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Topic: Feminism and embroidery?  (Read 6092 times)
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youlittlerabbit
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2005 03:16:03 PM »

This is an awesome thread. I definitely believe in reclaiming crafts which have been long looked down upon and devalued as "only women's work," when the craftwork women have been doing for centuries is awesome!!

And I agree with the notion that sexist bullshit comes from women as well as men, and that men can be comlete allies in feminist work.

I wish I could embroider while simultaneously reading bell hooks. hmmmm..... Smiley
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artgeek
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2005 09:09:01 PM »

Quote
With one exception, and this frightens me the most. The people who tend to be the most judgemental of my hobbies, the most scathing and condescending, are other woman.
I've found this, too.  I've also found that the people who are most critical of feminism are women.  ("We can drive and vote, what more do you want?")  I come from a family of feminists, four of whom are male (and one of whom is a cat, but I'm sure he shares the viewpoint).  It upsets me when I find that girls can be really unsisterly.
I used to get very annoyed by women who distanced themselves from feminism, but reaped all the rewards of other women's struggle. I've come to grudgingly understand that this is just a reaction to the negative stereotype associated with the word "feminist" and do what I can to combat it by proudly calling myself a feminist, while not living up to myth of the angry, bra-burning feminist. Partly, I believe, this is done by encouraging, as you have, the idea that men can also be feminists. I know I married one! Cheesy

Chelsea, I think you had a lot of great ideas in your post and am encouraged to hear someone else say that they don't mind the male-female distinctions, just the way each is valued. I even like that some things are seen as masculine/feminine, the idea of learning crafts that occupied my great-grandmother and my great-great grandmother before her. I just think that anyone who expresses an interest in an activity, regardless of gender they are or the activity is usually associated with, should be encouraged.

@absentmindedfan - Your point about women traditionally expressing themselves through their needlecrafts also reminded me that Elaine Reichek, the artist I mentioned in my original post, also did a video collage of images of women in film sewing/crocheting/embroidering. The whole piece really expressed how those crafts not only gave women time to express themselves, but also time to have their own thoughts--that a woman quietly stitching away in the corner isn't necessarily the passive form she's assumed to be, she could be having any number of devious or subversive thoughts! Wink

@hiD - So glad I was of some help! I've had that same experience and it's so neat to literally "buzz" when you come across a compatible idea!
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youlittlerabbit
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2005 11:54:46 AM »

[
I used to get very annoyed by women who distanced themselves from feminism, but reaped all the rewards of other women's struggle.

amen!
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quack
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« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2005 04:23:23 PM »

My mom was a single mother. I grew up in a house full of women, my mother, her mother, and my two sisters. We were all creative and crafty, with sewing and cooking and artwork having major places in our lives. I grew up to be far more feminist and much less girly than most of my peers, many of whom never made anything more creative than a book report. So I guess I never really considered crafting to be any sort of statement or qualifier. It just...was.

The only time I've considered a craft to be "uncool" was when I didn't think that the fruits of those labors fit my style. Since finding Craftster of course I've discovered that crochet can make adorably awesome toys, knitting can make unbelievably cool clothes, cross-stitch can be something other than bunnies and butterflies and psalms.

I used to not declare myself as a feminist, partially because I didn't want to be associated with the vocal minority of man haters (much like many Christians don't label themselves as such to distance themselves from the fundamentalists). But also partially because I didn't feel I was a feminist...I didn't just want women to have the same rights as men I wanted us to all have the right to do whatever we pleased and to not be judged before we'd even had the chance to try. I, like others have already said in this thread, didn't agree that feminism should mean that women abandon all things associated with the female sex and be like the men. To me that says that the male things are better than the female which defeats equality entirely. We're made to feel like we're bad feminists somehow if we want children or want to get married or like so-called chick flicks or, heaven forbid, enjoy sewing and cooking and finding new recipes for homemade cleaners. (I freely admit my love of baking soda and vinegar, damnit.) But then I don't like labeling myself to fit any group anyway, and prefer to just be what I am instead of what fits easily into people's little boxes that they keep inside their heads.

I must say the essay at Getcrafty.com was a very big deal to me when I read it because it put into words a lot of things that I had thought about but never really formed fully in my head.

We women do tend to be our worst enemies. I've often gotten along better with guys and had them less shocked at my interests than other women.

I think this is a bit scrambled because I just can't seem to wrap my mind around all of what I want to say. But it will do for now.
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typicalblonde
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2006 05:20:11 PM »

Quote
I used to get very annoyed by women who distanced themselves from feminism, but reaped all the rewards of other women's struggle. I've come to grudgingly understand that this is just a reaction to the negative stereotype associated with the word "feminist"

Tell me about it! If we ever get onto the subject of feminism my flatmates often say, paired with a look of disgust, 'i hate feminists.' And it pisses me off so much. If it wasn't for women pushing forward for equality, we wouldn't even be at uni studying the female writers we do! (I do english.) I remember reading a quote by a rather prominent feminist (sorry can't remember who) saying that a feminist is defined as someone who believes in social and economic rights for both men and women equally. Who can argue with that? I don't see 'also burns their bra' tagged on the end there....

And just to steer my post in an actual craft related way, most of my at-home friends (rather than uni) love the fact i embroider, and especially jenny hart's amazing patterns, but I admit I would feel a bit nervous about a reaction at uni. x

P.S Sorry this thread hasn't been written in for a while but it's an interesting topic and something I feel passionately about Smiley
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plumpie
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2006 07:44:45 AM »

Lots of very smart people have made great points about feminism here, so I won't go back over that.  I have one thing to add to the conversation.  Do what makes you happy and contributes to the quality of your life and the lives of the people you care about.  If it's cooking, cleaning, sewing, embroidering, crocheting and knitting then so be it and don't worry about other people's perceptions of you.  Anybody who tries to tell you that you're wrong, not cool, etc for doing "feminine" things is projecting their own bullshit (am I allowed to say bullshit on this forum?) on to you.  Feminism is about choices..it's your life, it's your choice, DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!


a woman quietly stitching away in the corner isn't necessarily the passive form she's assumed to be,

You have no idea how true this is.  I ran across this cross stitch sampler at the Victoria and Albert Museum online the other day:

http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/furniture/object_stories/sampler/index.html

It was done by a young woman in 1813 who felt very hopeless about her situation in life and she used her craft to SHOUT her anger across the ages. It blows wide open the picture we have of the 17th century woman happily sitting in a corner embroidering flowers, living a life of quiet desperation.
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artgeek
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2006 05:26:44 PM »

Thanks for the link, plumpie.

Also reminded me of a pair of embroidered bloomers in the permanent collection of the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Apparently the maker was in some sort of psychiatric care facility and used the only materials available to her (the cloth of her underwear and thread from her socks) to tell her story. Really an intense statement about the power of artistic expression and an individual's reaction to being powerless.

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Recently completed:  a set of Ani Difranco kitchen towels  |   Currently taking up my craft desk:  massive reorganization of my stuff
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