Occasionally it seems that world is in pure chaos with nothing making sense, but that doesn't matter as long as I can sew. Sewing is a form of art, or at the very least creativity, and a form of expression. A great outlet for the tension of everyday life. Also you can make cute things. The craft revolution is truly taking place, old skills are being revived by a new generation, but with a seriously modern twist.

I've made Mario pillow cases, a giraffe print background, and turned duvet covers into summer dresses. I enjoy making something unique, special, and me- then I like wearing it and watching it fall to pieces or not fit properly. Then I enjoy (slightly less) fixing it.

One day I shall have a room filled with glorious fabrics and boxes of notions, and on that day I will have found my nirvana. But until then this blog will exist as my virtual haberdashery and sewing room. Hopefully you'll enjoy looking at my creations as much as I enjoy looking at other blogs, and you'll be inspire to make something of your own.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Can sewing be feminist?

I suppose another wording for the title might be can feminists sew?   I personally cringe at the idea of prescriptions of what acceptable behaviour for women, usually it's women should be ladylike and subservient/women should take off all their clothes and dance around a pole/women should navigate these two contradictory ideals of womanhood in their own time.  For such a long time sewing and knitting was very much in the domestic sphere and under the designation 'women's work', and as such rendered fairly meaningless.  As Natasha Walter posits in her book 'Living Dolls'* there has been a strong resurgence in biological determinism- that men and women are different due to their biology, we're 'wired' differently and that's all there is to it.  This is bollocks and offers us an extremely narrow set of activities we can and can't engage in.  But with such a strong attitude that crafts and sewing are for women not men, should modern feminists reject such nonsense by rejecting bobbins and the such like? 

The thing is that as a traditional form of women's work sewing, knitting, and crafts were often another chore that a women had to do as her role within the family and home- eg darning socks, knitting baby blankets.  But nowadays women have other reasons to sew- for themselves outrageously enough!  As Gertie from Gertie's New Blog For Better Sewing puts it 'we live in a very exciting time in which feminism, punk DIY aesthetics, and eco-consciouness have converged to create a new crafting movement. And instead of feeling oppressed by sewing and other domestic arts, feminists now often use them as a means of connection to each other and to our creative selves.'

Women can use sewing for practical reasons, that also have a political bent too.  The fashion industry is notoriously horrendous- it's elitist and prescriptive.  It tells us what we should wear but makes it extremely expensive and unobtainable for most people.  Tied up in that is the modelling industry- the models who advertise the clothes represent the apparent pinnacle of beauty that no non-model will ever be able to meet but should spend every second of their lives attempting to.  As this trickles down from high fashion to high street most women find their biggest bug bear is that they can't get a decent pair of trousers to fit as sizes often run small and different shapes are not taken into account.  And here sewing skills can be a vital tool as you can make your own clothes, get a nice pair of slacks, and cut out the influence of the evil fashion industry. 

And lets not forget not all feminists are women, although not nearly enough are men.  Or should I say not nearly enough men are feminists?  Thinking about feminism as something for men and women is so important as the core belief of feminists (or the feminists worth listening to) is in equality for all human beings not focusing on so called 'women's issues'**.  So instead of thinking that women should do or not do women's work, why not feminists should take up crafts as an outlet for their creativity.

*Read it!
**Feminists of the past fought valiantly to bring into force various legal and cultural changes to help women but really 'women's issues' sounds like your lipstick not matching your high heels.

No comments:

Post a Comment