Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sick Obsession with HGTV:

Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted. Life is tripping on. I've discovered, to my shock, that the days I teach are way better than the weekends or the days I have off for holiday. Who would have thought? But the kids make me laugh and I do get a break from Evan. That's priceless.

Other than teaching and caretaking, I've spent a frightening amount of time watching HGTV. (That's the Home and Gardens channel, for those of you who are HGTV virgins.) House Hunters, Designed to Sell, Curb Appeal. What can I say, I'm obsessed with these programs. There's something riveting about watching people make unattractive spaces beautiful. Or find wonderful homes after living in something they hate.

I have mixed feelings about this strange interest I have in HGTV. On the one hand, there are positives. I keep the house cleaner and actually make the bed more when I watch HGTV. I care more about having a nicer home environment. On the other hand, it makes me avaricious. I want stainless steel appliances! I want a house with a view! I want up to date and stylish furnishings!

While my HGTV inspired interest in taking care of my house is probably a good thing, I can't help but wonder.... why? Is it truly more ethical to keep your house tidy and attractive than not? Why do RS leaders like to talk about the moral imperative of keeping an orderly house? Isn't it really just a matter of preference? Don't some people work better (or just as well) in messy spaces? And do programs like the ones above ultimately play into our materialistic and consumeristic impulses?

You can see my ambivalence. I love watching spaces transform from ugly to beautiful. But I can't help but wonder if the time and expense spent on such things is ultimately worthless, decadent, and entirely superficial.


Blogger m.m. said...

i'm obsessed with HGTV also! too bad i only get to watch it when i go to my parents. TLC has some great shows, too!

2/13/2008 9:51 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

I know. I just start feeling discontent when I browse the internet forever looking at how people redesign their living spaces. I have to distance yourself from it frequently when it starts making me unhappy with what I have.

However, someday I will be able to and will want to do some interior designing--when we have a home and the monetary resources. I do think there is a balance and that wanting to improve your own home is worth it if your motivations are in the right place. And if it isn't all-consuming or ruining your marriage.

2/14/2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

I meant "I have to distance myself from it"

2/14/2008 10:22 AM  
Blogger Lucy said...

I l.o.v.e HGTV. I can spend a whole Saturday from morning to night just watching that channel. I'm addicted. Is that a bad thing?

2/15/2008 5:53 PM  
Blogger Jesse said...

Just a general thought. I don't know that clean and messy, beautiful vs. not are the only meaningful dichotomies. Good design can make a huge difference in a home, but it needs the right focus. Designs can be energy efficient or not, encourage interaction, equality, etc. They affect how you feel in an area, how people interact, how you spend your time at home, etc. I haven't watched the shows, Bekah says its a whole channel, so I can't say much about it. I usually try to make it work with what I can find in the dumpsters or at garage sales, with mixed results, as Bekah can attest.

2/19/2008 4:14 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

mm and lucy, Glad I'm not the only HGTV addict here!

Brooke, I think you're right that balance is key. I'm not sure I have the best motivations, though, if what I'm after is good looking and cool. :)

Jesse, good point about environmental motivations. One future project I do have in mind is to add solar panels to my roof.

2/19/2008 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Leena said...

Don't you fear that one day your son will read all this and be hurt by your constant expression of how you hate being around him? Once you post anything on line, it never goes away, even if you want it to.

2/25/2008 12:13 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Well "hate" is a bit strong. I don't recall using that word. But I really am not at all worried about him reading these things on my blog. He'll understand. How could he not? He'll get tired of his younger siblings, no doubt. He'll see how hard it is to be around young kids for several hours at a time. And when he has his own kids, he'll totally understand.

2/25/2008 6:58 AM  
Blogger alise said...

I like your response to "Leena." Wonder if she has any kids? I've always loved your honesty, and completely understand where you're coming from. And how much you love your little E even when he's beastly! :)

I have the same addictions with Coastal Living magazine. Everything looks so peaceful and beautiful. But, all the homes are expensive coastal cottages. I try to do the best with what I have. I know exactly how you feel.

3/05/2008 5:39 PM  
Blogger John (with an h) said...

Ever met a 16-year-old who wanted to spend every waking moment with his parents? Hmmmm?

As E gets older, he'll want a break from "the madwoman who is my mother." And that'll be the actual sad day.

3/06/2008 12:44 PM  

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