Here's the thing: we did mess up an entire generation (at the very least) by removing home economics from school. In this post-home economics, post-modern world, there is at least one generation that doesn't know how to sew, cook, or keep house. Dowdle's article focused on nutrition and how learning basic cooking skills go hand-in-hand with basic nutrition. Intriguing to say the least.
I got to thinking about my own middle school and high school experiences and the home economics classes offered. In the 7th grade, I signed up for home ec, but one of my mom's friends talked me out of it because she wanted me to take yearbook of which she was the teacher.
"You don't need that stuff. Your grandma can teach you how to cook and sew," she told me one afternoon before school started.
And, in some ways she was right. I was lucky enough to have a mom, grandma and great aunts who taught me to clean, cook, bake and sew. They also tried to teach me to garden, but somehow that didn't "stick." I probably failed, if not then, certainly now.
After my 8th grade year, home economics was removed from our middle school/high school campus. That was 1990, folks. And it was removed because there was very little interest in the class, and that had been the case nationwide for a decade. So it makes sense that schools would get rid of an unwanted program for something in demand like computer skills or even art.
But it's sad and I think Dowdle's right when she says "we lost out on something important." Yes, those girls and boys who opted out of home ec, whose schools didnt' offer home ec or whose mother or grandmother didn't teach her home ec skills, lost out not only on learning those skills but also on passing them down to their own daughters and sons. Think about that for a minute.
If Molly didn't receive any cooking, sewing or baking training from school or home, now that she's grown up with a daughter of her own, Susie, she can't even teach Susie how to do the things she didn't learn to do. And unless Susie learns those skills in school she won't be able to pass it down to her children. Can you say "microwave ready" or "heat-and-eat"? Well Molly and Susie know those words well because unless they teach themselves to cook by watching you-tube videos (how else do you learn how to do something in the 21st century?) that's all they'll ever know how to cook.
As for feminism and sexism, please, I don't have the time or energy to discuss that in this blog. But let me say this, cooking, cleaning, baking, sewing and caring for children are basic skills that both genders should learn. My husband knows how to sew. Does that make him less of a man? No. If anything, it makes him manlier because he doesn't need his mommy or his wife to do it for him. (though I am happy to hem his pants or patch his jacket)
So, leave sexism in the 20th century and bring back home ec.