Domestic Divas Wanted

Posted By:  Liz Goodrich
Date Posted:  1/31/2006

Join University of Oregon Assistant Professor, Mary Anne Beecher for a program titled “Martha Stewart and the Tradition of Domestic Advice,” on March 1, 2006 at 6:30 p.m. in the Brooks Room of the Bend Public Library. This program is free and open to the public.

Beecher, an instructor of Architecture who has a background in interior design, has always been fascinated by the relationship between design and culture. Her research includes examinations of historical and modern interior environments. Beecher has written a history of domestic storage in the American middle-class house and has published articles on the cultural meaning(s) of Martha Stewart.

According to Beecher, Martha Stewart falls into the long tradition of domestic advice that began with the publication of several manuals in the late 1880’s. The authors of the manuals, all women, including the founder of the field of home economics at MIT, addressed more than modern housekeeping. They promoted the ideas of patriotism, family life and the moral character of the home. Beecher says that the key to successful housekeeping, no matter the time period, is the ability to organize.

Beecher says that today’s domestic goddesses both inspire and annoy. Beecher admires Martha Stewart for her ability to inspire. “She helps her ‘followers’ recognize the importance of the details in their surroundings and in everyday life.” Beecher believes, “She demonstrates ways in which beauty in one's surroundings can make a difference.” Beecher also acknowledges the annoyance factor. “They annoy due to the fact that they often appear to excel in all realms of the domestic. And we’ve seen Martha’s staff enough to know that she doesn’t really do her own gardening and cooking.”

During her presentation, Beecher will consider how Martha Stewart fits into, transcends, or unravels the perceptions of American domesticity. For information about this or other library programs, please call 312-1032.

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