Posted by Susan Liane, The Smuggler's Daughter on 8/12/2015
Plenty of you have followed the recent goings on with the very beautiful sewing blogger “Cashmerette” aka Jenny. She blogs about her wonderful sewing projects and the particulars of plus size sewing, sharing her experiences and expertise freely in the sewing community. www.cashmerette.com
Sadly, we got reminded that plus size women often get hostility directed at them. A young man in his 20s went on her Instagram page and told her that not only was she not attractive to him, but that she should lay off the cake. Basically, he presumed that she is a piece of public property and that he is entitled to comment on her appearance and body size, in addition to telling her what she should and shouldn’t eat.
Afterall, how dare Jenny not care that she may not fit the predominant media enforced “ideal” of a woman’s size and shape. (Neither do 98% of the rest of us.) How dare she not be ashamed of who she is and how she looks. How dare she present herself as the beautiful, intelligent and creative person she is.
What happened next made me so proud to be part of the sewing community. In support of Jenny, hundreds of people, mostly sewists, posted pictures of themselves eating cake, and a few other goodies. The sewing community resoundingly denounced the bad behavior of the internet troll who posted the insulting comments and supported Jenny for who she is and what she contributes to the sewing world.
Interestingly enough, it was about a week later during the Republican presidential debate when Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly confronted Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate for President of the United States, about his history of hostility toward women. “You’ve called women you don’t like, ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ slobs, and disgusting animals.” In context, this was a political debate, a forum in which all of the candidates were being challenged to explain themselves and their opinions.
It is worth noting that Donald Trump is not acting as an anonymous internet troll, hiding behind an avatar. He is openly and proudly stating that it is only “Rosie O’Donnell” that he has insulted with sexist name-calling and nasty comments about her appearance. The leading Republican presidential candidate went on to say “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her whatever” in reference to Megyn Kelly’s question.
It is also worth noting that The Donald received considerable applause for these comments and that he leads the Republican candidate pack by double digits. In other words, his sexist and insulting behavior seems to be helping, not hurting his candidacy. His efforts to justify his overtly disrespectful and sexist behavior behind statements about just not being “politically correct” seem to be working. Donald Trump has a lot of support for his behavior and so does that internet troll who originally insulted Jenny.
What has all this got to do with sewing? Plenty. The fact that we neither fit the size nor the image of the ideal American woman has always been a major motivation for those of us who sew our own clothes. Sewing our own clothing has been a way to have clothing that fits comfortably in any size and that demonstrates our creative abilities and technical skills. The products of our sewing are our creative masterpieces, the polar opposite of any attempt to fit in to RTW sizes or styles. They are part of the celebration of our essence and our worth which is not found in being attractive to the likes of Donald Trump and other misogynist men.
So shame on you Mr. Trump. And shame on anyone, Republican or Democrat, who uses a political platform to spread hate and disrespect. But most of all, shame on anyone who supports and/or votes for someone who does this. It is not any effort to be “politically correct" that is the problem in this country - it is you.
As for the rest of us, what if we all vote for candidates who behave respectfully toward men and women, who do not resort to name-calling when they are challenged with opposing opinions. What if we were to live and sew in a world where no one respects or supports misogynists who insult women for not being sexually appealing to them personally. What if we were all to enjoy a piece of cake.
Hurray! Huzzah! Bravo! I'm proud to be part of this community.
I was, BTW, surprised and impressed by the fact that Megyn Kelly asked that question. I have never liked her--she has always struck me as a classic example of a woman whose beauty is being used by Fox rather than her mind. The constant display of her legs and body seems to me so clearly designed to appeal to men, and I have always thought that her complicity meant that she takes this as acceptable. The fact that she asked her question indicates to me that she at least sees it as a problem, even if she accepts it as a condition of her employment.
Thanks Wendy - I know what you mean about Megyn Kelly, but even if she is basically trading on her looks, she did hold to the facts about how this man has addressed women he doesn't like, or whose looks he doesn't like. I, too, give her credit for that.