I craft because I am (International Women's Day)

The F-word has always been a bit difficult for me to understand. (Psst, I mean feminism.)

I come from a family of strong women, so maybe that’s why. I’m the youngest of four girls. I have four aunts and one uncle.

Both of my grandmothers are headstrong, hands-on women. The women in my family are educated, and speak their minds. My maternal grandmother worked in fashion, but after my grandfather died (years before I was born) she took over his fencing business. She raised four children and never remarried. That was in the 70’s.

So it was odd for me as a child to think that women are supposedly suppressed.

My parents worked equally in a business partnership. Yes, they had their own roles, but I never thought that my mother or my father did the things they did because of gender. They played on their strengths.

Never once have I thought that I’d rather be a man, or felt like being a woman has put me into a deep hole of disadvantage in everything in my life. Oh yes, of course, it affects some things. But being a man certainly would, too.

Other than being headstrong the women in my life all have another thing in common.

They craft.

Through her entire life, my mother has crafted. Through losing her father as a child, through looking after her younger sisters, through raising four children, through marriage, all the way through to her life now she has crafted. My grandmother has, despite no longer working in fashion, always used her creative skills. I have one aunt selling and restoring antiques and another that used to run a yarn shop. My sisters all craft.

Is it because we are women?

I don’t know, so I can’t tell you. It’s just who we are. My father whittles. Does that make him a woman? No. When I whittle, do I do it because I am a woman? No.

When you knit and you crochet and you sew, people assume you are a woman. But is that a bad thing? Maybe. For the little boy who wants to learn to knit, it might be. For the extreme feminist who does not want to be assumed to be a woman, it might be. For the man who sews quilts, it might be. For a moment, anyway, before the novelty fades and he is just another person skilled in his craft.

But I am a woman. And I craft, and I am proud of both.

Anna

 

Happy International Women’s Day!

6 thoughts on “I craft because I am (a woman)”

    1. The impact that the women in our lives have on our views of feminism is pretty fascinating. If I had had less assertive women in my life, how might it have affected me? Better yet, when it comes to crafting, I know women who don’t craft simply because their mothers or grandmothers thought of it as a feminist issue. It really is such a complex topic. Thanks for reading!

  1. ARGH I LOVE THIS POST!!! I love how you kind of leave it hanging :)
    Personally, I think both men and women equally love to craft, it is good for the souls of both, but there is a DANGEROUS gender split in crafts. Like you say, the boy who loves to knit but who has no role models or knitting contemporaries is unlikely to find happiness in knitting.
    I love that there are people challenging this – like Mr Xstitch!
    Thanks for linking up. I have no idea why I am not following your blog but consider that fixed!

    1. Yeah, there really isn’t a conclusion for a topic like this, you know?
      There’s definitely a gender split in crafts. I love seeing how people are raising their children, especially their sons, with that sort of awareness.
      And yes, hip hurrah for people like Mr. Xstitch! I love how the web is helping bring crafty men into the spotlight to show that YES, men can stitch. ;)
      Glad you liked it, thanks for reading!

  2. You certainly have a lot to be proud of :0) Having the knack for crafts is a skill that I wish I had, so instead I foster friendships wiht creative people. I love to see them work and hear them talk about their work and the process. I think men and women craft but in different ways for different reasons and that’s what makes life balanced.

  3. I’ve never felt the urge to do knitting or crochet but I don’t mind doing a bit of sewing every now and again. If you look at the craft magazine there is a bit of a divide, men do woodwork, women do the softer materials such as wool. My daughter has a full set of “toy tools” including a drill and saw and will be taught to be use real tools when she’d a bit older, not because I want her to become a woodworker or metalworker but so she has a choice. She’ll also be taught to use a sewing machine though.

    My preferred material is metal, if you look around the web you see loads of female blacksmiths and welders.

    A couple to look at are http://www.bexsimon.com/ and http://www.agnesjones.com/ some outstanding work.

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