Salt and Pepper, Jam and Toast, Furnishings and Feminism
The quest for gender equality brought with it a quest for independence and the freedom to choose. There is no doubt that we have come a long way. Women can today vote, study, work, and do pretty much anything under the sun. However, this does not mean the war has been won. Some battles might have but the war is a long way from being over. Take the domestic sphere, for instance, which harbors a bunch of microaggressions directed towards women.
Home is supposed to be a safe and sacred space. For many women even today, though, it is not a space of complete freedom. Expectations and compromises follow them everywhere. This is where home decor and interior design comes into the picture. It serves as a way for women to establish autonomy at home.
Art Imitates Life
Decor plays an integral role in both, reflecting and influencing the nuances of the feminist movement. The impact of feminist discourse has led to women changing the way they dress themselves as well as their homes. Trend forecaster Nancy Fire observes how colours, textiles and even shapes of home decor and furnishings are in the midst of a transformation. We are moving towards homes embracing femininity - rounder shapes (as opposed to geometric masculinity), and millennial pinks and lavenders (instead of your usual monochromes).
Of course, there is nothing inherently feminine or masculine about shapes or colours. Take the colour pink, for instance. Pink - the “girly” colour - was earlier associated with boys. So while colours, textures, and shapes have no gender, we cannot simply deny culture’s role.
It’s time to break free!
Geometric or round, pink or blue, everyone should feel free to choose whatever their heart yearns for, regardless of the cultural perceptions. According to Canadian designer Brendan Shwartz, “More single women are contacting me and they’re forging ahead with their plans. There’s no longer a feeling that they’re waiting around.”
It’s more than just about the aesthetics though
The very skeleton of what makes a house a home is changing. With the third wave of feminism involving a steady steer away from traditional domestic hegemonies, joint families (and even nuclear families) are giving way to, for the lack of a better term, single person families. There is a return to the individual as a unit. More and more women are living alone now without being cast out of society as a “spinster”! It appears that the popular idea of what is normal is coming to include, even value, solitude.
This is where our immediate spaces come into the picture: they give us the ability to be unapologetically ourselves.
With independent living arrangements comes a change in the way decor is perceived and approached. The home, today, isn’t just a space for women to serve others. Instead it is a space for us to serve ourselves.
Now that decor has come incredibly close to fashion with its ability to soar beyond mere utility, to function as a medium of uninhibited self expression, it holds within itself an immense potential for empowerment. Spaces provide us with agency.
With potential for women, men, and non binary individuals to choose for themselves. To celebrate their ideas, their interests, and their values. Their raison d'être. Your raison d'être.
The sky is the limit. Does the colour yellow make your heart sing? Well, you have a myriad walls to play with. Perhaps you find your truth in books. A reading nook! Enjoy nature but live in a city? An abundance of indoor plants. Have a hectic job and want to be able to come back to a soothing space? Make your space Zen. Or perhaps Japandi.
Your home is essentially a blank slate, and you have the opportunity to make your dreams come true and choose the life you want for yourself. To go along with your whims, no questions about it! Be a little selfish! You’re the star of the show and it’s your call now. Whoever may or may not stand by your side, your home will always be there. So go forth and make it a sanctuary.
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