Today’s book is one that is quite timely given recent happenings in the US and certain behaviours and statements from a high-profile man whose name rhymes with “dump”, “rump” and “where the hell did you Americans find this chump?”. You know who I mean. We received a copy of Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton from the publisher via Netgalley and here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
This is what a feminist crafter looks like! Wear your ideology on your sleeve by creating feminist merit badges (like “started an all-girl band” or “rocked roller derby”). Prove that the political is personal with DIY power panties (“No means no”). Craft great feminist hero finger puppets (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo) or googly-eyed tampon buddies. Fun sidebars provide background on (s)heroes of the feminist movement.
Read it if:
*you’ve been looking for a simple, visible and slightly absurd way to stick it to the (random) man
*you’re hosting the next gathering of your Stitch and Bitch group and would also like to use up the last bits of bleach, glitter and fluffy fabric lying around in your craft drawer
*no one has ever described you as a shrinking violet
All in all, this is a bit of a silly book, with outlandish craft activities and a decent amount of tongue-in-cheek humour. But really, if there are craft books out there exhorting us to craft with cat hair or knit one’s own lingerie, why the hell shouldn’t there be a book featuring tutorials on creating vagina-shaped tree ornaments? Each to her own, I say.
Squarely aimed at the more “out-there” sort of feminist who is not afraid of body parts or inflammatory slogans, the book has step-by-step instructions on everything from felt merit badges (“Leg hair, don’t care” being my personal favourite), to stained glass candle decorations featuring strong female role-models (crafter’s own choice), and a huggable uterus body pillow, as well as the aforementioned vaginaments. The crafts mostly seem to be aimed at beginners, with no crochet or knit projects included (which Mad Martha found quite interesting), using basic sewing and other techniques that don’t need a lot of practice or preparation beforehand.
Between each project there are full-page quotes from famous ladies of history and handy lists of feminist-themed movies, books, songs and holidays, as well as suggestions for how to host a fun feminist crafternoon. Templates and information on supplies are listed throughout.
I don’t want to get bogged down in how truly feminist or otherwise the book is, but the projects clearly lean toward the sort of female-only feminism that excludes males from the conversation (and therefore from assisting in the fight for equality), which may be considered by some to be an outdated focus of the movement. On the other hand, it could be considered a champion of the safe-space, in which females are allowed to claim their bodies, voices and means of expression in whatever form they please.
Or, you know, it could just be intended as a fun, slightly outrageous crafting book and maybe we’re all overthinking it.
As craft books go, I’ve certainly come across weirder offerings, and as Mad Martha has already started rifling through the fabric box to find something suitably shiny from which to create her own “Feminist KillJoy” sash, I think I can safely say that this book will find a home with fun-loving ladies of a subversive nature.
Until next time,