I am a feminist. It is a title that I wear with pride, and I wish that all women (and men too) wore the title with pride. I’ve been very sad to see feminism be a word that is vilified from within my community – I’ve seen other caring, creative, supportive, smart female sewists be ashamed to be called feminists and shame others who call themselves feminists. As Rebecca West said “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” I personally love Caitlin Moran‘s “5 Rules of Feminism: 1) Women are equal to men. 2) Don’t be a dick. 3) That’s all.”
Feminism is something that I have thought a lot about in the last few years. I was raised by a self-described feminist mom who taught me that I could do whatever I wanted to do and that my gender shouldn’t get in the way. I eventually went to graduate school in biochemistry where most of my labmates, most of my professors, my mentor, and all of my thesis committee were men – and there were definitely times when I saw and experienced women being treated differently. I did what I could to fight it and others clearly saw me as a feminist.
And now I design sewing patterns for a living and often get the opposite reaction. I’ve been shamed for leaving science for a “womanly” career – as if, because I have “real” career experience it is my duty as a feminist to stay in that career path. As if sewing is easy and designing patterns doesn’t take math, engineering, spatial abilities, and so many other “masculine” skills because it is something traditionally associated with women. As if you can’t like pretty clothes and wear makeup and be a feminist. As if you can’t cook, and clean, and knit, and sew, and run a home, and have a family and be a feminist.
I strongly believe that sewing in 2015 is a feminist act. I sew because I choose to sew, not because it is expected of me. I am equal to a man whether I am a sewist or a scientist. I am here right now to stand tall and say: I am a woman. I am a sewist. I am a feminist. #IAmAWIP
What does feminism mean to you? Do you call yourself a feminist? Do you think sewing is a feminist act?
*I know this is a sensitive topic. I welcome you to share your opinions, even if they differ from mine. But please, whatever your opinions are, share them with respect.*
Each week this year I’m going to reflect on an aspect of myself and how it affects me as a sewist, crafter, or blogger. It may get deep, it may get emotional, it may get totally silly. It may be something I’m proud of, it may be something I cringe at, it may be something I aspire to. I may say a lot, I may say a little, I may ask questions, I may not answer them. I don’t quite know where the project will take me, but I’m excited about the journey. I’d be honored to have you join me on this journey. Chime in any time this year in my blog comments, on Twitter, Instagram, or your own blog. Join me in my theme for the week or make up your own.