chapter  7
15 Pages

Community Gardeners or Radical Homemakers?

ByLISA HELDKE

The role played by traditional “women’s work”—child care, housecleaning, cooking, and other labor defi ned as either “naturally” or culturally feminine-in the liberation of women has historically been a subject of considerable debate among feminist theorists. In its most simplistic forms (forms that obscure cultural, racial, and class diff erences among women), the debate has pitted the assertion that women’s work is the primary source of women’s oppression against the claim that women’s work is the primary source of women’s empowerment. Whereas such a fl at-footed formulation of the disagreement-which rests, in turn, upon universalistic notions of what constitutes “women’s work”—cannot but oversimplify the relevant issues, the question “what role does women’s work play in women’s liberation and progressive social change?” remains important.