Friday, September 21, 2012

'Does this chair make my room look fat?'

I read this article, by Adriana Barton, in yesterday's Globe and Mail.

'...the home is like an extension of the self.  Like body image, it has become a measuring stick for their successes and failings - and a full blown obsession for North American women'

'"The idea is that perfection might be more easily attainable if you buy the right lampshade or vase, but you're never going to achieve the right-shaped [butt].'''

'For women who get caught up in decor obsession, the home is no longer a source of pride but a "source of shame,"'

I don't want to be part of this, the article makes feathering your nest sound so negative, so unbalanced...but I have to admit, it is pretty darn important to me that my home is nice...and I do have a fiddle leaf fig...

Go have a read, and let me know what you think!!  I am off to read the comment section below the online article...


  1. Meh. While I do think it can be taken too far (ie obsessing over whether others will like what your house looks like) I don't think there is anything wrong with being interested in decor and working towards having a house that you love. I mean, this article could have been written about any "stage" the average person goes through. Obsessed with your wedding? Kids? Retirement? Outside of renovations (which are often as much for resale as for me) the decorating of our house still costs less than other hobbies (ahem - golf and motorcycling) that my hubbie has.

  2. I read the article. I think your home is a reflection of yourself.
    In my case, I'm not perfect and neither is my home. I don't obsess over everything, but I do like to have it looking nice and am currently updating things to be less traditional ...which is a further reflection of myself. I am becoming less traditional also - hahaha

  3. Did you read the comments J?

    "Boring women have immaculate houses."
    That's funny!

  4. Haha no I didn't but if I get a chance I will. Guess I'm not boring? Ha.

  5. The article was same old same old. You take a hobby and ridicule it. And commenters, of course, will bash who/whatever the article is about. I can't help but notice, however that these articles are never about how an obsession with hockey signals that men have body issues.

    I don't obsess about my home, but yeah, I do like it to look nice, to be comfortable and welcoming. I like to feel good when I get home from work exhausted. Unfortunately for me (it seems, according to the commenters on the artlcle), the fact that I don't want to live with orange crate bookcases and college dorm furniture makes shallow and vapid. So be it.

    Oh, and I particularly liked the comment stating: Spending a lot on decor is vanity. Better to put that money into better audio/video which brings a lot more joy into your life.. Spoken like a true man, because spending thousands on media components is not vain or materialistic. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't even see the irony in his statement.

  6. That comment was the best Lil!

    I often wonder why decorating is such a wide-spread hobby, bordering on obsession.

    Why now? Is it fair for the article to say "not since the 1950's have women devoted so much attention to [decor]" Is creating a beautiful home a 20-teen's thing, or has the internet, and blogs, brought marketers' awareness to something we have been doing in every decade?

    Anyways, the size of my butt has nothing to do with my decor choices.

  7. I thought the same thing when I saw the article. I have always cared about creating my space, but in the old days I did it badly. I guess with all the resources available now for great and inexpensive ideas, everyone can really pull together a fabulous space. I guess the important thing is why you do it. For me, it's all about putting together a home that suits my family and helps us create a great life. It's not about competing with other people.

  8. I think the article is completely ridiculous: "Some readers may internalize the nasty comments they have seen online. They run the risk of thinking, “If I have an ugly interior, I must be an ugly person,” Dobbins says." That's quite an assumption! In fact, the article is filled with them and it doesn't offer any evidence to back up the claims it's making. I definitely think it's worth exploring what's behind the obsession with home decor, but claiming that women obsess over having a nice house because we can't get rid of our fat asses is ridiculous, insulting and completely sexist.

  9. I was asked to be interviewed for this article and didn't because the idea really rubbed me the wrong way. Why does the media consistently portray a competitive mindset between women? There is always a competition to be a better mother, a better life/work balancer, or a better home decorator than the woman beside you, friend or foe. That hasn't been my experience, at least not in the blog world.

    I found it funny too how most of the "quotes" seemed to be taken from second hand sources (i.e. the notoriously catty comments section of Apartment Therapy). If you want extreme, biased opinions, that's certainly the place to find them.

  10. I am super competitive...but I have to house is not about competing with others AT ALL!

  11. I don't use our interiors to measure self worth ... however, I am done decorating...I am happy with our home.

    I wonder if I would feel insecure about myself if we didn't have the means to make the house beautiful...

    I really doubt it. I can think of 'ME' and 'the house', distinctly. I don't get the two confused.

    However, I am curious as to why there is such a huge love affair between women and their homes.

    I am curious if it has always been this way.

    I wonder if our houses and our decorating will look less dated than the past since we are pouring a ton of energy into creating a space to love forever, and not following every trend. I going off topic here?

  12. The blog world seems to be a very kind and friendly place. Almost like Mr. Rogers neighbourhood or something. People you choose to hang out with, you know? Not people you are stuck everyone who has come together wants to be there, and wants you to be there too.

    Anyways, good for you for declining!

  13. Wow! I don't see it like this at all. And I'm surprised so many people obviously do! I honestly think it has nothing to do with self worth but perhaps more about creating a beautiful environment for their family. I suppose it's different for different people though. I've always been more into the creative, thrifting, building and DIY side of interior design. That's why I like this blog so much! :-)

  14. While I think that some people are obsessed with their homes, I do not believe that we should generalize and conclude that those who care about making an inviting home for their family have issues with their self-estime! That is shortsighted.

  15. NK_StyleingwithChildrenSeptember 21, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Shannon, I skipped the article and read the comments. And let me tell you, those are some nasty ppl commenting! If they call "decorating obsessed" shallow people, what does that make them? Seriously, who in their right mind would write such poison in the comments section. I think when I read them there were 64 comments. At least 55-ish were negative, nasty, and unnecessarily cruel.

    I agree to an extent that "obsessing" is not healthy. But I would say that about anything really. Going to the extreme is never a good thing. BUT there's absolutely nothing wrong with caring about where you live and how you live. And PS. women are wired to nest. It's in our genetics, at least to some extent.

    All this to say, as disillusioned as I've become with design blogs and pinterest pretty pictures, I LOVE working on our home and no amount of nasty comments is going to make me feel like that's not a normal and healthy hobby.

  16. Just read it. I may comment. I read the comments and am appalled at some of them. Yes it can be an obsessive thing. But the article is just a little bit one-sided.

  17. I just skimmed the article because it seemed to be more of that creating some drama to sell some papers. I make no apologies for making my home "me" a priority. I don't feel competitive with others about it - only that I enjoy expressing the creative side of making it in my own style. Does that make me shallow? I don't think so.

    They also seemed to have "discovered" lifestyle blogs and interior design. Good on you, it's only 2012! And as to the 1950's - if there was an internet then, I am sure that it would have been similar.

  18. The article did seem a tad harsh. There is nothing wrong with wanting to strive for a well decorated and orderly space. We all can be a tad obssesive about some thing. I think that there are a few people who do take it to the extreme but, I think whoever they are they are few and far between. Some people are called to be passionate about the home and all the goes with it. Just like others are called to be writers of silly articles. hahahahaha At any rate I think as long as you don't get into the habit of comparing your good. No? I wrote a similar article for a Christian women's online magazine a while back but I was going more for the heart of the home. Maybe you'd like to read it? I don't know. ;) but maybe if you do read it you'll atleast feel better about feathering your nest. I don't know if you do "church" or anything like that but this is just how I feel. Hopefully, you'll be encouraged. I love your blog and I think you do an awesome job in your space. I wouldn't say there is any thing negative about what you do or write about so no worries. I am always inspired after I read your posts. Hope that helps!

  19. Hi WhimCmama!
    I am not sure where your comment went? (Disqus not syncing?)

    I read your article and thought it was beautiful! 5 kids is crazy to me!!

    You are right that competition is where things get ugly!

  20. The comments are pretty nasty! They amuse me...anyone who has strong opinions about how OTHER PEOPLE do things,'s just funny! What ever happened to walking in someone else's shoes?

  21. yup! What's normal and healthy and keeps us sane might seem like a waste of time to other people, but why judge, you know?

  22. Agreed!

    I still want to know why we obsess so much about our home! If I never looked at another blog or pinterest or home mag again - I would still be trying to make things look pretty and organized!

  23. I think that's what the commenters miss!

    Many of us are creating, thrifiting and building to improve our homes...and not just shopping brainlessly because a magazine says we need the latest lampshade or curtain rod.

  24. Yah, I felt like it was a headline grabber...I mean, it was the main page of the lifestyle section!

    I read an article like this, where I know I am one of the women they are referring to, and I wonder if they are on to something...

    In this case? No so much...

  25. oh my, this article is a bit harsh. Making your home beautiful is a passion, its not just a "hobby" and its definitely not a competition.

  26. this article was annoying... people should be able to decorate (or not) their homes if they want too...making it sound like a social problem was absurb.