March 8th is International Women’s Day, in fact this year is it’s 100th anniversary!
Actually the first stirrings of IWD was in 1908 when 15,000 women marched in New York City for shorter working hours, better pay, and voting rights. There was growing unrest among women due to the inequality of the times, this was within a context of a booming population and rapid industrialisation. By 1914, IWD was officially held on March 8th and has ever since.
In the early C20th, women couldn’t vote, rape and violence within marriage was legal, they had limited access to work or poor working conditions. Things have improved dramatically since then but women (in all countries) do not have equal status to men; IWD has become a day when women’s groups and governments globally celebrate women while continuing to campaign for equality.
I give this preamble because people (mainly those in a privileged position) can struggle with why something like International Women’s Day is necessary. They see the fight for women’s rights as being a threat to their own, but the struggle for equality for women is a struggle for equality for everyone.
Anyway, I thought it was a good opportunity to highlight some cool feminist crafts!
My Little Stitches did this cool period embroidery using quotes from women and their experiences. I recently went to a feminist conference and heard a good talk by Chella Quint who has a zine called ‘Adventures in Menstruating’ and who is challenging the negative way in which periods are portrayed.
If periods aren’t your thing how about body image? I saw a nice post for this on Dans le Townhouse where she etched it onto a mirror in her house but originally it was pinned on pinterest by Tanya. A bit of guerrilla feminism that points out to all of us looking in the mirror and frowning at our own reflections that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to images from magazines.
The Craftivist Collective have various cool projects on the go that anyone can do, such as this mini banner project- stitch a little banner and leave it someplace public. This one was left outside Somerset House during London Fashion Week 2012 and it says’ Lowest paid model at London Fashion Week paid £125 an hour. Majority of garment works in Vietnam paid £25 a month’. I think things like this are eye-catching and raises awareness of issue but you have to be careful as it obviously doesn’t provide any evidence of what it claims. Not that I have any reason to disbelieve this particular statement.
And for any of you who have issues with feminism and feminist crafts have a look at this nice cross stitch by Australian group Radical Cross Stitch! Like I said up at the top people take issue was feminism because we’re a shouty bunch of killjoys who are trying to take their power and fun but our current society is sexist, racist, homophobic, etc and not actually all that fun for those of us who get marginalised. Also it looks so cute with the Hello Kittys!