There’s no dancing around the issue, so I’m just going to come out and say it.
I’m a feminist.
A radical, equality-love’n, girl-power karate-kick’n feminist (I’m not totally sure karate has anything to do with feminism, but it sounded good in the moment).
I believe that intrinsically women are equal to men and deserve equal respect and rights. I also believe that you don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist. Feminism is not a female issue. It’s a human rights issue. I know many intelligent and empathetic men who call themselves feminists.
Too often fighting for women’s rights becomes synonymous with man-hating. This couldn’t be further from the truth. By definition, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are, and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.
Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…It’s about freedom.
But what does feminism look like for me? An encouraging word. A creative collaboration. Reminding other women and myself that there is enough room for all of us to succeed.
Her success does NOT equal my failure. In fact, her success means the success of a movement of love and equality. By allowing my specific strengths to shine, I believe that I am able to prove that as a woman I am not the same as a man. I am just equal to a man.
This may seem a little heavy for a quilting blog, but it’s a philosophy that can be found at the foundation of all that I do with Suzy Quilts. If you are a woman or a man, I want you to feel empowered to be creative and strengthened by the knowledge that I am in your corner! I am rooting for you to succeed and I see YOUR success as MY success!
I have the privilege of being close friends with some very creative people. My friend Michelle Reed is a published poet, fellow feminist and the bestest dog-sitter in Chicagoland. Scrap can’t get enough of her. She wrote a poem a couple years ago that has stuck with me and become a kind of mantra in my life.
This poem was originally published by Bird’s Thumb and will also be showing up in her book coming out this fall. Michelle is now letting me share this with you.
Poem for Jillian Michaels
by Michelle Reed
I find your videos on the internet,
and my body begins
the strange process of addition
and subtraction. You say,
kick harder, and I kick
harder. You make a fist,
and I make one too. I lose
myself in shapes I never knew
my limbs could make. Jillian,
I have been told so many times
that I am small. I practice violence
in the mirror every morning.
I watch myself cross-jab,
uppercut. I try to move
faster, better, more
like you. My mother is worried
about me, but she shouldn’t be.
How do I explain it, Jillian?
I don’t want less of myself,
of what’s strong. I think of you
when I walk down the street
alone. Men look at me,
and I want them to see
a weapon. Jillian,
I want them to be afraid.
You sweat as you lunge
toward me, and you say, You
can do this. You’re not gonna
die, and you’re wrong.
We are both going to die,
Jillian, both of us will quit
when we’re old or broken,
but I promise you, Jillian,
I promise we will never
You may be asking yourself, what does all of this have to do with a quilt. I wanted to describe a point of view for an adjective that I like to use, and I wanted to make sure that it was not misunderstood.
By definition, all this word really means is “pertaining to a woman or a girl.”
As the designer and creator of this Gingham Spring quilt, feminine is a word I would use to describe it. Other words I would use to describe this quilt are subtle, bold yet restrained, cheerful and vibrant. In my mind, the word “feminine” is synonymous with those words too.
If you’ve made it this far, and haven’t given up on this blog post yet, the feeling I would want you to walk away with is encouragement. Whether you are male or female, please be encouraged that through lifting each other up and empowering each other’s creativity, we ALL succeed – equally.