Tracy Mooney of 3littlebirds posted this blog way back in July on Sexism and Quilting. Tracy refers back to this post by Deanna McCool on men sewing and quilting. Sexism is sexism no matter which way it flows. There’s no getting around it, sexism is mean and a form of bullying, it’s a way of diminishing a person just because it’s currently acceptable to diminish a person. Diminishing quilters based on gender, sigh. This really ticks me off. To quote Deanna, “They’re men. They sew. Let’s get over ourselves.”
Men in quilting is not something new. A few years back my Sweetie and I visited the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, IL where we viewed an exhibit of quilts made by IL residents including Caryl Bryer Fallert and a man, whose name escapes me at the moment. He made 3 hexagon quilts with the hexagons getting smaller and smaller with each quilt. He made the quilts on a dare from his wife and sister (in-law?). They were stunning. Ab-so-lutely stunning.
Some of the quilters who have made deep impressions on me are men. Robert Callaham, Luke Haynes, Joe Cunningham, Randy Cook, Patrick Lose, Hollis Turnbow. These are a few of the “names” in the industry – the ones who’ve worked hard to make a name or that I know because I’ve met them. (On a recent plane ride I made a list of about 25 to 30 men I know in quilting – there was a reason for the list being made however these are the ones I know.) What about the men I don’t know? How many are they? Does it matter? They’re quilters, they make quilts, they buy fabric, they design fabric, dye fabric, & quilts and write patterns. They lecture and teach and make quilts. Did I mention that they MAKE QUILTS?
I found myself sticking up for the guys in quilting a few weeks ago when it was suggested that the nearest men’s room be opened to women only for the duration of the event. Holy bladders, Cat Woman! A quick look around at the nearest 6 booths saw at least that many guys there working in the industry in some capacity. Should they have to walk that much further simply because of their gender? Uh No. I get that at some shows and events it’s a good idea, even necessary. But this particular event, no I daresay the ratio of men to women was about even. I’ve been known to duck into the gents (when no one else was in there) just because I needed to. In my defense 1) there was a small family using the ladies room and 2) I’d been driving for several hours. (Let the dancing begin) While the guy behind me was ticked off I waited for 10 minutes before, ya know.
Funny thing too, these guys do have feelings. They are just as passionate about quilting as any woman I know.They all work hard to develop their skill and remain relevant to the quilting world. There is a sense that they are a novelty in quilting. They want to be recognized for their quilting, just like any woman. For their quilting, not their gender. And in writing this I realize my bigger “issue” isn’t with them. Shocking I know, right?! Betcha can’t guess what my “issue” is, can you?
To all the guys in quilting – thanks dudes! You rock.