This embroidery business puts me in a difficult position at times. One of those times is on International Women's Day, today. I took Sociology as one of my majors in university and it's one of those subjects that makes you painfully aware - or I think the kids now call it "woke". For example, I know that across the world there is a gap in our perceived value based on our gender. Women being considered those of lesser value. One of the sneaky ways that this comes out is that we are shoe horned into choosing careers that are disproportionately female and (not coincidentally) don't pay very well. DING DING DING! Yup - needlework is one of those careers. We'll have a few needleworking super stars paraded in front of us to not so subtly say "Look how successful these people are - you just aren't working hard enough" and we'll fall for it. The truth is that work that is considered "women's work" doesn't hold value and because it doesn't hold value, we aren't paid well for it. Just search under #FairFiberWage
Embroidered Meme by Hannah Hill (@hanecdote)
That's where the "difficult position" I was talking about comes in. By pursuing this as a career - am i just feeding the problem? The conclusion I came to can perfectly be expressed in the ever eloquent words of Vicky Pollard - "Yeh...but...no...but..." For $150 or less, I sell something that takes me at least two weeks of actual labor. I get tired from it, I have to have tools for it, I suffer physical injury at times from it, I have to be responsible for it and deliver it as promised. That's not counting the administration that goes into it. And yet, I still choose to undervalue my work because there's no way I could charge more for it and still be able to sell it. Many of my colleagues are in the exact same position, perpetuating the undervalue of our work.
BUT the irony is that although this is a place we are tangled up in (pun intended) it's also the place where our voices are heard the loudest. The women needle working today are not just doing it in service. The more people who are picking up the needle, the more channels there are for their voices, opinions and dissatisfaction with the way our labor is valued. The modern needle worker has begun to turn the craft into an art form and one which many women have used as a platform for expression.
Id like to share with you a few of my favorite of these expressions. I hope they inspire you as much as they have me. Click on any of the pictures to be sent over to the artists website. Happy International Women's Month!
Stopped at the Border by Sally Hewett
Frida Kahlo by Anne Valerie Dupond
Sometimes it's hard to be a woman by Heather Marie Scholl
Angela Davis by Renata Ocampo
Bitches I like them by Zoe Buckman
What are some female artists you admire? Let us know by writing for The Monsters Lounge blog. Contact me with your ideas!