Anarchist Housewife: The Kit

featured image from Small Indulgences

Welcome to Autostraddle Kits, a new series where we tell you all the stuff you need to be or do a thing you want to be or do. Lesbian Activist? Heartbreaking DJ? Wanton Sex Goddess? Food Historian? Sort of like if Amazon’s Listmania and Amazon’s “So You’d Like to Be A…” had a same-sex marriage and then had a baby. It’s like a playlist, but for all of your senses!

Got a request for a kit? ASS me!

Anarchist Housewife Kit


The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City

Okay, I don’t know that you live in a city. Maybe you own an entire anarchist collective in the rural countryside of Vermont. But assuming that you’re more of a Brooklyn-based anarchist housewife, this has got you covered as far as a green life that’s off the grid and self-sufficient. Gardening? Food foraging? City composting? Urban chickens? URBAN CHICKENS.

I Like Food, Food Tastes Good

This will live on in my heart and my cookbook collection as the book that allowed me to cook the same meal that John Darnielle makes for his wife when he comes home from tour. That is punk rock as fuck.

Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt

Are you sad about not being allowed to wear your favorite Black Flag shirt to the office? Me too. But they can’t stop you from carrying your lunch in in your homemade Black Flag tote bag. And then going out to the bar that night in your homemade Misfits halter top, and waking up the next morning to make muffins with your Rancid apron. It’s a good life.

The Anarchist Cookbook

Okay, so this one might be a little “too real.” It’s true that it’s kind of extreme (homemade explosives!), and that the author has since tried to have it removed from circulation. It seems remiss, though, to go about being an ANARCHIST HOUSEWIFE without taking a look. You never know.

Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution

I don’t know, this just seemed like something you should have.

Yarn Bombing: The Art of Crochet and Knit Graffiti

The worst part about Saturday afternoons is choosing between some leisurely tagging or knitting a sock. Well, this is 2011 and you’re a bad bitch, so you don’t have to choose!

Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design

The best part about being an anarchist, housewife, or anarchist housewife is that you have your shit on lock; when it comes to making dinner, fixing your bike, or creating and sustaining a community, you don’t need any patriarchal governing structures to take care of you. DIY is the logical conclusion to everything you care about; why not get the best book on it?

Reusable Menstrual Pads and DivaCup

I’m not gonna say that tampons are The Man. But I’m not not gonna say it.

The Naturally Clean Home: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning

If you’ve ever felt a little squicky about putting chemicals that you have to wear rubber gloves just to use all over the surfaces that you, your family, and your pets touch every day, then maybe this is for you! I mean really look at that cover, don’t you want that to be your kitchen? Don’t you wish that government safety grades functioned in a way that had a meaningful impact on our health and safety?

EcoBeauty: Scrubs, Rubs, Masks, and Bath Bombs

BATH BOMBS. SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE. Anyways see above, sometimes rubbing chemicals into your pores is weird. Also, expensive! Gross, expensive things are not punk rock. Those chicks with the cucumber situations on their faces: clearly punk rock.

Marilyn Tall and Slim Cocktail Shaker

I don’t know, I just thought this might be a nice thing to have while you’re watching Rachel Maddow and working on your plan for the revolution. You could make a molotov cocktail! Just kidding that doesn’t require a shaker, but it was worth a shot.

Espresso machine, tamper and milk pitcher.

The total cost for this is roughly $115, which means for the price of about 33 Starbucks lattes you are instead able to have INFINITY lattes for LIFE. If that’s not punk rock, I don’t know what is. Fuck you, Starbucks. (Love you forever, underpaid and overworked Starbucks baristas.)

Subversive Cross Stitch or, for the less handicraft-inclined, this person’s etsy shop!

There are a lot of things you need to get off your chest. Things about The Man, about your ex-girlfriend, about your mom. Get them out in painstaking cross-stitch form! Because nothing says MAKE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY SEX TOYS NOT WAR like a cross-stitch that spells out all those letters in order and then is framed above your bed.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Okay Rachel, I might be in love with you.

    As an unemployed 22 year old living in my parents’ house in my childhood bedroom and feeling pretty bad about it, I’ve been looking for ways to be creative/get inspired/stop feeling like a lump of poo. Everything in this post makes me want to clean my room (so I can actually see/sit on my floor, clearly the first step to all fabulous creative endeavors) and begin my life following my true calling as an anarchist housewife.

    THANK YOU. (I’m going to email you photos of my subversive cross stitching projects when they are done.)

  2. THAT IS. MY ESPRESSO MACHINE. Previously mentioned in my sleep-deprivation fueled comment that was about why I’m so jazzed for living in my dorm.

    I knew I did something right.

  3. Subversive cross stitcher represent. My previous deeds include works like “If you want to have breakfast in bed, go sleep in the kitchen” and “This is not ‘Nam. There are rules here.” I’m currently working on “I used to want to change the world, now I just want to leave the room with a little dignity”. It’s a Justin Vivian Bond quote from Shortbus that I’m embroiding to get to grips with the shitload of feelings that I have about my thesis.

      • Moos is more into my home made cupcakes, at the moment. However, I will make him something atrocious to wear come Christmas. 8-)

        But seriously, I encourage you to pick up subversive embroidery. It’s is SO liberating to make a piece of fabric say “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’ and hang it somewhere in your house/room. It’s really not difficult and there’s tons of prefab patterns online.
        Here’s a Flickr group with great examples.
        Here’s a bunch of different fonts you can use to spell out things you’d want to write. It’s a bit of a pain in the bum to work with, but it works and it’s free. :)

          • If you make Moos a subversive winter solstice sweater I will be so happy you have no idea. Eyeliner kitty + sweater = pure happiness (not to mention about 45% of what I post to tumblr.)


          no but seriously you are bad ass for making these and thanks for posting helpful links :)

  4. a) This is the GREATEST idea for a recurring feature on this site!
    b) Rachel, thank you so much for writing my Amazon Christmas list for Chrismakkah. It’s September and I don’t have a job, so I basically live from Christmas to birthday and many of these things are things I really need.
    c) Closely related to the Anarchist Housewife is the Post-Apocalyptic Housewife, who brews her own beer, cans her own pickles, and kills her own looters. Kit List?

    • yes to Post-Apocalyptic Housewife. Maybe we can just call it Post-Zombie Apocalypse Kit, so that they aren’t all housewife themed?

  5. “Those chicks with the cucumber situations on their faces: clearly punk rock.”

    That made me ugly laugh.

    And also now I think I want to cross-stitch in addition to binding books (which could also be used for anarchist purposes, I suppose. I already wrote and bound my own manifesto, not in a “after I martyr myself the world will find my manifesto and see the light” kind of way, but in a “this was a school assignment but it still kicked ass” kind of way).

  6. Last year before I started college we were out roaming the town to get to know it a little better and we were browsing through a small local bookstore and I actually found a copy of the anarchist cookbook!

  7. Tampons are kind of the man. And my Divacup is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me, especially with cloth pads as backup. Cloth pads are like a little soothing fleecy hug for your poor bleeding sad vag, especially if you are one of those people who never has a happy period.

    (and yes, I said that, don’t judge me).

    Also, I’m now buying that cookbook for my sis for her bday. I was going to knit her a hat but that cookbook is better.

  8. divacup = punk rock! seriously they’re the shit. and also, tampons are the man, eff paying for pussyplugs every month. also also WAY LESS CRAMPS with the divacup than with tampons in my experience and that of my friends i’ve convinced to switch.

  9. Holy shit, this whole post has me grinning like a madwoman! Those cupcakes! My inner 16-year-old is flailing with glee!

    Seriously, this is a really fun post and a great idea for a recurring feature on the site. I just added all those books to my Paperback Swap want list (trading books is better than buying them, especially if you’re poor!). I can’t cross-stitch or knit because of my disability, but I still want to get excited and make things, as Warren Ellis says.

  10. I love this article!

    Some of the chemical recipes in the Anarchist Cookbook have flaws that can make them dangerous to try to make, so be careful with that one! You can download it online for free, too.

  11. Bhahahah, I loved this. I need me some subversive cross stitching.

    Also, may I request a zombie survival kit please?

  12. I peruse this website on occasion and it’s cool to see anarchism represented here but… this list is pretty damn bourgeois, and frankly it made me cringe. For one thing, why would anyone be an anarchist HOUSEWIFE? That’s such an archaic gender role and I don’t think anyone who is really a committed anarchist would participate in the state’s institutional appropriation of romance (ie. marriage)… and okay I get it, maybe it’s tongue-in-cheek and intentionally oxymoronic, but it still seems like it reinscribes the status quo in order to strip anarchism of its subversive connotations and make it a safe, trendy, superficial commodity. Then the list proceeds to do more or less exactly that, and other than a couple items is indistinguishable from the Yuppie Cabin in Rural Vermont Survival Kit. A fucking espresso machine and a cocktail shaker? Really??? Who has $115 to spend on a redundant piece of machinery, and why is the opportunity cost phrased in Starbucks lattes?! What kind of anarchist shops at a multinational corporation which doesn’t even serve fair trade coffee? Oh right, the same one who listens to the Misfits, wears Converse and uses an iPhone, and has never heard of Emma Goldman or Peter Kropotkin or even Crass. This list basically just recommends DIY books. Why should I go BUY a DIY book? That’s antithetical to the DIY ethic! This is the INTERNET. You can post tutorials and DIY instructions on here, for FREE! I’m not saying anarchists shouldn’t buy books, far from it, but I would not spend money on ANY of the books on this list because I turn to the internet for that reason. Why aren’t there any books on this list by noteworthy anarchists, about ANARCHISM?!?! Punk rock and a DIY ethic ≠ anarchism. I agree they go hand in hand, are informed by one another, etc, but that doesn’t make them interchangeable ideas and this list conflates them IMO. Also it didn’t include any ANARCHO-punk bands, just hardcore and riot grrrl bands, what’s up with that? riot grrrl is a great movement, don’t get me wrong, but it is NOT affiliated with anarchism whatsoever. Also this list is so depoliticized, and totally does not engage with the social activism that is an integral component to anarchism. It is a list of items that mostly don’t relate to anarchism, and uses anarchism as a trendy buzzword to attract attention from vaguely Leftist readers who think they can buy Anarchy in a store and consider themselves to be radicals because they made their own avocado face moisturizer once. Basically, it seems like a consumerist cooptation of the anarchism.

  13. all the anarchists in the house say FUCK THE POLICE!!!!
    or are there just liberals in here?

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