The New York Times Questions column of May 3rd features Martha Stewart. And wow, it is full force Martha.
A Freudian might say you bring classically male ambition to traditionally female pursuits.
I don’t think in a male or female way. I don’t differentiate between male and female. I never have. I’m not considered a feminist.
Why do you say you’re not a feminist?
Do we really need to waste time saying, “I’m a feminist”? I never thought about glass ceilings. I never thought about glass floors. I was thinking about how many pies can I come up with for my pies-and-tarts book. Those are all original ideas.
OK, this is just weird stuff.
First, Martha didn’t actually say she’s not a feminist. She said “I’m not considered a feminist.”
I suspect that may be in part because of this piece in Ms. Magazine, an open letter suggesting that Martha Stewart was targeted by the Justice Department for lying about her insider trading deal because of “a reserve of cultural hostility toward powerful women” at a time when men whose financial misdeeds were far more significant escaped prosecution.
I can understand why Martha might say she’s not considered a feminist, because while the Ms. piece makes a series of excellent points, it does so in a tone that can only be called frosty.
That seems particularly odd given the source. Yes, Martha’s area of expertise may be “domestic perfection,” an area of expertise the founders of Ms. associate with cultural oppression and sexist stereotypes. Martha, however, leveraged that expertise into a position at the head of a massively successful multimedia empire. I would have expected a slightly less, well, bitchy tone in Martha’s defense.
I guess some undercurrent runs between Martha and Ms., but frankly, my pursuit of domestic at-least-it-doesn’t-smell-like-rotten-food-in-here-ness leaves me with limited time to delve any further into that relationship, so let me get back on point.
Second, Martha, you do need to waste time saying you are a feminist. Because you are, and saying so is not a waste of time.
Saying you are a feminist, in fact, if I might be so bold as to suggest, is a Good Thing.™
The problem that had no name? Try the problem that couldn’t find a toe-hold. Occupation: housewife? Try occupation: chairman and CEO of a billion dollar multimedia empire.
You became a stock broker in 1967, a time when women struggled to get credit and loans in their own names. You started a business in your basement that grew into an empire traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Your first book made it onto the New York Times best-seller list. You kick ass and take names.
You don’t see glass ceilings, and you don’t differentiate between men and women, and you DO do windows.
But you, Martha Stewart, are a feminist.
You aren’t every feminist. No woman is. But you are a powerful, successful, driven woman who inspires others to find their bliss and create the lives they want for themselves, and I think there’s room for that definition in the dictionary under feminist.
I wish you’d claim the title for yourself.
I wish you’d cross-stitch it onto a sampler and mount it in an old frame you found at a tag sale.
I wish you’d punch it into a leather belt, then burn it onto a wooden pegboard for hanging belts.
I wish you’d spell it out with leaves and flowers on photo emulsion paper on a sunny day.
I wish you’d bake it in a tart, the most feminist of all baked goods.
You may not consider yourself to be a feminist, Martha, but I do.