House and Home: Feminist Variations on a Theme

  • Iris Marion Young


For millennia, the image of Penelope sitting by the hearth and weaving, saving and preserving the home while her man roams the earth in daring adventures, has defined one of Western cultures basic ideas of womanhood. Many other cultures historically and today equate women with home, expecting women to serve men at home and sometimes preventing them from leaving the house. If house and home mean the confinement of women for the sake of nourishing male projects, then feminists have good reason to reject home as a value. But it is difficult even for feminists to exorcise a positive valence to the idea of home. We often look forward to going home and invite others to make themselves at home. House and home are deeply ambivalent values.


Personal Identity Domestic Work Feminist Politics Hotel Room Feminist Variation 
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© Sarah Hardy and Caroline Wiedmer 2005

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  • Iris Marion Young

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