She’s a feminist…and she quilts, too!

This one is a bit of a ramble.  Apologies in advance.

On a recent weekend, I found myself getting out my sewing machine, finding some unfinished quilt squares, and deciding it was time to once again focus on decluttering.  I feel like I’m doing that in a lot of areas of my life right now: decluttering.  Over the course of the last couple of months, as stress at work has increased in some ways, I find myself wanting to take back control of some aspect of my life.  And for now, that seems to be reducing the “extras.”  So, I saw the piles of fabric and the quilt that I think I love that has been gnawing at the back of my mind, and decided that I’d get back to making some progress in this area.  I find a lot of peace of mind in quilting.  It’s similar to the peace of mind and positivity that comes from cooking.  There’s a process.  Sometimes, there isn’t a right or a wrong, but there are some steps that need to be taken in order to achieve success.

In all actuality, five years ago when I was applying to my doctoral program, I wrote my admissions essay about this.  About the process of quilting.  About how in my last position, I came to appreciate my process orientation and recognize the ways in which process was important to me.  It’s also one of the ways I recognize I can leave a project half finished or rush through the end of it, although I usually get frustrated afterwards.

In the intersection of my academic life and my quilting life, I often think about what a contradiction it is that I love quilting so much.  I’m a feminist, through and through.  It’s a part of who I am.  In a lot of ways, through the definition that feminists are folks who think all folks should have some equality, I’ve always been a feminist.  It’s a little disappointing to see the number of young women celebrities who are asked about being a feminist and who are not willing to own the term, even when they clearly celebrate feminist ideals.  Similar to my discussion a few days ago about privilege, I think the label of feminist can be a political label to assume, which is unfortunate, but is where society stands at the moment.

Perhaps, on the other hand, these women are afraid to assume the label because it sometimes seems as though feminism does not allow for all aspects of one’s identity to play out.  Yet, if that were the case, I doubt I would be such a fan of spending some free time on domestic areas of my life on occasion.  Instead, I’d be insisting on living in the academic or advancing womanhood.  Does feminism allow for several forms of one’s identity to intersect?  Is it an identity or a political stance?

For me, I guess, feminism is an identity, and a political stance.  As Carol Hanisch stated, “The personal is political.”  Does this mean that I agree with every stance that the feminist movement (whatever that is at the point)?  No.  But, where do I agree with anything without also questioning it?

So, I guess, I need feminism to allow me to be domestic.  To allow me to enjoy quilting and cooking and being all of the things that I am.  But, as a quilter and a cook, I also need to believe that there is importance in being a feminist.


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