So my History of Women in the American West class and my History of Sexualities class are providing a lot of overlap. Both can be a little emotionally overwhelming, and it took me until yesterday to realize part of the reason why that is: the subculture of my upbringing hasn't changed much. To be more accurate, being raised a female Mormon in a tiny town of the Rocky Mountain West bore an uncanny resemblance to the experience of women in the West a few hundred years ago. The detail that wrenches my stomach into knots is the roles women choose/chose in order to insure some measure of safety and prove their value to men and the community are all methods I attempted to employ in my coming-of-age/figuring-out-what-it-is-to-be-a-woman phase that only seems to be reaching some semblance of conclusion in the past few years.
The Cult of Domesticity is a particularly uncomfortable concept for me because I feel I'm only beginning to escape it and have a lot of accompanying anxiety about what it means to shrug off the limited social protection and respect afforded the "right" kind of girls. But I am also finally beginning to understand why feminism might not be so attractive to women who base their sense of safety, desirability and even humanity on concepts of domesticity.