by Leah Sottile
Name: Miranda Hale
By day: Adjunct English professor at North Idaho College, indie-music nerd, Inlander contributor
What gets her motor running: DIY, that's do-it-yourself for all you consumerists out there. Her main focus: The Pleiades, a zine where she publishes her innermost thoughts, frustrations and indulgences for all to ponder. She's a knitter/sewer/crafter extraordinaire-ess.
No permission slip required: "I was first introduced to the DIY ethic during high school, through zines. I was incredibly excited by the idea that anyone could make a zine and send it out into the world. You didn't have to get permission from anyone! You could, literally, do it all yourself. From zine culture and self-publishing in general, I learned about other aspects of the DIY ethic, like crafts."
Feminism and domesticity are friends: "I had previously always dismissed such things as useless relics of the past, and as a symbol of everything I wanted to avoid as a intelligent feminist. But I suddenly realized that crafts could be a powerful tool for both self-expression and fighting the mainstream culture that equated constant consumption of goods with happiness."
Don't BE Mrs. Cleaver - remember her: "I do think that domestic activities can most definitely express or create new forms of feminism, but that we have to be extremely careful that we're doing these activities with a balance between respect for what was once considered 'women's work' and a critical, thoughtful eye toward how we can embed these activities within a new feminism without compromising what feminism, at its most basic, stands for: protecting the rights of all women to live free and self-actualized lives. Yes, these activities can be exciting ways for young women to express themselves and unite with other women, and that's awesome and has great potential. But we have to make sure not to forget that these activities were once oppressive and required for many women, and we must be sure not to thoughtlessly glamorize the past."
That said: "Get out there and be crafty and domestic and create and do it yourself, but just be sure to analyze what you're doing and why you're doing and how it relates to and fits into the context of women's pasts."
Publication date: 1/27/05