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Frisky Q&A: Emily Matchar, Author of Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing The New Domesticity

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QA Emily Matchar Homeward Bound

One upon a time, the phrase “domestic diva” referred to Martha Stewart and stereotypes of 1950′s housewives. But you may have noticed recently that all your friends are knitting and growing their own kale. Your cousin is raising chickens in her backyard. Your mom is making her own pickles and selling them on Etsy. And everyone is wondering why you aren’t baking your own bread yet.  (“It’s so easy!”)  Congratulations, you have been hit by New Domesticity, an aughties phenomenon in which traditional homemaking tasks experience a revival in the hopes of saving money, eating fresher, improving health, and cutting the government out of your personal life.

Journalist Emily Matchar always loved reading blogs, especially the do-it-yourself (DIY) and homesteading genres. She was surprised to see a lot of middle-class professionals, including Third and Forth Wave feminists (not the likeliest group to embrace washing their laundry by hand), taking on pioneer woman-style chores and calling it a feminist choice. Matchar got curious what was going on. Why would people milk their own cows if they could just buy milk at the store?  Why would parents refuse to vaccinate their children? Were women who quit their jobs to devote themselves full-time to growing nearly all their family’s food could really be serious? Quickly Matchar fell down a rabbit hole where answers only lead to more questions.  There are liberal Earth mamas, conservative Mormon housewives and even some pioneering dudes who read the same blogs about DIY homemaking tips — and they are everywhere. In her new book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing The New Domesticity speaks to a bunch of these folks and paints a fascinating portrait of this new twisty-turn in feminism.

I spoke with Matchar over the phone in Hong Kong, where she is currently living about New Domesticity, traditional gender roles, and the pleasures of breaking your bed. (Apparently, it really is so easy.)  Our conversation, after the jump:

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Frisky Q&A: Ani DiFranco On Patriarchy, Motherhood & “Having It All”

Ani DiFranco interview The Frisky

When I arrived at the basement of the Calvin Theater in Northampton, Massachusetts, I found folk musician Ani DiFranco in the midst of trying to get her six-month-old son Dante down for a nap. Minutes later I spotted the young baby — still very much awake — strapped into a carrier about to head out on a walk. This meshing of work and life happens daily for DiFranco, who is back on the road after having taken some time off to have her second child. Like his sister before him, Dante has joined DiFranco on tour, and the singer has been relearning how to split her time between motherhood and music.

While her son (hopefully) walked his way into a nap, DiFranco and I discussed everything from hitting the road as a mother of two, the notion of “having it all,” her ever-growing relationship with her fans and so much more. Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Patti Stanger From “Millionaire Matchmaker” On Facebook, Rom-Coms And Feminism

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Patti Stanger

I’ve always been a little afraid of “Millionaire Matchmaker” Patti Stanger — not because I think she’ll yell at me and tell me I am doing everything wrong in my relationships (I am. That’s fair), but I am afraid that if I actually took her advice I could possibly live happily ever after (which my therapist and I agree is scarier than falling off the fiscal cliff).

Stanger, who has hosted six seasons of her dating reality show on Bravo is a little frightening in person. She talks incredibly fast. She is also brash and references her lady bits using hand gestures.

She also appears to be aging backwards, which should be scary, but is actually just intriguing. We chatted a little bit to try to unlock the mysteries of dating, love and appearing to be in your twenties forever. Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Adult Film Star Ryan Keely

For all the sex positive writing that I do, I’d never actually talked with someone who worked in the adult entertainment industry for a living. Like a lot of people, I just assumed they all were failed actresses and cokeheads.

That was unfair of me.

Over the summer, I met up with Ryan Keely, an adult film star, Penthouse Pet and Penthouse advice columnist, and an erotic dancer. Ryan, who is originally from Seattle, is as smart as she is beautiful; it’s clear from spending time with her that her heart lies in bringing the joy of sexuality and sensuality to others. Recently, Ryan has been teaching seminars for Porn Star Sex Life, co-founded with Josh Rosenberg, a pick-up artist who created UpYourAttraction.com. I was a little skeptical, too, of Porn Star Sex Life classes. Generally speaking, I think porn gives us stupid role models. The actors and actresses fake great sex and know how to make it look really awesome on screen. Why would we want to emulate that? But Ryan is an approachable educator: she’s had a lot of sex with a lot of partners, both men and women, both onscreen and off, and she is ashamed of nothing. “What it takes to be a porn star is you want to explore your sexuality,” she told me. “The people that are in this industry for the right reasons are people are want to take sex to the next level. We’re sexual athletes.”

I walked away from an afternoon of cake and milk with Ryan thinking, “Damn, I want this girl to be my best friend and I want to sleep with her.” After the jump, Ryan opens up about why missionary is the best sex position for women, her stance on sex positive feminism, why she hates KY Jelly, and her one-woman campaign to bust sexual taboos! Keep reading »

Frisky Q&A: Bryan Batt, AKA Salvatore Romano On “Mad Men”

Bryan Batt photo

It would be easy to hate Bryan Batt.

He breathes the same air as Jon Hamm, playing the closeted gay art director Salvatore Romano on “Mad Men.” He counts Christina Hendricks and Jane Krakowski from “30 Rock” among his besties. And you wouldn’t know it from “Mad Men,” but this Louisiana native has the dreamiest thick Southern accent.

But how could you hate someone who is just so darn nice? Bryan profusely apologized for playing phone tag with me because he was busy taking care of his elderly mom (aww!) and then generously chatted from the back room of the home furnishings store, Hazelnut, he owns in uptown New Orleans with his partner of 20+ years, Tom Cianichi. Can you say “down-to-earth”?

After the jump, find out if Bryan thinks Sal will ever return to “Mad Men,” what it was like playing Lumiere the candlestick on Broadway’s “Beauty & The Beast,” and how he felt seeing Jon Hamm’s handsome mug for the first time. (Answer: amazing.) Keep reading »

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