How to Break the Chains We Live In


With chainsaws, of course!

I’ve been waiting to showcase Kelly Reemtsen’s artwork. These oil paintings of women and their garden tools exemplifies a new kind of cult of domesticity, one that is ever evolving.

Reemtsen is a Los Angeles based artist who uses traditional oil paintings to depict the revolutionary ideas of women. In this gallery, women are drawn without faces. Just their hands, their traditional garment of clothing, and a hand tool. Let me tell you why these paintings are so ever amazing.

The women are STILL in the cult of domesticity. The hand tools aren’t for construction, or lumbering, or electrical wiring. These are garden tools, and the garden is still a part of the home. This changes everything. Usually when society stereotypes women, we see baby bottles and mixing spoons, not hedge clippers and chain saws. Why not stereotype women now as being ones that work in the garden now instead of the kitchen?

Women are no longer bonsai trees being trimmed for society. They trim the hedges now.

I think it’s important to know that someone, somewhere in the world, still believes in the suppression of women. Whether it’s on Youtube or out heckling in the street, there will always be men who feel as if women are property and should be taken advantage of, and women who believe in being a housewife for a career. Although I have no problem with stay-at-home moms, I feel as though they are limited at what they would want to do. Of course, I know many stay-at-home moms who thoroughly enjoy what they do and legitimately make it work for them. Southern belles now turned housewives are still actively participating in their community and government, and I respect that.

But is it really time to stay put? The garden is an extension of what women are used to be caged in. What are the chains that hold us back from the rest of the world? Why are we held back?

I follow a lot of backpacking blogs. I am an avid hiker, and I absolutely adore the wilderness. My parents not so much. My father loves trimming bonsai plants and my mom, although not a stay-at-home mom, has every aspect a housewife has. I feel so limited when I’m at home and washing the dishes while my brother romps off onto daily adventures. I have assumed almost every responsibility of this house, and I feel afraid to disregard them.

Basically, what I’m trying to say, is that I have a fear of chaos. I feel like women all have a certain innate fear of losing control of their homes. I can’t enjoy a good time with friends if I know that the laundry hasn’t been done, or the dog hasn’t been fed, or it the mildew stain in the bathroom still hasn’t been scrubbed off yet. I panic at the thought that plans won’t go the way they’re planned if I don’t carefully outline every step of the way, or if I didn’t prepare for a hike we would all die.

I think that’s why my friends call me Mama Lee. Sometimes, what you’re good and what you want are entirely different. And what you’re good at is also your instinct as a person. I want to drop everything and backpack across Wyoming But I can’t because I have to think about the responsibilities I’m leaving behind. Will my parents get along with me gone? Is my brother going to succumb to peer pressure at school now that I’ve left? Will my family take good care of my dog’s allergies and make sure he’s okay? I worry a lot, and that’s what’s keeping me back.

It’s a wonder why God made women so worry-some and men so ostentatious. Worrying about your responsibilities definitely hinders yourself from taking risks in life. And it becomes a handicap toward adventure. In my bio, I said that my generation is to live up to age 98. That’s too long of a time to stay at home and predict the mold growing on refrigerated food. So it’s not about fearing the outside world. For us women, or for me especially, it’s about the fear of leaving the world you once lived in, all alone.