The new administration has a lot of people scared. No, make that terrified. With actual threats to health insurance, cabinet appointments that seem contrary to what each department is supposed to do, and a habit of firing off tweets that contradict known evidence, it’s easy to be disheartened. Some comments and supporters have made it seem that anyone who is not white, Christian, male and rich will be targeted either directly or indirectly.
In the face of this, some people are standing up to speak who haven’t spoken before. I don’t know if I’m one of them, as those who know me know I speak up about some things on a regular basis, but maybe I don’t use the platform I have effectively enough. So I may try to do something about that.
As this is primarily a quilter’s blog, what does quilting have to do with societal tensions? There is actually an easy answer to that. Picture a quilter in your mind. What do you see? If the answer is an older woman, Caucasian, sitting at a large frame with other older, Caucasian women, well, you’ve just defined the problem. Quilters are not all women, they are not all retirement age, they are not all Caucasian. Heck, they aren’t even all hand quilters. And while this might seem like common sense, the practice of it isn’t.
I didn’t think much about it until I started reading the blog of the Bad Ass Quilters Society. I mean, I knew what the stereotypes were, and I always encouraged every quilter I met regardless of who they are, but I didn’t think about the kinds of discrimination faced by those who fall outside the stereotypes. So my first goal is to think more about it. My second goal is to help others think more about it. (It’s unlikely you know my blog and not Maddie’s, but if you haven’t checked out BAQS you need to go do that today.)
When you find out a man is a quilter, are you surprised? Does it depend on what kind of quilt he has made? Does it depend on whether you already knew him or not?
Does a quilt made by a person of color have to be like a Gee’s Bend quilt for you to consider that person a quilter? Would you head toward a different part of the quilt store if you saw a person of color come in? Does a quilt that proclaims #BlackLivesMatter bother you?
When you see a quilt hanging on the wall, do you think less of it because it is more “traditional”, or because of how it’s quilted, or if it is “modern”, or if it would never be put on a bed?
Are quilts only “art” when they hang on a wall and have lots of ornamentation?
Are most quilts not art because they are “women’s work”?
Most people will recognize there are loaded questions in there. But my point is, every quilter, of every skin color, every talent level, every income level, every gender, is a quilter. Some quilts might be better constructed, some quilts might use color schemes or patterns you prefer, but everyone is a quilter and an artist. And once we can get to the point where all quilters are treated equally, maybe that will start being reflected more in the rest of our society.