a whole list of other things. My wife doesn't wear and apron because she feels silly in them, but she is an AWESOME cook, whereas I burn/destroy everything I try to make (brownies turned out green, fried chicken ended up sopping wet in oil).

If you hate aprons, RIGHT ON TO YOU!

If you love aprons, RIGHT ON TO YOU!

Personally, it's not affecting my life so I have no problem with your POVs. Aren't we glad you don't have to dress up in a burka but you can if you want to?
Cannwin said…
Okay, first I restrained saying anything because Polly is my sister... then I refrained because I wasn't sure how to word it, but guys!

Families weren't better off back then!

I'm totally into the staying at home with my kids thing. I love it 90% of the time, but it is and ALWAYS will be my choice to do so. That's what I was given by the feminist movement--equal rights.

Women 'back in the day' were completely at the whims of men. Oh, where do I start--

They couldn't own property.

They didn't work.

They didn't read.

They had no rights to their children.

I've read medical arguments from the 1800's that discuss the natural inability of women to understand the needs of a child.

The 'rule of thumb' was a law that stated it was illegal to beat your wife with anything thicker than a thumb.

When women went for the vote they were arrested, spit on, called whores and bitches. They were beaten by husbands, fathers, brothers. By those men who you guys are saying were so great that women didn't even need to have rights.

Let's. Get. Real. Here.

A man's credit 'back in the day' was defined by how many children he had. The more children the less credit because it meant he was unable to control himself.

So, those people that cherished children and seemingly upheld the value of family were scorned and impoverished.

That is not better.

And since when do my breasts (and other such things) define how well I can cook?

I understand that my divine role is caregiver. I understand that women are the 'gentler' sex because we are softer and typically more empathetic then men. I gladly take that role. I gladly embrace all things woman. I love being a girl down to my toes.

But I would never, ever, ever give up my rights because those rights are what allow me to embrace who I am instead of having someone else tell me it's the only thing I'm good at.
Nita said…
Cannwin, I'm interested in what your view of equality is (especially when you reference everything our mothers and grandmothers fought to accomplish). For a lot of women, being equal doesn't mean staying away from aprons anymore than it means staying away from dresses, make-up and high heels. The way I see it, the women before us fought so that we could have the vote, a voice, and choice (to stay home or go to work, for example, or to wear an apron or not).

By the way, I'd be interested to know R. W.'s thoughts on the subject (sorry, I forgot his blog name). :)
Cannwin said…

I think you and I must have posted at the same time.

Ralexwin... well, I think you wouldn't be surprised by his POV.
Nita said…
Ok, I didn't see the last two posts before adding mine. I think when others are talking about "back then" they are talking about the times depicted in the images you've chosen--when women did have the vote and were going to school and work in increasing numbers. Perhaps we do over idealize the past, but when we look back at the middle of the 20th century, we think of family values. All the points you make about the lives of some 19th century women are absolutely correct. But I don' think that is what others are referencing.
Jennifer said…
Wow, Beck, don't you think you're overreacting? Are you familiar with Cannwin at all? If you know her, or read her blog, you'll know that she is fiercely dedicated to her family. She's one of the best mothers I know, in fact, and I only wish I could be more like her.

Personally, I don't care about aprons, pro or con, but I understand the point Cannwin is trying to make. There's a nostalgia involved in this current fascination with aprons, but it's a nostalgia based on an inaccurate idea of what life was like back then.

You're probably too young to remember this, Beck, but when I was a kid, girls weren't allowed to play sports. I remember wanting to be in Little League SO BAD. I couldn't understand why that wasn't allowed. My brother and cousin used to play that they were policeMEN and fireMEN. Even then (about 6 yo) I had already learned that I would never be allowed to do anything so fun and exciting. I couldn't even play at it with them, because *shrug* girls couldn't do that.

I love Prov 31. That is the pattern of what the Lord expects of and for his daughters. It portrays a woman who is strong and independent. This is a woman who is an entrepreneur, a financial power in her community. She is a leader in her family and the community that she associates with. Her husband doesn't need to worry about taking care of her, because she isn't a clinging vine. Her ability to function without constantly demanding his attention leaves him free to also be an influence for good in their community, as well as a leader.

These verses portray an ideal. It's not something that women are supposed to be doing all at the same time, right this very instant. It's a description of the entire course of our lives, a picture of all the things that we have it in us to be as we move through our various roles as independent woman, mother, wife, and daughter of God.

It's spelled out so specifically in there, however, for a very important reason. The World's view - and I capitalize "world" because I'm talking about the symbolic world, representing Satan's opposition to the Lord - would have us believe otherwise. The adversary has put a lot of effort into trying to convince us over the millennia that we only have two options - to be a slave/doormat, with no rights and no status, or to be man-hating Amazons in a constant power struggle with men.

Both extremes (and their associated, though not-so-extreme, variations) are lies, meant to disempower and enfeeble women, and keep us from exerting our rightful and righteous influence on the world.

It is easy to look at previous generations and be seduced by what seems a simpler, more righteous time. But they had their own struggles, and it is dangerous for us to get too caught up in their worldview. We have moved beyond that, and we need to keep moving toward a more accurate and Christlike understanding of the true role of women in God's plan. We are not servants to men, and we are not their rulers. They are not our enemies. We are equals, and the influence of righteous women is fundamentally necessary to bringing about God's plan of happiness. We cannot exert that influence, however, if we make the mistake of thinking that our influence should only be exerted within the walls of our home.

I might not care about the current apron craze, but I understand Cannwin's distaste. They are evocative of a time when women's lives were restricted, and our entire society, therefore, was likewise crippled. It would be better for all of us to move forward, instead of looking back.
Cannwin said…
@JenniferMy roommate just voted that she likes your answer better than mine. :)
Amy said…
Shoot! It did it again! It erased 90% of my post. :-P

All right, really quickly now:

I think it's sad that so many women relate women's rights to being a stay-at-home mom. We were fighting to be equal to men not TO BE men. I think it's sad that feminism has left so many women today, who want to be stay at home moms, without the skills necessary to do their jobs well. Our gradnmothers were trained in how to cook, clean, bake, and manage a household. Which is probably why they're smiling in their apron pictures. LOL

Taking the domestic role in a family doesn't make us less as women (or as a man if that's the case). My husband and I are equally yoked (so to speak) but even then one ox still has to walk on the left and one on the right. :-)
Cannwin said…
@Amy Completely agree with you. There has to be a balance. Balance and equality are synonymous

An excellent, excellent book that is practically my model for womanhood is "A Gift From the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

She states it excellently when she says "Mechanically, woman has gained in the past generation. Certainly in America, our lives are easier, freer, more open to opportunities, thanks—among other things—to the Feminist battles. The room of one’s own, the hour alone are now more possible in a wider economic class than ever before. But these hard-won prizes are insufficient because we have not yet learned how to use them. The Feminists did not look that far ahead; they laid down no rules of conduct. For them it was enough to demand the privileges. The exploration of their use, as in all pioneer movements, was left open to the women who would follow. And woman today is still searching."

Oh and Amy.... ctl+c, ctl+c ;)
Cannwin said…
Okay, I used excellently three times in that comment...sorry.
Sarah said…
Great conversation!

I'm reminded of a teacher I had whose mother wasn't around when she was growing up. It wasn't until she was an adult that she learned that her mother was institutionalized for depression for years. She had no idea. I think a lot of women did (and still do) feel the need to hide their unhappiness. Not that they were all depressed -- I'm sure some were (and are) happy being at home. I just think it's hard to say "women were this" or "women were that" since it's hard to qualify that claim when people hid their true feelings. AML, who Cannwin mentioned, never talks about her grief over her dead child in that book, for example.
If some asked me "are you happy at home" my answer would vary depending on the day :P
Cannwin said…

She doesn't. I often wonder that when I'm reading it, but once you understand her background I think you can spot it in the way she formulates her philosophies of the world.

I think it's easy for all of us to see another time period, or another place, or another relationship and think how much better things look over there, when in reality it's all fairly relative and probably pretty similar. Maybe that would be the non-aggressive way of saying what I was saying in my earlier comment. We can look back all we want and 'wish' things were like they were, but they weren't that much different. Marriages still failed, adultery still happened, abuse still happened, unwanted pregnancies and even abortions were still issues back then.

I suppose it's worth noting that we, as human beings, typically see the future as the progression towards better-ment. Phrases like 'don't let history repeat itself' come from the understanding that things get incrementally better as we move along because we are constantly learning from our mistakes.

(Amy-- when you hit publish is it sending you to a blogger screen that says something like 'sorry we couldn't publish that...yada yada.' But it's a BLOGGER screen?

That keeps happening to me too. I've just been hitting backspace--which is the keyboard equivalent of the back button on your internet--and it takes me to my preserved comment.

Hmm, I will check and see if they are having issues)
Claire Wessel said…
We need some old people on here. If we had some, I'm pretty sure they would tell you that June Cleaver only existed on TV. This idealized notion of women in heels and aprons is a myth. It never existed. This is probably the part where I rant about how the commercialization of housewives did more to destroy the family than people realize, but I think I'm going to leave it alone. I think those images today have the same effect as they had on our grandmothers - they tell us that we aren't good enough. Aprons are cute, and it would be better than wiping my hands on my jeans, but that look of the happy hostess in her heels and aprons reminds me only of how women lost their self-esteem in the home and then wanted to be out of the home, and then being out of the home has caused a generation of young men who really feel they have no real role to fill and wander aimlessly through life.

Ok. I'm done. Oh, except to remind you all that Utah was first to give women the right to vote.
Jennifer said…
I was talking with someone older about all this, in fact, and got the exact same thing you just said, Claire! He was raised in the 50's and he was quite adamant that it was NEVER like June Cleaver.

Interesting historical tidbit - New Jersey was actually the first state to give women the right to vote (immediately after the Revolutionary War.) They let heads of households vote, without regard to sex, which meant that widows and unmarried women could vote (but not married women.) The law was changed in 1807, unfortunately, to specifically restrict voting rights to men.

In Utah, women were given the right to vote by the territorial legislature in 1870, but Congress revoked that in 1887 as part of the Edmunds Tucker act. Utah women didn't get the right to vote back until 1895 when the territory finally became a state. Women's right to vote (and hold office) was written into the new state's constitution.

History is fun! :)

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