Men and Quilting

IndieQuilter QuotesAwhile back, there was a discussion that cropped up on men in the quilt world, sparked by a podcast with Luke Haynes on While She Naps. Stephanie Boon wrote a blog post at the time, speaking to exactly what I will be touching on today. The frustrating ease with which male quilters are able to obtain attention, press, and high earning potential in the quilt world, simply because they are male. (Because white male privilege isn’t pervasive enough in every other aspect of our lives.) But more so, the seeming denial they are in, that it’s there.

I was going to write a post back then, but I talked myself out of it. Told myself to stay calm.

Then today, as part of my morning ritual of searching for quilt news, I came across the article “Men who quilt” on The San Diego Union-Tribune. The tag line? “San Diegan part of biennial museum exhibit, ‘No Girls Allowed!’.

*cue the tires screeching sound*

I’m sorry, what was that?

That’s right, the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, CO is doing a three month exhibition of pieces by men only called, “No Girls Allowed!”. One of the participants is the well known Ricky Tims.

The exhibits managers at the museum, Irene Berry, is quoted as saying, “Women have been quilting for centuries, and then men start doing it and suddenly it’s important.” Irene honey, if you’re the exhibits manager, don’t you have a say in whether this “man only” show tradition the museum has had going since 1992, can keep going? Why are you pandering to the patriarchal bullshit we have been dealing with since the dawn of time?

As far as claiming that there is a “gender barrier” for men in “our” quilt world, you can just screw right off if you believe that people men. Bitching and moaning that you’re not as welcome, or that people assume you’re the husband when you’re in a quilt shop, really? That must be rough.

But, do you know who REALLY pisses me off? The women that fawn all over male quilters. I’ve seen it, and you know you have too. Well passed middle age women, flirting and acting all giddy towards a male quilter (including openly gay quilters with husbands, making it all the more disrespectful to be flirting with them.) Really ladies? C’mon and stick with “the team” here, would you?

We are living in a society where women are STILL not paid equal to men. We have to fight every day to keep our medical rights OUR rights and decisions, and not some white male in Washington’s. We are often expected to work full time and STILL take care of all of the children’s needs as well as the housekeeping and cooking duties despite a perfectly physically capable husband/partner (Which is why I am thankful everyday for having found a man who can take care of himself.) We live in a world where, when we are raped the patriarchal society we live in questions if we wore something, or went somewhere, or too late at night, that makes us deserving of the rape. In a society in which our daughters are being sent home, education disrupted for wearing leggings and accused of distracting boys from THEIR education (which you should find just as insulting for your sons as they are say your boys are to animal like to control themselves.)

But yeah, you go ahead and lose your mind over a dude, because he can quilt, JUST LIKE YOU CAN.

I just don’t know what to do anymore ladies. There are women in this industry that have put DECADES into trying to make a decent living with our art in quilting and still come up profoundly short of being able to anywhere near support ourselves with it. But a man can start quilting, and seemingly months into it, is making a living and being invited to fricken museums for solo shows. Or having fundraisers to get a machine, or pay for a one man traveling exhibition. Well I call bullshit. Double bullshit!

Pretty much every business that profits from we quilters, is owned by a man; fabric companies, machine companies, thread companies, etc. Men are profiting from us, when we as a gender can’t readily make a profit from this industry that is keeping them housed and fed comfortably.

What I want to see, is women like Pokey Bolton, to become like the Martha Stewart of our industry and give the male dominated companies a run for their profits.

So tell me, are you a company that is owned and operated by a woman/women? Please tell me and I will feature your company on my blog. Do you know of a fabric/thread/need/notions company that is owned by a woman? Tell me about it and I will contact them for a feature here on the blog. It is time we start helping each other (ourselves) and stop giving one of the few businesses that WE should be profiting from to some guy who decided it might be neat to learn to sew on a button.

Please email the female owned companies you run or know of (or for you men that are going to be all pissed off at me) at indiequilter76@gmail.com.

135 replies

  1. Wow, hasn’t J Bruce Wilcox made himself look a complete and utter twat! He’s ranting like a little girl who didn’t get what she wanted. Shame i came across this article too late as there’s nothing I’d like more than a good argument with a complete fuckwit like him. Besides all the crap he spewed, I’d never take a man with facial hair like that seriously!

    Great article by the way.

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  2. lol OMG. It was a autocorrect error. It was supposed to read, “All of these helpful things are just denying the pure essence that the advantage is there, whether or not a man is using it.” But it changed is just, to “jews” for some reason. Good golly autocorrect does not look at context for its corrections. lol

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  3. ” All of these helpful things Jews denying the pure essence that the advantage is there, whether or not a man is using it.” What is this line supposed to mean? Is that a typo? I certainly hope it was. What do Jews have to do with any of this?

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  4. I know I have already commented, but as I now have all of the follow up comments in my inbox… I feel I need to come back and make a point. And to stand with you.

    So although I already added this comment to Molli’s blog, I will also add it here.

    This is not just a quilting industry problem. This is a phenomenon known as the ‘glass escalator’. You can see this when men join women dominated fields, such as nursing, teaching and the industry in question, quilting. The analogy of the glass escalator is that you see men riding right past women (taking the stairs) and going straight to the top.

    Men are offered more opportunities than women, and even though women have worked just as hard, they are still not being offered the same chances as men are in some circumstances. The opening of doors with ones penis if you will. This results in men making up a higher percentage of the more senior and leadership positions, which in turn earn more money.

    What we see in the female dominated industries, is that women make up a larger percentage of the ‘worker bees’ and men have a higher percentage of the ‘top jobs’. Men are able to take advantage of these gender situations/opportunities/open doors and reach higher levels in female-dominated work. Here we are left in a situation where men are at the top, again.

    Interestingly, even though men tend to do much better in female dominated careers, they rarely choose them because of society’s negative view of them. Men can shy away from choosing a nursing/teaching/quilting career as it may affect their perceived masculinity. This, definitely needs to stop too, OK everybody?

    So women are speaking up about it. And as Emma Watson said in her HeForShe speech, ‘I am reaching out to you because we need your help. We want to end gender inequality, and to do this, we need everyone involved.’

    Liked by 2 people

    • Harassment? Except for J. Bruce (who is clearly an idiot) I don’t see anyone harassing Stephanie. Sure, some of the posts are a bit rude but no ruder than her original post.

      I’ve finally read (or at least skimmed) all of the comments and it seems that the crux of the matter is the name “No Girls Allowed”. What is the big deal with that?? I was in Molli’s bee so had a hand in choosing that name. We were all men, so no girls allowed. It’s simple. We weren’t saying girls suck and we don’t like them and they can’t sew so we don’t want them in our bee. With most bees and swaps being dominated by women we wanted our own bee, just for us. There was nothing sexist or misogynistic about it. I’ve been in plenty of swaps (and ran one on Instagram) that were co-ed. I’m amazed that this little name is causing so much fuss! Not one person called us on calling our bee by that name, they all got where we were coming from. No one would bat an eye if a quilt show had only women would they?

      Like I said before, if you’re upset that a male quilter seems to be getting more press/money/attention than you, instead of looking at gender maybe you should look at what you are producing instead.

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      • You are implying I am upset, but I am not. I am presenting a fact of women’s daily lives that we have internalized and must deal with daily, in a variety of ways. When the comments threatening harm, disparagement or shame show up, as they have, then that is part of our larger experience. Even if they show up, as you say “just a little rude”, we are exposed daily and all the time to various forms of awful, and are often left to wonder if this will be the time when it spills over into our real physical lives. I happen to disagree of your characterization that the posts were just “a bit rude”. Perhaps you speak to each other in your groups the way you have here, and perhaps not. As I said in a previous comment, integrity is when you act in public and private in the same way. If you can say that you address each other that way in your groups, then I would agree that these posts are normal for you.

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      • The issue I take, is that I have so many people here angrily telling me I shouldn’t be so angry. Men are angry that I’m angry. I’m called vitriolic. Aggressive. A bitch. But a man putting a message out that that’s angry would have been received as assertive, thought-provoking, etc. How can all these people (because it wasn’t just men telling me these things), so boldly stating I can’t be angry (in my OWN space I might add, where they had to CHOOSE to come read my article), when THEY are angry and seemingly allowed to express that? Also? I never said that anyone should get press/money/attention without putting in the work. What I said was, that same work should be equally valued whether it’s a male female making it. To deny that men have an advantage in the press or monetarily is to be in denial of the truth that women live with everyday. And to deny that truth, is to show disrespect to a group of people being held at a disadvantage, who also are shamed and publicly lashed for speaking up about that disparity and asking for it to change.

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      • There was an ad campaign with a chocolate bar using No Girls Allowed. It upset a little girl in Ireland who liked the chocolate bar and couldn’t enjoy her favourite easter egg. She wasn’t the only one so Yorkie came up with a pink wrapper with a challenge of being man enough to eat the bar (it is very tasty chocolate by the way!) That ad campaign has thankfully since been dropped but it is an interesting read and shows how you are damned if you complain and damned if you don’t.
        https://veethemonsoon.wordpress.com/2004/07/02/nestle-uks-yorkie-is-not-for-girls/

        You are entitled to call your group whatever you want but don’t be surprised if the reaction to it is complicated and not always verbal; some staying silent instead of speaking against it because they like you and don’t want to upset you, some because they may not care at all, some because they think its funny and don’t feel the need to say anything, some because they don’t know how to express a misgiving they feel but haven’t thought about it deeply enough.

        I guess the thing that has surprised me most is how emotive and even aggressive these conversations have been at times. I have no words for J. Bruce who has let the use of the caps button and the anatomy section of the dictionary rule his head. Thank you Stephanie for sharing your viewpoint. This is a conversation worth having and it seems from the comments a conversation we have needed to have whether we agree with each others points or not.

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  5. Stephanie, I am sorry it’s taken me this long to come and comment here. Having experienced this kind of reaction to a post many years ago, I had no desire to repeat it, despite agreeing with your premises. I also wanted to read your original post with a fresh mind, and without trying to read between the lines. If I were to work back and recreate your article from the comments left behind, well, it would be impossible, since many of the comments have absolutely zero to do with what you actually laid out. I responded to Molli’s blog first because that’s the one I read first, after Dawn Chorus. In the main, I do not read comments because in instances like this, this is where misogyny lives, and unfortunately, this comment section is no different. If the commenters here don’t believe me, I hope they take the time to look up “rape threats online”, and “online death threats” and see what comes up. I am going to share a comment that I wrote over at Molli’s blog, because it is appropriate here, too. It is not, to my mind, histrionic, but a fact that we as women face every day, the pervasive threats against us, our bodies, and our minds.
    i esponded to the comment left by his friend
    hanks for your perspective. Men have always been a part of quilting history, and I would question that they were deliberately excluded historically, although, perhaps, it was more often self-selecting, with them choosing to be in their own groups (sound familiar?) away from the women (since it was women’s work). I am surprised that the majority of the men don’t know it themselves, and it makes their arguments ring a little hollow that they don’t, or haven’t taken the time to look into either their own gendered history, and to understand women’s gendered history even less. I feel pretty confident that many women know about male quilters historically, since it comes up on occasion (like with the auctions of the quilt made by soldiers used to cover the commander of the Light Brigade, happening this week) and now with the ease of information (look up “historical male quilters” and quite a few options are there), it’s easy to find out. The role of men, while less prevalent, has never been stamped out or squashed, nor do I think that’s what’s happening now.

    “And as a general comment, what is frustrating to me, is that the things that Stephanies said were totally valid, but they were treated piss poorly, in the way women usually are when they bring up the disparities of privileged and not. And while Molli may be a staunch advocate in person, I have to be very honest when I say that after reading these comments, I am deeply discouraged. I don’t think anyone came to a better understanding of the issues, whether about privilege or women’s ineqaulity. What is worse, to me, is that if I were to meet some of these people in person, I would be wondering about their integrity, which, to me, means that the public face and private face are the same. Would some of the commenters lash out and be hurtful in person the way they have online? What if I contradict that person in public? In private? What happens if their online persona is the way they are in reality? We’ve all seen the prevalence of online threats of violence against women, and how often that next, physical step is taken. Do I take that chance? Should I be walking with my keys in my hand after the next big industry event, just in case I say the wrong thing and am not nice enough? Maybe I shouldn’t comment. Maybe I shouldn’t say anything. Maybe I should keep my head down so they don’t notice me, and make me the next target. Maybe I’ll just email the Stephanies instead and tell them I support them, but don’t want to speak up because of the abuse that will follow, because I’ve seen what got dished out at them. I am discouraged the guys who wrote that don’t see the problem with it. Maybe I shouldn’t post this comment.

    Who am I kidding. I walk with my keys in my hand at night anyway.”

    Gentlemen (and wow, was that word hard to write), you have proved the point. And ladies and gentlemen who stayed silent… the silence proves it as well.

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      • There’s a point worth exploring here. It is the question: why do certain people seem to get all the press and others do not?

        I’ll be the first person to admit I have a huge advantage with press, but it’s not a male advantage. It is work experience from decades of being a member of the press.

        There are resources, such as the recent MQG webinar about making the perfect pitch to magazines, but it sounds like more information is needed on this topic. Maybe I’ll blog about it. 🙂

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      • Can we touch on the fact that there is another issue at work here? Studies prove that women do not promote themselves as well a lot of the time, because when we do so, we are often told we are too pushy and aggressive. Surely you must realize that it’s not just that you have press experience, but that everything you do and say is translated differently by people because you are a white male. I ask that you look at the insidious ways that your white male privilege plays in giving you an advantage in many aspects. Of course many men don’t see the privilege, because generally only the people that are negatively affected recognize the privilege being given to someone else. You don’t feel the negative impact of your privilege, so you don’t know it’s there.

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      • I’m not to big to admit it is possible; I did receive an excellent education and do not take it for granted. However, playing up a male advantage is not what makes me tick. Good point about women not being as inclined toward self-promotion. I’m here to help if you need a resource with information about publishing.

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      • But Bill, the entire point I am trying to convey, is that you DON’T have to play up being male to receive the advantage, it’s inherently there for you and needs no invoking. The mere fact that you CAN outwardly choose to pay it up even more, just proves that it’s there. 😦 Bill, I’m so sad and frustrated here. I really get the feeling you’re a good guy, but something is clearly prohibiting you from really hearing us. If we can even reach the “good guys”, what chance do we have?

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      • When someone offers to help, is that how you respond to them? By insisting they accept that they have privilege?

        If I was an editor trying to work with you on a story about you, and you said that to me, I’d say thanks but no thanks.

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      • But the help I am asking for isn’t marketing, it’s in changing how men perceive and receive women. What I hear you saying, is that I as a woman need to listen to you and change how I am to conform to the status quo. I’m not sure that’s what you mean, but it’s how it reads to me.

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      • I read it as “we all have to stick together, and nobody does this alone”. If we, as HUMANS, allow our perceptions (or realities) to stunt our growth, it isn’t fair to blame someone else. The old parable of the man on the roof, in the middle of a flood, and a boat comes by. He refuses to get in because he believes God will save him. Then a helicopter comes by and he refuses help again because “God will save me”. Then a canoe comes by and he refuses to get in, and finally, he drowns. In heaven, he asks God why he let him die. “What are you talking about? I sent a boat, a helicopter, and a canoe.”

        If you refuse assistance because someone is a man, it’s reinforcing the inequality and sabotage, that you already believe to be pervasive and overwhelming. And it alienates those who are doing their best to be supportive, and can make them less likely to extend a hand to others. It takes a village. A village of PEOPLE. That’s the vision of equality.

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      • I give up on this discussion with you Frank, which is quite likely what you were hoping for. The “help” I’ve received on this blog in the comments so far, is the suggestion that I don’t bring this conversation into the quilt world (where I live.) I’ve had one tell me to bring my anger elsewhere – other than here on my space/my blog? I’ve been helped by being told I shouldn’t be angry, because not ALL men are the problem. I’ve been helped by by being told that it’s not men’s fault that there is an advantage, because they didn’t use their maleness personally to get a leg up. All of these helpful things Jews denying the pure essence that the advantage is there, whether or not a man is using it. Just not using the advantage you could use is not supporting women or working on the problem, when you see other men come here and attack me in my own space for my being angry at the disparity. This is the last I will respond to you, because my time and words are better used with people willing to listen and try to find a way towards solutions of equality.

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      • Have it your way. I tried. Good luck in your future endeavors and if you’d ever like help, I’m available. I’m sorry for the way others have been treating you, as I’ve had similar experiences. I have a long list of people on my schedule who really do want my assistance and input, and yes, I agree, my time and energy is best spent where it’s wanted. Bill is also a very nice, helpful, and generous individual. I’m sure your anger is warranted toward those who do hold you back, and I wish you could see that I’m not one of those people. This is the last I will post in this forum, and if you’re truly adverse to my presence anywhere, please feel free to block me on all social media. I understand. This invitation is extended to everyone, everywhere, at any time.

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      • Just as a response to your last bit there, I do not feel as if I am in some battle to the death warranting blocking you on all social media (I’ve not blocked you on any.) I’m not that sort of person. Now, anyone that tells me to kill myself? That’s a whole other ball of wax there.

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      • I have been told I’m too pushy and aggressive, and that led me to change my marketing tactics to a formula that’s more entertaining and not focused on advertising. It brings interest and keeps me from having to push harder. I learned this from several successful women. And I have shared it with others.

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  6. I’m commenting again as my first attempt hasn’t shown up, so either you’ve stopped all new comments or are vetting each one…

    I think everyone needs to get a grip.

    Men are a small minority in the quilting world, a novelty really. Sewing is seen as a traditionally female pursuit so when a man does it (especially a hetero man) it is seen as something especially interesting. Everyone wants to know why they do it, what is their motivation? What does it feel like to be involved in a female dominated activity? Because of this it is not a surprise that so much extra attention is given to male quilters. Women quilters are a dime a dozen (no offence intended) so lets talk about the men for a change.

    The tone of your post, especially “let’s stick with the team”, implies you’re encouraging discrimination against male quilters and business owners. This runs completely counter to your argument. We aren’t trying to take over your “thing”. You have your thing and we want ours. We’ve taken a little piece of your thing, done it our way, and called it ours. You still have your thing, but now we do too.

    A few years ago a few other blokes and I started up a little quilting bee online. After much debate we called it the “No Girls Allowed” quilting bee. We did this simply because no girls were allowed. We didn’t worry about excluding anyone because there are hundreds of other bees and groups for women quilters. Or bee was well received in the online community with the vast majority getting the joke and understanding what we were doing. This led on to a Men Who Quilt FB page which has over 600 members now. How many millions of women quilt? I have no idea either, but we are tiny in comparison.

    It’s clear that you are taking this way too far into the overall debate about sexual equality. Your rant about “There are women in this industry that have put DECADES into trying to make a decent living with our art in quilting and still come up profoundly short of being able to anywhere near support ourselves with it. But a man can start quilting, and seemingly months into it, is making a living and being invited to fricken museums for solo shows. Or having fundraisers to get a machine, or pay for a one man traveling exhibition. ” is just silly. Firstly I know far more women making a living off quilting then men (my wife is one of them). Secondly, if a woman isn’t making a living off of quilting after spending decades at it maybe she is just DOING SOMETHING WRONG.

    I know it doesn’t help when folks like J. Bruce Wilcox comes in swinging with unhelpful rants. I know it just feeds your anger. Yes, that is what you are. Angry. I’ve found the quilting community friendly, encouraging, and downright pleasant. You need to take your anger elsewhere; you’re giving quilters a bad name.

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    • I have my comments moderated to filter spam. If I were vetting them, I think severs that you’ve read here would have been not approved; such as ones telling me to kill myself. I don’t really appreciate the implication that I am censoring this conversation. I have approved ALL comments, which should be obvious if you read them the and portion of them that disagree with me.

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  7. I think everyone needs to get a grip.

    Men are a small minority in the quilting world, a novelty really. Sewing is seen as a traditionally female persuit so when a man does it (especially a hetero man) it is seen as something especially interesting. Everyone wants to know why they do it, what is their motivation? What does it feel like to be involved in a female dominated activity? Because of this it is not a surprise that so much extra attention is given to male quilters. Women quilters are a dime a dozen (no offence intended) so lets talk about the men for a change.

    The tone of your post, especially “lets stick with the team”, implies you’re encouraging discrimination against male quilters and business owners. This runs completely counter to your argument. We aren’t trying to take over yout “thing”. You have your thing and we want ours. We’ve taken a little piece of your thing, done it our way, and called it ours. You still have your thing, but now we do too.

    A few years ago a few other blokes and I started up a little quilting bee online. After much debate we called it the “No Girls Allowed” quilting bee. We did this simply because no girls were allowed. We didn’t worry about excluding anyone because there are hundreds of other bees and groups for women quilters. Or bee was well received in the online community with the vast majority getting the joke and understanding what we were doing. This led on to a Men Who Quilt FB page which has over 600 members now. How many millions of women quilt? I have no idea either, but we are tiny in comparison.

    It’s clear that you are taking this way too far into the overall debate about sexual equality. Your rant about “There are women in this industry that have put DECADES into trying to make a decent living with our art in quilting and still come up profoundly short of being able to anywhere near support ourselves with it. But a man can start quilting, and seemingly months into it, is making a living and being invited to fricken museums for solo shows. Or having fundraisers to get a machine, or pay for a one man traveling exhibition. ” is just silly. Firstly I know far more women making a living off quilting then men (my wife is one of them). Secondly, if a woman isn’t making a living off of quilting after spending decades at it maybe she is just DOING SOMETHING WRONG.

    I know it doesn’t help when folks like J. Bruce Wilcox comes in swinging with unhelpful rants. I know it just feeds your anger. Yes, that is what you are. Angry. I’ve found the quilting community friendly, encouraging, and downright pleasent. You need to take your anger elsewhere, you’re giving quilters a bad name.

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    • Yes I am angry, and given that this is my blog and my space, I quite honesty do not have to take it somewhere else. If someone suggested you had called your group “No Blacks Allowed”, what would the reaction have been? I didn’t say that I agree with a quilt group that would exclude men.

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  8. Thank you for your bravery in posting on a controversial topic.

    Some of the comments left are horrible and not acceptable. It’s not cool, at all, so stop it.

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    • Thank you, I just want to see some change and headway in this situation! Haters can hate, but change will come. I don’t hate people, I hate the situation. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to read the piece!

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  9. RE: Molli Sparkles:

    What he said: “But the engagement from these blog posts seems over-the-top hostile.”

    What people seem to think he said: “These blog posts seem over-the-top hostile.”

    There’s a big difference folks. I’m not sure anymore who is commenting on what, but I agree that it does seem inordinately hostile. When folks do try to be nice, then the commenters turn on them. I thought Molli made sense when I read his post. He admits to male privilege (“penis got them in the door”) and he illustrates by his “out there-ness” how males tend to put themselves forward in a way that females are culturally conditioned not to behave. But, truth comes out in anger, and women have gotten their promotions using feminine wiles in the “men’s” world just as men are getting a leg up (or something) in the quilting world at times. It ain’t right and it’s certainly not generally true, but . . .

    But, when it comes down to fundamentals, we’d all get further working together. You get further down the road pulling someone along than you do pushing them back.

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  10. I have been following this discussion, here on Stephanie’s blog as well as Steph, and Molli’s blog. And just to start out, Frank? Stephanie has not changed or manipulated this article since she wrote it. I read it when it was just published and again now and it has not changed.
    Over at Molli’s blog it has been written that many of the male quilters in our community have chosen to hang out in male quilting groups and circles, and that they do this in order to create a community they feel is lacking elsewhere.
    Here at Stepahnie’s blog she is asking women to stand behind one another in our community to give a leg up to one another, financially and otherwise. The difference between these two approaches is not too far from one another. For the men to call foul is telling. That so many women agree with Stephanie is also telling.
    I have put a bunch of thought into the trajectory of comments on this blog, compared to Molli’s blog and I must say, the men here are exerting some masculine priveledge. The comments are not nice. I realize that Stephanie has shown emotion and anger in her post and this may have opened the door to the expression of masculine privedge in the response and comments, but. I would think it is also possible to try to get past the topical and address the content of the article too, so can we try?
    Just the meme at the beginning of Molli’s post is enough to point even more light on the gender disparity that is occurring. As a woman I would never call attention to my vagina in this same way. Instead I would feel the need to protect my body and person from the attention that sort of comment might bring. Because, yes, we live in a rape culture, I am female, and I do not want to direct negative attention to my person. That Molli does not need to think or frame his discussion in this manner is in fact, an example of male privilege.
    Stephanie, I am sorry that you are dealing with such negativity in the comments and I am impressed with your grace in responding to each person.

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    • Again, you are arguing with me as if I don’t agree with you, while refusing to acknowledge the points I’ve made regarding condescension. For the very last time, I see her point. Always have. What I don’t agree with, is how she shit on other people to present it. I can’t argue this further. It’s a waste of my time, and it’s better spent where it will be heard, and taken seriously. You don’t get it, and that’s fine. I’m putting a period here, and moving on with my life. **disclaimer** I used the word “period” as punctuation, and not a reference to anything regarding gender. So let’s not open that can of worms.

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      • Frank, I feel like I have to point this out.

        Women don’t have to say things ‘nicely’ if they don’t want to. Again, by insisting Stephanie adopt a *nicer* tone, you are in fact (probably without realising it) reinforcing a gender stereotype that in order for women to be heard they must express themselves politely.

        Many feminists (myself included) choose to actively express themselves a little saltily in order to reject this notion of gender conformity. The way we express ourselves is as much a part of who we are as the way we wear our hair or the cereal we eat for breakfast.

        So for a man to say ‘can’t you be a bit nicer about the way you communicate to me?’ is effectively saying ‘I won’t listen to your ideas even if they are good because you upset my sensibilities. You challenge my understanding of cultural normatives. Women are not supposed to be loud and shouty and opinionated. I’m not listening to you unless you are NICE to me’

        That is slightly ridiculous. If we only listened to people who agreed with us and were ‘nice’ to us, we would never learn anything.

        If you believe Stephanie has something interesting to say, you need to remove your PERSONAL feelings aside and look more broadly at what she is saying. Also, remember that this is her blog and she is entitled to express her opinion however she likes.

        But most importantly, remember that your male privilege does not entitle you to tell a woman how to communicate her ideas to you. She doesn’t owe you anything. She is who she is.

        As Stephen Fry says
        “It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • And I didn’t name the show. So if anyone is offended, “so fucking what?”. Got it. Thanks. Makes my life easier.

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  11. The men who have commented here have largely missed the point of what the blogger was trying to communicate.

    For the record: I should state I’m friends with Molli Sparkles AND a feminist AND I see the validity of the points raised by this piece AND I also see how it’s important for feminism and movements that are traditionally culturally and historically important to the dialogue and discourse of women to become more inclusive of men unless we want to stagnate or become reductionist.

    However, in order for this to happen, men need to accept that regardless of whether they actively abuse it, they are born with an inherent privilege. Whether they choose it or not is not up to them: our society is engendered with power structures that will innately activate that privilege even if they do not pursue it.

    So no matter if the number of men within a traditionally female dominated community like quilting is small; that inherent privilege afforded to them by society and the structures in place will always benefit them. And because men have never experienced life without that privilege, it is unlikely they even realise they are benefitting from it.

    However, to preclude men from the dialogue and to guard the convention and historical context because it is culturally significant to feminist discourse is as I said, reductionist. If we want to change the paradigm, and to stop the ‘no girls allowed’ mentality (which I happen to think are absolutely culturally divisive and remind me of the gentlemens clubs of the old patriarchy) we need to invite men into feminist discourse and women’s stories.

    In turn, I think men need to be much more self aware when it comes to the privilege they enjoy. Perhaps if they were then they would understand that the issue really isn’t about quilting, really, as far as I can see anyway. Because a talented artist is after all, a talented artist.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kuddo’s Stephanie for voicing what I have felt for a long time. Thank you for your courage to write this blog.
    Janet

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  13. Stephanie, I wanted to let you know that I support you and what you are trying to shine a light on with your article. Not for one second did I read that you wanted male quilters to be excluded, that their work was sub-standard nor that “all” men get a leg up in the industry because of their gender. I also do not think your blog post was vitriolic.

    In reality, I understand your frustration – it is the people with the most privilege in our society that are the ones who seem to least understand just what that privilege affords them (with comments like “let me not be defined by my gender” and then in the next breath “honestly, you get a lot of shows out of it (being a man), a lot of press out of it” and then “it may be their dick that got them through the door, but it was perseverance that keep it wedged open” – this last one is really a concession that their gender helped them). It would be a very rare day to hear a woman say – “it was my vagina that got me this job”. Having a vagina can be somewhat of a disadvantage.

    Consider (here in Australia) – women make up more than half the population, are more educated at postgraduate level than men (42% to 30.6%) and make up 49.5% of the workforce – yet they represent only 14% of chair positions, 15.6% of CEO positions and 27% of key management positions. In at least 25% of companies there are no women in leadership roles. There are more people named Peter and Paul in CEO roles in the ASX 200 than there are women!!! And they are paid around 20% less than their male counterpart. AND that’s just in business. Women/Girls make up only 7.5% of all picture books characters published between 1990 and 2000 and in the film industry, women represent only 29% of speaking roles and of those one third are sexualised and wearing revealing clothes. In only 10% of cases there is a balanced cast. 1 in 3 women in Australia has experience physical violence in the last 5 years and 1 in 5 has experience sexual violence since the age of 15. Domestic violence is the leading cause of preventable death for women up to the age of 44. This is women’s lived experience. Despite making up half the population our gender in a lot of situations is unavoidable (I say this as a women who owns her own business after studying practicing law and being sick of being paid less to do a better job). I am particularly frustrated by the comments by Kevin above – there is a whole lot of blame the victim rather than the perpetrator going on there. Men need to be responsible for their actions instead of mansplaining to women about their experience.

    Like you, Steph, I’m not so concerned about there being a male only show – I too follow quite a few male quilters and love their work (from a taste perspective there are some I don’t like too as is the case with some women quilters). Where I agree with you is my frustration and disappointment that a man’s privilege affords him opportunities mostly because he is a man. It’s like congratulating a man who happens to do the dishes and help out with the kids and around the house. Why should he be congratulated for doing the right thing just because he is a man? In order for their to be equality those people who experience privilege will need to make space for people without privilege and sometimes that means giving up some of their privilege.

    Men and women quilters alike should be valued and celebrated and promoted for the body of work they do and not because one is a man. This is not reverse sexism by the way (something I don’t believe is possible) – a woman should be entitled to speak critically about what she sees around her without being labelled vitriolic, aggressive and bossy.

    Woops that was an opus! Good on you though Steph!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. It is pretty clear with the ending of this post that your intent all along was to piss men off “(or for you men that are going to be all pissed off at me).”

    While you do make some good points, I think you could have went about this a better way to open a logical and rational discussion.

    Do you really think every male out there that quilts thought it would be neat to learn to sew on a button then boom decided they wanted to quilt?

    I quilt because I enjoy it, it is relaxing and it is fun. My husband just started sewing and quilting in December. He now understands what I get out of it. He sees how it relaxes him after a long, hard day. It has built up his confidence hearing people comment on how he is doing.

    There are some male quilters who have made a name for themselves but it wasn’t because they are male. They put in the work and the time to build themselves to where they are. Ricky Tims is a great example. He loves what he does and he loves sharing it with the world. Thank god quilters love to share because without them other people might pass this wonderful art by.

    I teach EQ7 and I didn’t get into it for fame or money. Lord knows, it isn’t for the money. I am good with technology and I found that people in my area wanted to use EQ badly but didn’t have anyone to help them. They don’t fawn over me and flirt. They all also know I have a husband that I talk about a lot.

    Quilting, like any other art form, isn’t something everyone can do and overnight become a start. Most of us, male and female, will never hear our names mentioned to the public in regards to quilting. I don’t think any of us are out here quilting to become a star. We all do it for the love of it.

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    • I am not saying that men do not make extraordinary quilts that are well crafted. My argument is that their gender affords them a much easier way to attention and press than we women have ever been able to experience in our industry. Even in Molli Sparkles counter post to mine, he titled it “Their dick may have gotten them in the door, but is was their perseverance that kept it wedged open.” – does this not show even a male quilter who is mad at me openly admits gender opens doors to them that women by and large haven’t been able to open as female quilters? I am not against men in the quilt world, I am against the fact that men (just like in the fine art world) are already at an advantage over us.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You cannot be serious. You’re like the straight people who call shame on gay pride, then try and generate a straight pride parade. The POINT here is that you should be grateful to not need a ‘girls only’ group because almost every quilting group out there is ALREADY girls only. Sometimes you just want a small corner of the world where you feel normal and welcome. Let me give you a little background on me… as a male quilter of 17 years allow me to share some of my experience with what its like to be a guy in the quilting world. MOST of us men do not feel welcome at quilt guilds and more specifically quilt fabric shops. We are constantly asked if we know what we’re doing or if we’re just there waiting for our wives. Every quilt guild I join I eventually leave because I do not fit in and all announcements from the podium begin with “Now Ladies…” I am clearly invisible or unwanted… not sure which. It takes so much courage everyday to be open about who we are and the fact that we just want to belong. You cannot possibly understand. I repeat, you cannot possibly understand what it takes to be a guy in the quilt world where your friends and family think you’re just bizarre for wanting to do some ‘old lady’ activity and you never feel welcome in the world that you love. So please… take your opinion and shove it. You think guys somehow have an advantage? Please honey… walk a mile in my cowboy boots before you open your ignorant mouth.

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    • Seriously? We could not understand? Welcome to the world of women all over the world who have been marginalised, discriminated against, abused, looked over for promotion or even hired, told to go home to the husband and kids, paid less for doing the same job. Walk a mile in your cowboy boots? Dale – walk a thousand miles in a our shoes and then you may just begin to grasp who is the ignorant one here.

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    • Seriously, you just wrote that? I don’t understand how men who describe feeling a little out of place in a quilt shop or quilt guilt can’t make the connection between that experience and the same experiences women have every day of their lives, year in year out – and not just in bloody quilt shops. We’re talking places of power, where decisions that govern our lives are made, not how much Kaffe Fassett fabric you want to buy today.

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    • Every quilt group out there is most certainly not “girls only”, and I never implied men shouldn’t have their own male only groups. What I said was that it’s rude that instead of saying “Male only”, it’s called “No Girls Allowed”. The tones are completely different. If you want to get into who feels more uncomfortable in more places, I’m afraid women would have you beat. Tech sector, medical profession, board rooms, congress, senate, military, comic book stores, electronic stores (where I am forever assumed to not know what the hell I’m doing despite not knowing anything about me). I never said I was in agreement with making men feel uncomfortable. I said that it is completely gender biased that men get news articles and press with ease because they are male. The titles of these articles are often offensive to women, because many of them imply that men are doing something wholly different and commendable versus what women have been doing in the industry for ages – or that they are completely changing the “face of quilting”. The articles based on men quilting have a completely different slant that the majority of the ones about women quilting. I call out both men and women for this practice of “journalism”.

      As for your “Please honey…walk a mile in my cowboy boots before you open your ignorant mouth.” I would like to address how quickly you moved to a condescending female nickname of “honey” to then proceed to TELL me to keep my ignorant mouth shut for speaking out about an issue that effects women. I will not shut my mouth, and as this is my blog and my space you have no power over me here to make me do such a thing. I don’t have full equal rights yet, but I sure as hell have already been afforded the right to free speech.

      Honestly, a white male trying to tell me that I can’t possibly understand how hard it is to be him, is insulting at best and down right cruelly divisive at worst. I am not saying that the white male doesn’t have his own struggles to deal with, I am saying it’s absolute bullshit to try and claim issues a woman faces every single day of her life as a struggle you experience more harshly than women do. That’s either ignorance, guilt or childishness speaking. It’s not truth. I will gladly discourse on the fact that it’s bullshit that men are expecting to be “masculine”, “manly”, “tough” and not be a “cry baby”. But I will not continue a conversation that is based on a male telling me he struggles with inequality. Because his struggles are equality based, they are sociologically based. (A treatment of men and how the are raised in that I don’t agree with mind you.)

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      • You called Irene, “honey” in your blog post. Instead of criticizing others, how about being the change you want to see? If it’s not condescending when you say it, why is it when someone else does?

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Jean Wells Keenan of Sisters, Oregon is a great example. She was inducted into the Quilter’s Hall of Fame a few yeas ago. Jean is the owner of The Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, and founder of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Her daughter, Valori, is also highly successful.

    Carol Veillon of Quiltmania in France is another great example. I have enjoyed working with Quiltmania on a number of projects including a book, and I’m working on another book with C&T / Stash. Most of the people I have worked with at C&T are women: Roxane Cerda, Lynn Koolish, Debbie Rodgers, April Mostek, and many others. They do great work, and I am so honored they wanted to work with me since a majority of their authors are women.

    Regrding my own journey as a man in the industry, I’m not sure it can be characterized the way it was in this blog post, or compared to other peoples’ journeys. For me, it was a matter of all the pieces falling into place after decades of hard work. I collected quilts for 20 years as a hobby before anyone knew about them; and I developed and fine tuned communications skills, photography, writing and social media.

    So, I feel the opportunities I’ve gotten are mostly because I have something unique to offer, I’ve worked really hard, done high quality work, and I’m willing to continue working hard for a little while. I am thankful to be part of this community and appreciate how welcoming it is. What a joy it is to work with so many talented, creative professionals, most of whom are women. Thank you for the blog post, and best of luck in your quilt journey.

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    • Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I appreciate that you state your journey, as your journey and I have no doubt that you have worked hard. I was hoping to impress that many women have worked just as hard and are doing the same amount/similar work and are not being compensated equally to many of the male quilters. I appreciate you took the time to share your story a bit here, and that you pointed out some lovely women in the industry I can hopefully feature in the future. (say that 10 times fast!) Thanks again!

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      • Stephanie, on the issue of compensation for male quilters (I’m assuming you mean what they get for their quilts?? What they get paid for writing a book?? Teaching??), there are some basic economic issues that apply. In the world of quilters, male quilters are a distinct minority. They are simply more rare than female quilters. The rare tends to be perceived as worth more, exotic, whatever. That is one factor. Second, I think that men, more than women, are socialized to demand more. Take Molli Sparkle’s (Joshua Helms’) “Low Value Does Not Equal No Value.” He says simply (I’m paraphrasing), “figure out what your work is worth and demand it.” And I hear women say, “oh, but I could never charge $30/hour for my time.” Or, “I got the fabric on sale; I can’t charge full retail.” Yes, we can. We have to put food on the table if we are in this to make our livelihood. We have to figure replacement costs for supplies. But many of us don’t quite believe those things. The fight is within US, not against THEM, in large part. We probably need a lot more training on how to be successful business people, if that’s what we want to be, than more training on how to make this block or that quilt. Until we truly believe we are entitled, we won’t be. And then, unlike most businesses, there are “working quilters” and there are “hobby quilters.” And that’s a whole other influence on the issues of pay/worth.

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      • I agree with you. I also believe however, that there is a unique variable that women are conditioned to not ask for what they are worth, because the world does not value what is considered work traditionally to be done by women. I don’t solely blame men for this perpetuation, we as women need to start supporting and educating each other that we have worth. It’s doubly hard, when you factor in the fact that women in the larger world and industries are paid only 75% what men are even in work typically categorized as male work. It’s even more sad and disheartening when you look at the category of artists, and the fact that women make up only a very tiny fraction of the art you see in galleries – it’s not that there aren’t women artists out here, we are here! But galleries and museums are buying/promoting, etc. Yes we have a responsibility to help ourselves, but we also need men to take responsibility to aiding us in those efforts.

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      • Regarding pay inequality in the *quilt industry*

        I’m curious. If men get paid more than women in the quilt industry, where are the numbers that support the statement?

        It’s an honest question since I’m not a paycheck-comparer…not my cup of tea, but now I must ask.

        I’ve been paid for a few things recently, but as far as I know, I wasn’t paid more or less than anyone else.

        How do we really know men get paid more? Remember, I’m talking about the *quilt industry* and not the larger world.

        Did I miss the memo about the Forbes net worth list for individuals in the quilt industry, showing how much more men get paid??

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  17. I honestly don’t want there to be “sides” to this. I simply want quilters, artists, people in general to have equal recognition for the time and effort they put into their work and their passion. I have lots of male quilter friends — and I love them. I have lots of female quilter friends — and I love them!! I’d really rather think of them all as my quilter friends and drop the shit about what body parts they have.
    re the Quilting Exhibit that’s limited to men…. how would it sound if we have an exhibit that excluded men? or women with red hair? or African-American quilters?
    Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to accept quilts with a particular theme? of a particular genre? why on EARTH does gender have to be a deciding factor?

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    • If anyone has a problem with the show (I was rejected from this particular show every time I’ve entered, by the way), I would suggest taking it up with the museum, who likely won’t do anything about it because it’s a huge moneymaker for them, and without funding, they cease to exist. Don’t blame those who have a quilt in the show. It’s their chance to be seen, and everyone has unique opportunities that aren’t available to a lot of other people.

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    • One of my quilts is in the show at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, and I was also in the last show, which was called MANifestations. There wasn’t much controversy with that title, I think because it more aptly expressed what the show is really all about. It’s about discovering what is unique about men who quilt.

      There have been some comments floating around about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, but I can only speak for my own experience. I love that men want to sew a mile on her sewing machine, and with all the best intentions.

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      • The term MANifestations does not carry with it the the heavy handed message that “No Girls Allowed” does. I don’t take issue with a male only exhibition, just as I don’t take offense to women only, African-American only, etc art exhibitions. I take issue with with the connotation that’s held in an exclusionary name as well as the word “girl” itself, as though we aren’t women. 🙂

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      • Frank, yes you didn’t in so many words tell me to shut the fuck up. But you state that you recognize the disparity, then can’t you also recognize that women are angry? Obviously, if someone is standing behind women and helping them to work towards equality, articles such as mine are not directed at them. Also, if you read the article without judging it from the get go, I actually (for this specific industry) lay a lot of the blame on the women for not supporting each other. I will not apologize for being angry, as a gender that has been oppressed longer than probably any minority (which by the way garners thought, as we are 50-51% of the total earth population begging the question how the hell are we relegated to being a minority??) I think I have the right to be pretty pissed. Obviously it’s deeper than just the quilting industry, but you start from where you’re at, right? If you want to support women to equality and equal pay, you also need to face and accept that we have a lot of well earned anger about the issue.

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  18. I’ll choose to respond to your post rather than to some of the comments I’ve read. My take: I have a hard time crying for male quilters who feel like someone dissed them by not giving them help in the quilt shop. They absolutely SHOULD get the help they need and not be ignored or disrespected. But when I compare that to what most women contend with (whether they acknowledge it or not,) as I said, I’m not crying. My pay as a highly qualified investment manager was ALWAYS below my male peers’. I didn’t get extra perks or bonuses BECAUSE I was female in a male-dominated industry. And since my pay was always behind, my 401k match and my social security are always and forever behind, too. Besides the pay issue, YES there are basic human and civil rights issues. Medical care… don’t get me started.

    Stephanie, I’m sorry you are being attacked by a couple of your commenters. I do applaud you for your poise and grace as you respond to them.

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    • I view it the same way I view people who claim black people have an advantage in the job market because of affirmative action. If someone believes that, they will believe anything. The ability to deny people who obviously are struggling for social and civil equality is a privilege that they should accept, appreciate and use towards promoting change. But they don’t because they feel like if there is equality there will be “less” for them. There are two things that are near impossible to fight, ignorance and selfishness. But by no means, will I kowtow to them. Thank you for your comments and support.

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  19. I’m not denying that a woman struggles. In anything. I am merely stating that a dick doesn’t guarantee overnight success in this industry, and that there are real struggles for men that shouldn’t be dismissed with “Boo Hoo”. It’s insulting. If the only way to make your point is to insult others, you aren’t making a point. You’re just making enemies. Everyone struggles. Everyone.

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    • I am sorry that it angers you so much. I would like to encourage you to take some time, and try to understand that this isn’t just about quilting. I have not dismissed the work of any quilter. I have simply stated the fact the men predominately have ever profit market in the quilting industry (making it no different than any other industry), and now I watch men making much more money on the same work other women are doing, and having doors opened to them that have never readily been opened for women (art museums.) I am asking you to see beyond your personal struggles that I respect and which you had not have gone through, and simply see and empathize that as women we are still struggling for pretty basic things. You have very few inustries that is harder for you to get a job because you are male, versus women for who nearly every job sector that is NOT service based like cleaning, cooking, and lower paying jobs for is unbelievable difficult to acquire. (there is after all a reason why there are initiatives trying to get more young women into the tech sector.) I am asking that the men in our community stand with us, the backbone of this industry, instead of leaving us behind and only coming back to unleash fury upon us when we ask for equality. We ask that you work with us and understand that we are frustrated and unheard. We ask that at least a FEW good men acknowledge that we still aren’t equal, and have the courage to address it.

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      • I have made that point hundreds of times in the past decade, and loudly campaigned for pay equality, and called out legislators who voted against it. Molli Sparkles has actively promoted the idea of getting paid what you’re worth, in more than one blog post, and provided the tools to demonstrate why quilt work needs to command a fair price. Not just for men. For everyone. Ricky Tims believes in everyone. Everyone. He actively supports and promotes quilters of both genders. There are good men who acknowledge inequality, and we have the courage to address it. And this blog post doesn’t help. It just makes us look like we are assholes. And ripping apart Ricky’s niece in the comments section is reason enough for me to never come back to this blog again. She is one of the kindest, most selfless people I know, and I am proud to call her a friend. But it’s just easier for someone to tell her to choke on a dick. Stay classy, ladies.

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      • Pardon? I did not rip anyone apart in comments. I have tried to calmly and rationally respond to each comment I have received. I have not called anyone names, or stifled anyone’s opinion in the comments section, even when they have clearly disagreed with me.

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      • I was referencing the comment made toward her. If you read the comments, you will see where she was invited to choke on a dick. I didn’t say YOU made that comment. I merely pointed out how classless and shitty that is. I need a shower.

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    • This is tantamount to telling a black person they can’t claim racism exists predominately for them, because a small percentage of white peoples have experienced it too. I’m very tired of the mansplaining I have received today, and tired of the claim that I am somehow attacking men. I’m attacking a system. A system proven to exist by posts such as the one from Molli Sparkles, whose post title itself admits a “dick” may get them in the door. I’m also sick of men who are telling me they support women and equality; right before they essentially tell me to shut the fuck up for talking about it. I’m not the first women to post about this issue in our industry, and I likely won’t be the last. And I will not apologize for speaking my mind and stating that I think it’s doubly unfair to be paid less in an industry built by far predominately on the backs (wallets) of women. It seems to me there is far more anger from people who think I am somehow crazy for wanting women to be paid equally, than there was in my initial post.

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      • I won’t apologize for calling anyone out for belittling someone. You had a point to make, but you slammed others in doing it. I get your point. My objection was to the snarky, condescending way of presenting it. Sorry you can’t see that. Yes, you have a point. I have maintained it from the beginning. And so do I. I don’t criticize the very real need to address inequality. I wish you could see how you’ve just contributed to widening the chasm with the way you’ve done it. But, your blog, your rules. Rock that shit for life. Hope it works out for you. If you ever need marketing advice, I’m happy to share what’s worked for me. If not, that’s okay too. I’m not evil. Everyone gets fucked over. That’s how I know it’s a shitty thing to do to someone. And, I do take offense at your comment that I have told you to shut the fuck up about inequality. I never said that. I said that its not okay to belittle others in the same breath that you claim you’ve been slighted. It’s like beating your child to teach them not to hit.

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      • Frank, yes you didn’t in so many words tell me to shut the fuck up. But you state that you recognize the disparity, then can’t you also recognize that women are angry? Obviously, if someone is standing behind women and helping them to work towards equality, articles such as mine are not directed at them. Also, if you read the article without judging it from the get go, I actually (for this specific industry) lay a lot of the blame on the women for not supporting each other. I will not apologize for being angry, as a gender that has been oppressed longer than probably any minority (which by the way garners thought, as we are 50-51% of the total earth population begging the question how the hell are we relegated to being a minority??) I think I have the right to be pretty pissed. Obviously it’s deeper than just the quilting industry, but you start from where you’re at, right? If you want to support women to equality and equal pay, you also need to face and accept that we have a lot of well earned anger about the issue.

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      • Yup, you have earned that anger, but it doesn’t entitle you (or help the cause) to belittle the struggles of others. It compounds the problem and helps nobody. I’d love to elaborate, but the multiple edits to your blog post have a constantly changing and evolving content, and repeating what I’ve already said is rather pointless. If you didn’t read that and digest it, saying it again is just a waste of time.
        The show was named by a woman, and she should bear the brunt of that anger. It’s 3 months out of 24, so the other 88% of the year features exhibits by women, overwhelmingly.
        People giving away their work at bargain prices is hurting your business. Not those who charge fair prices. Those bargain basement quilters should bear your anger.
        I plug women owned businesses all the time. Rita Hutchins and her design studio, Blue Line Eraser, McTavish Quilting Studio, Pamela Allen, Missouri Star Quilt Company, Whirls and Swirls Studio, Big Horn Quilts, as well as the myriad of female fabric designers, teachers like Ami Simms, Pepper Cory, Mary Lou Weidman, too many to mention here.
        Jeff Rutherford’s article didn’t use his name in the title instead of “Men who Quilt” because nobody would know the subject of the article. Click bait is actually what gets people to the article. You should know this, because you titled your blog post “Men and Quilting”. Click bait much? If the subject is actually to criticize women for not supporting each other, why is the title “Men and Quilting”?
        Again, the post reads differently now than it did when originally posted, because it isn’t the same article.

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      • I have not edited the content of my original post. I made these initial typo edits right after posting: ever to every, I took out “sort of” in the paragraph about the exhibits manager, I placed a missing comma in the sentence “We have to fight everyday” that was missing, and took out the word “often” from the sentence “We are expected to..” I only made grammatical error changes but have not changed the main content of my original post in any way other than those I have just mentioned.

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    • Frank, just what I said. Responding to the response to your original comment.

      And “negativitysucks”: You’re right. Big time. So why get caught in that trap. When people get pissed off, all they hear are the negatives. If they can hear anything in the midst of such great anger. You may have a perfect right to be angry, but use it as fuel. Don’t spend it uselessly.

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      • You got it right, Brenda. I respond normally from one computer, and that response was sent from another device , which was logged into the blog account.

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  20. I worked very hard for every scrap of success I’ve had. Since sewing on a button as a child, to quilting as a teen, to being denied guild membership as late as my 40’s, to being denied jobs I’m highly qualified for because a woman makes customers more comfortable in a quilt shop. I’ve had to change my market, my offerings, my business structure, my location, and my perspective to reach success. And I’ve worked 7 days a week for over a decade (since my late 30’s) just to get here. That’s not my only struggle in life. Not by a long shot. This life has been very hard, as most lives are, full of obstacles and barriers. If you want to promote women, by all means, go ahead. If you want to shit all over the talent of others, that’s just hate. And hate isn’t something that unifies people (except in the Republican Party). We make our own success with what we have available to us. If you need a pair of scissors on a high shelf, you don’t blame the tall guy. You find a step stool.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s just it, not ONCE did I say men are not making quality work. I’m not sure why that seems to be a sticking point when it’s not even in my post? What I am saying is that this industry is profiting off women, and women are struggling to get by at all in it for the most part. And I wish ONE man whisk realize that what you’re describing is what women have faced forever – working harder to never be equal, let alone get ahead. The ability to deny women’s struggles shows a definite privilege.

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      • But, you see, everyone is struggling in some way. Blacks, women, Syrians, gays, the disabled, quilters trying to be recognized as part of fine art, and to elevate one struggle above the others doesn’t make sense. Maybe we should try recognizing that and recognizing that “we (whoever we are)” aren’t more important than “them.” I bet if I asked Frank to “please get me the scissors off of the high shelf” he would do so. Not likely to happen if I yell at him for putting it there in the first place.

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      • Thank you Brenda. Yes, I would. Gladly. Traditionally, often without being asked because I saw the need. Not because of men and women, but because I know what it feels like to need something out of my reach.

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    • Frank, welcome to the world of most women! “denied jobs I’m highly qualified for because a woman makes customers more comfortable in a quilt shop.” change it to “denied jobs I’m highly qualified for because a man makes customers more comfortable in a garage/insert just about any business type you like here…” The point is women KNOW what this feels like on a daily basis and have done for centuries (literally), but suddenly a man comes into the picture and we’re all supposed to throw our hands up in horror. So you were overlooked for a job in a quilt shop because of your gender, yeah, and?!?!?

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      • I know this problem exists and I have been incredibly outspoken about it. I campaigned for equal pay for women. I wrote letters. I called out legislators who voted against it. And not once did I belittle a woman who had difficulty in the workplace or in seeking employment. so “AND?” is the fucking difference. AND, I never slighted someone or made them feel less than worthy of being heard. I never made someone feel like they were whiny or insignificant, so I find the blog post to be insulting as fuck. There’s your “AND?”. I know the motherfucking struggle, okay? Shitting on someone else for the same thing, just because they don’t have a god damn uterus doesn’t make your struggle more compelling, now does it? It just makes you an asshole. Welcome to the world of most men. When we criticize women, we’re misogynists. When you criticize men, you’re feminists and enriching the world. Regardless, we’re wrong. You’re right. Congratufuckinglations. You win. I’m a total bastard. Thanks for the fucking lesson. I’m sure the Nobel committee is ringing your phone off the hook. I’ll continue helping people, boosting their skills, answering their questions, walking them through their problems, and listening to their valid concerns. But I won’t take abuse for it. Anger only gets you more of it. Best of luck in your journey. You have a long fucking way to go.

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  21. These are direct quotes from YOUR orginal blog:

    This one is in reference to your reply that you are simply upset over the title of the show, but not that it was an all-male show. That definitely wasn’t the idea conveyed in the original post:
    “Irene honey, if you’re the exhibits manager, don’t you have a say in whether this “man only” show tradition the museum has had going since 1992, can keep going? Why are you pandering to the patriarchal bullshit we have been dealing with since the dawn of time?”

    This is the one I find laughable. You say in your comment above that men are equal and welcome in the quilting industry, but in your original post you make this wholly UNWELCOMING statement:
    “As far as claiming that there is a “gender barrier” for men in “our” quilt world, you can just screw right off if you believe that people men. Bitching and moaning that you’re not as welcome, or that people assume you’re the husband when you’re in a quilt shop, really? That must be rough.”

    This MIGHT have been where you assumed I was implying meaning into your original words, but it doth, that you are hinting at the fact that these men are being recognized simply for being men, but not for the quality of their work. I did (and do) find this insulting.
    “But a man can start quilting, and seemingly months into it, is making a living and being invited to fricken museums for solo shows. Or having fundraisers to get a machine, or pay for a one man traveling exhibition. Well I call bullshit. Double bullshit!”

    Here is an exact example of the team mentality I referred to (note the use of “us” and “we as a gender”:
    “Pretty much every business that profits from we quilters, is owned by a man; fabric companies, machine companies, thread companies, etc. Men are profiting from us, when we as a gender can’t readily make a profit from this industry that is keeping them housed and fed comfortably.”

    This is the part where you sum it all up and basically call for a boycott against male owned quilting businesses:
    “It is time we start helping each other (ourselves) and stop giving one of the few businesses that WE should be profiting from to some guy who decided it might be neat to learn to sew on a button.”

    Please enlighten me as to where I went wrong in assessing the tone and intent of your article.

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    • You, the tone in your response illicit a nothing but eye rolls. Can you take some of the sarcasm and pettiness out of your sentence structure and think about how one is expected to receive your response? Because I think you *may* have a valid argument in there, but I can’t read past your teenage “whatever-I-want-to-do” attitude.

      Not sure what the relevance of Donald Trump was, as I am not aware of his presence in the quilting industry.

      Not sure how Steph’s political views are relevant to this article.

      Not sure if we’re actually reading the same article.

      The petty teenager in me wants you to choke on a dick.

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    • I admit that my original statement did not actually convey what my intent was. My intent was not that the men not have a showcase, but merely that they not use NOT being women as a selling factor to the show (and I did put responsibility on the fact that the curators are instigating this), but rather they have male only shows that simply showcase them as a community. The anger at being referred to as “Girls” as we are generally all women (yes, of course there are some younger girl quilters I have no doubt) is where I got stuck. Also, I would like to note that I tried to put my gender words in quotation marks not as an emphasis on them, but rather as a way of heading off the idea that it is “ours”, etc.

      I most definitely did NOT call for a boycott of male owned quilting businesses. I asked that we try and start supporting our female owned businesses. I stated “give the male dominated companies a run for their profits”, which obviously implies that those men are still there.

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    • Jeff, I’m not sure what your intent in posting this link was. The title “MEN WHO QUILT: A NEW STITCH IN THE HISTORY OF AN AMERICAN TRADITION.” Sort of just reinforces what I am saying. The title of the story alone lets people know they should pay attention because it’s about men doing it now. It’s not generally the content of the articles that I object to. I love learning about other quilters. What I ask is, why can’t that article be called: Jeff Rutherford: Carrying on an American Tradition? The reason why is deep, because when it says “Men” its serves as: click bait because it’s an oddity – a male quilter and it also says “Whoah, listen up a man is doing this, it must be valid.” It’s pervasive and because we are raised in a male dominated society, no one (men or women) tend to realize the invisible ways that the inequality keeps being self-perpetuated. Do you want to be known as a male quilter, or as a good quilter?

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      • I thought I was coming late to the story, but perhaps not. A newspaper is, among other things, in the business of selling papers. One way it does that is through feature stories such as the one about Jeff. The interesting part of the story is not that there is a new quilter around, but that there is a “man” who has entered what has been a primarily female domain. It is the same kind of story as those we see about “Jane Doe: a woman fighting fires” or “two women actually complete special forces training.” The story is not about those that are the same, but about which one is different. The museum is the same way. Admittedly, it could have been more sensitive in choosing an exhibit subtitle, but at the same time “no boys allowed” or “no girls allowed” are statements that we all grew up with and that strike in many of us childhood memories and smiles.

        Likewise, Kevin Stankewicz could have chosen his words with more care. I suspect instead of “hate” he meant “anger.” But sift out the meat from between the inflammatory language and he has a point. Were there women urging a boycott of the exhibit because of the name? Were any letters written to the museum Director or Board of Trustees. Any picketers? I think this is the kind of thing Kevin is referring to when he is talking about activism on one’s own behalf.

        Seems to me that there is a lot of plain old ranting going on but not a lot of action to change things. I haven’t read Luke’s post yet, but I’m going there as soon as I get through these comments. I came here via Molli Sparkles. I, for one, am glad he continued the discussion on his blog (where else should he express his opinion?). Or I wouldn’t have found my way here.

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  22. You referred to women quilters as a “team” and advised your readers to choose sides. Those are your words, not mine. It is laughable that you begin this blog post with such divisive words and then propel yourself into an argument for equality. You are actually, whether you realize it or not, WEAKENING your own argument for equality. When men can do whatever they choose, and do it well, even if it had previously been viewed as something women primarily do, then we will have made a stride toward true equality. Ruth Bader Ginsberg, when asked how many seats on SCOTUS should be filled by women, she replied (paraphrased) “All of them. SCOTUS has historically been all men and no one batted an eye.” The same concept could be applied here. Let the men in. Let them have their shows in galleries and fans (whether male or female). Are you saying the quality of their work sub-standard? That was never addressed in your article. Your premise is to exclude them simply based on their gender. Do they quilt with their penises? Should they be excluded from other activities? Can you tell us what art forms you deem appropriate for men? Where may they excel? Seriously, you said some very provocative and (IMO) insulting things.

    Also, for the record, I am a woman, although I am not on any team. (My name doesn’t identify me as one gender or the other so I thought I would clarify). I support all humans, doing what they love and trying to inspire and support others who endeavor to do the same. If you REALLY want to win a battle in the fight for equality, I would kindly suggest that you stop seeing this issue via a gender biased lens and just support the art of quilting and ANYONE who brings visibility to it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My point was not about excluding men, that is your biased take on it. My point was that we are faced yet again with being paid less than our male counterparts for the same work – and this time in a field that had been predominant female and underpaid the whole time at that. I was asking people to take the side of the team that wants equality. I refuse to argue over a claim that somehow men are the minority now and need our support, because it’s baseless. For the record, I never said their quilting skills were poor (nor did I say that all of them even do their own quilting), nor did I ask the be excluded from quilting or any other career. However, naming and participating in a show called “No Girls Allowed” is exclusionary in its tone – I’m still not saying there shouldn’t be men only shows, merely that the title is offensive and backward. I’m pretty sure titles like “No Coloreds Allowed” or “No Jews Allowed” wouldn’t be accepted (and to make sure I am clear on this, I am using the word “Colored” in a historical sense as its a word I do not use or ascribe to.) It’s okay that you disagree and also okay that you clearly do not like me. It’s not okay however, to apply intent and meaning to my words that isn’t there.

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  23. Let me make sure I have this right: Did you really (in 2016) just advise your readers to “stick with the team”? What team is that? Ladies team? Quilter team? Quilter Ladies team??

    Divisive much?

    I am happy to see people interested in the arts. Whatever it is that peaks their interest, I’m all for that. If seeing men take up an art form and bring visibility to what most see as “women’s work” inspires someone to express themselves through quilting or any other medium, then I am for it. Whatever breaks down the boundaries and walls in any arena of our society gets my support.

    I can’t believe the whiny-ass ninny picking load of crap I just read. Let me guess: you’re also voting for Donald Trump? Because, you know, he is a man, and someone on the Men’s Team ALWAYS gets to be POTUS, and you tend to like segregation in all its forms. You are consistent like that.

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    • Where to begin? First of all, I’m definitely not voting for Trump, and I’ve been openly Democrat pretty much my entire life. And to use this article as some sort of proof that I “like segregation” seems illogical at best, given what I am asking for is women’s work in the quilt work (art world) to have the same value as that of men. It’s very interesting that you are defending the concept of a a title like “No Girls Allowed” but are offended when I turn the table and refer to a team (as if I were the instigator of that.) But since you asked, I was referring to a team that (I hoped) consisted of both women and men that support women getting equal rights and equal pay. But again, I am still stuck at and baffled by the left field Donald Trump comment. Good day to you.

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  24. I don’t agree with everything you write. I have been selling Accuquilt cutters and dies for 5 years and in the last six months started manufacturing our own Australian made Fabric Cutting dies. It is my business, and I have a wonderful partner who is a great quilter, but does so very quietly because of reactions he may get from people like yourself. He is mathematically a genius and can visualize a quilt when we are just discussing a concept. So, he goes into the studio and cuts shapes to explain better. He can work out seam allowances on triangles better than I can and showed (proved) how having a curve in a quilt can make the quilt stronger and less liable to get broken stitches from rough treatment. So.. he is a quiet quilter while I design a new fabric die and it’s packaging on the computer. If I have quilts from customers.. he quilts them. So, is the fact that I am designing and using a computer controlled steel rule bender to make dies mean there is some guy out there complaining? Some men are great quilters, so are some women… but not all male quilters and not all female quilters.

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  25. It is the standard line in our culture and society that nothing has any value until the white man comes along and gives it any. It is great to see a Feminist perspective on this aspect of a traditionally women’s role and skill. It ties in with the historical examination of sexism, patriachy and handicrafts in ‘The Subversive Stitch’ by Rozika Parker.

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    • Case in point here, my entire discussion that I opened up, has moved to a man’s blog over at Molli Sparkles. I would not have know about the article, had a kind reader of my blog not directed me to an Instagram post from Molli (where I also found belittling and demeaning comments about myself.) So this discussion obviously can take place properly unless it’s moved into a man’s territory. And misread me, I’m not blaming the men. The women went there. The women engaged. /sigh

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  26. Simply put, women should not have to “fight” to receive gender equality and equal pay. And claiming that “there is so much hate” I take as another way to refer to me as a being a bitch or “too aggressive”, which is ironic as you’ve told me to fight to be treated as a equal human being.

    And we are not treated like shit (and raped and underpaid) because as you claim we are “happy to be”. It’s because we’ve never been viewed as anything other than property, which as a white male (albeit is a gay one) have never had to experience. Gay men could own property and be paid equally if they (in the past), hid their sexuality. Are we to find a way to hide pie gender then?

    You’ve essentially pulled the white male bullshit argument that somehow we “deserve” where we are.

    And to say my writing this article is “bitching” is just another example of the misogynistic crap we deal with. It’s not “bitching”, it’s a calm to arms to the women in the community to stand together and hold eachother up.

    Also? How about you stop referring to us as “girls”, we are women. And our big woman panties are on every day while we raise children, support our families, make art, donate to charities, and birth boys who will one day grow up and berate women for wanting to be treated as equals.

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  27. Wow, there is so much hatred going on here it is almost impossible to figure out what is going on. All apparently because a small quilt museum in Colorado hosts a show every other year featuring male quilters. Some they have done twelve times before because it is one of there biggest shows. Presumably because many many women come to see it, since there aren’t that many men interested in quilting.

    But the real issue here seems to be the horrible way women are treated by men in this country. They don’t get paid enough and their bodies aren’t their own and they have to cook and clean and take care of the parents and then they are raped and blamed for it. It’s so unfair! Well, you know what – women are treated like shit by men in this country because women are happy to be treated like shit by men. Because if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be. Look, gays are 5 percent of the population of this country, but they’ve gone from being pariahs fifty years ago to largely accepted today. They’ve done that because they stopped being victims and started fighting back. Women were never pariahs, but they were largely voiceless until they got the vote 100 years ago. But despite being 50 percent of the population you’ve made less headway than gays in twice the time. And the reason for that is that you don’t want it enough. Too many of you have been happy to let men run everything from the car to the country.

    So instead of bitching about things, put on your big girl panties and do something about it. Start your own quilt show and companies, start demanding equal pay, vote out the assholes who want to control your clothes and your vagina. Because the only adversary that a man respects is the one that fights back. And the one he respects is the one he admires also.

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    • So a woman stating her view of a personal experience is hatred and yet you are laying the blame for all the issues she outlines at her feet (as if the author is responsible for implementation and continuation of the patriachy) while at the same time demanding she get angry and demand her rights be recognised and thus the problem fixed. Thank goodness you came along to mansplain a way to a solution.

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      • I knew at the outset that I was in a lose/lose situation posting this most likely. I have grown up as a woman, knowing that I’m expected to fight for equality, all the while being shamed for aggressively asking to have equal opportunities. Somehow, in a woman asking for equality, it is always immediately received and retaliated again as somehow asking for “special treatment”. It’s infuriating, and leaves many women feeling guilty for asking to be equal.

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    • “women are treated like shit by men in this country because women are happy to be treated like shit by men. Because if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be”. Quite honestly this is one of the most offensive and ridiculous statements I have ever read. As if anyone (male or female) is happily raped. I can’t even begin to express how angry this makes me and I am shaking as I type. Opening up a discussion about gender and quilting is one thing but making sweeping and ignorant remarks about why women are being oppressed and sexually abused makes you part of the problem.

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    • Kevin, how am I supposed to take your condescending rhetoric seriously? “go put on your big girl panties”…..? FOH. You’re kidding me…right? You can take a seat. Take a billion.

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  28. I’m not capable of leaving a comment tonight. MANY hours of driving today, followed by a drink (JUST ONE!) and there ya go. But yes, I have a few opinions here and will try to articulate tomorrow.

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  29. Thanks so much for the shout out 🙂 You make some great points in your article – there were a number of comments on my post about ‘men only’ shows and what that means. I’m based in the UK and in a pretty remote location compared to denser populated areas, so far I haven’t come across ‘men only’ quilt shows (that’s not to say there aren’t any though). But that doesn’t mean they don’t piss me off! (What starts in the US often seems to drift to the UK.)

    It feels like so many women don’t notice inherent sexism, or make light of it as harmless, some go further and ridicule people like me labelling us Feminists, and worse. Take the title of the show ‘No Girls Allowed!’ I guess it’s meant to sound funny and harmless, we’ve heard it so often it feels a bit meaningless. Well, change it to ‘No Women Allowed!’ (we’re adults after all…) – how does it sound now, how does it feel: hostile, sexist, like a show you wouldn’t want to visit, or aren’t even meant to visit?

    Take the article Luke Haynes wrote on his blog that I referred to (the one where he was asking not to be differentiated by his gender), has anyone thought about the image he chose to illustrate it with? Of all of his quilts (and, please, I’ve never said I don’t like them – but I think there’s an assumption I don’t), he chose to illustrate the article with an enormous quilt with a HAMMER in the middle of it! If that isn’t asserting his male gender I don’t know what is! Hammers on a bed quilt, what does THAT say? It feels threatening, violent, intimidating…it makes me think of the women that sleep under quilts that have no right to their own bodies (historically and presently); in fact the notion of sleeping under a hammer makes me think of (and feel) the powerlessness of women all over the world. It’s all about context. It’s a strong image, technically it looks interesting, graphically it’s exciting. If a woman had made it, the context would be entirely different – it would be highlighting that powerlessness, centuries of oppression. Instead, made by a man, it asserts power *over* women (by dint of the fact quilts are generally made by women). I find these kinds of thoughts endlessly fascinating (and my conclusions often troubling). I don’t know what LH was thinking when he made this quilt, or why he used it to illustrate his article, but whether it’s quilters like LH or curators like Irene Berry I suggest they seriously think about what they’re saying (with words or their work) and the CONTEXT they’re saying it in.

    Phew! Thanks for letting me get that off my chest 😀 As I said, a very thought provoking article, thank you!

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    • I find your take on hammers surprising because to me it means something totally different. I was brought up around tools and was encouraged to use them and have quite a good collection of them that I have acquired and enjoyed over the years. To me a hammer means possibility, creativity and industry. If I want something I can, and will build it if I have the proper tools. Consider it is possible that his choice of the hammer quilt has actually nothing to do with the amazingly negative and oppressive qualities you have assigned to it.

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      • Hmm that’s really interesting – and that’s what I LOVE about these kinds of discussions! It’s not the way it makes me feel, but I can see why you would. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the Yorkshire Ripper here in the UK? It was a violent and hideous serious of murders carried out by Peter Sutcliffe, that was sensational for all sorts of reasons. It happened when I was a teenager. He murdered at least 13 women (a number of them prostitutes) up and down the country and there was a palpable sense of fear and it went on for years. He murdered many of the women with…a hammer! Luke’s image brings up all sorts of anxieties for me – and maybe this event from my childhood is the root cause of it!!

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    • Also, I never said I didn’t want all male shows. I just ask that maybe the curators and artists themselves take a stand and start using names that are respectful to women. Instead of “No Girls Allowed” how about just “A Collection of Male Quilters”, “Men and Their Work”. Just the fact that the can garner an audience based off of a name that exemplifies them NOT being women, instead of exemplifying that it’s a male only show is to me, the pure personification of the exact inherent (and unnoticed apparently) sexism that we are facing. It is so ingrained, that no one takes notice or offense. It implies wanting to be noticed because they aren’t women and are an oddity, rather than for the great work they are doing. If I were a man, I guess I would want receive accolades for what I am (a good quilter) versus what I am not (a woman).

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  30. In many respects, I agree with the points you’ve made here. I’ve seen it happen many times, although, in all fairness, there are some very talented men around too. Many of those I know are ALSO frustrated by this.

    What I agree most about, though, is your comment about the women who fawn over male quilters. This is so absolutely beneath the dignity of ANYone. What I would love to see most is everybody respected for their skills, talents, and vision, regardless of gender. WHY does gender even have to be part of the equation?

    I do own a business, by the way. I’m an AQS – certified quilt appraiser. In addition to appraisals, I teach, lecture, and act as textile consultant to museums in my area. I am a lifelong quiltmaker, and own family quilts made by men long before it was a thing. And you know what? It just WAS, no biggie.

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    • Imagine how helpful if those men were outspoken and used their position of privilege as a platform to help advocate for us. That along with women starting to really support our fellow women creators would probably go a long ways towards helping close the gap between our pay and recognition in this field, and that of men’s.

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