I belong to several Facebook quilting groups. The groups are wonderful, a sort of modern quilting bee or guild meeting with no time constraints. Any time day or night there are avid quilters sharing what they are working on, beginning quilters asking for help, advanced quilters sharing tips. It really is wonderful!
But there is one thing that really bothers me, (and since you are reading my blog and know I am a man I know you aren’t one of the offenders) Gender Bias.
I can’t tell you how many Facebook posts I read in these groups that start with “Ladies I have a question…” or “Good morning Ladies I want share…” How hard is it to say “I have a question” or “good morning I want to share” rather than making it gender based by inserting Ladies?
Sometimes if I respond to one of the posts I will preface it by saying “I’m not a lady but….”
I have been called “girlfriend” more than once on Facebook by a person who assumed I was a woman.
One person posted on Facebook recently that she saw a man come into the quilt store and buy a sewing machine. He just went in and bought one without even asking questions…She “knew” it was for his wife, she could not even imagine what other reason a man would have to buy a sewing machine and thought it was terrible that he didn’t give it more thought or let his wife pick it out for herself. Never a though that he might have bought it for himself.
I have made a lot of quilts, I write for Quilters Digest, I have been featured in Quilters Newsletter, have had 6 quilts in AQS shows, won the best hand workmanship award…I really do know stuff and I love to share it but I prefer not being called a lady or dismissed as a fool.
There are many men who quilt but we often get treated as second class quilters. Today I went to the fabric store (large national chain) to pick up some thread and a piece of backing fabric. The aisles are very narrow with no room to pass. A “lady” wanted to get past me so I backed up out of the way down another aisle and as she stormed by I heard her muttering under her breath “what is he even doing here?” I have had clerks at fabric stores ask what my wife is making, or did my wife tell me what to buy. Today the lady at the cutting counter was wonderful, pleasant and efficient, but often I feel like they are begrudgingly waiting on me when there are so many more deserving people in line. It is the demeanor and tone of voice as well as the words. Comments like “are you sure you know what you are doing?” or “you realize this fabric is for quilting don”t you?” are common, accompanied by eye rolls and head wags and facial expressions that speak volumes.
I try to do most of my buying on-line, my computer doesn’t give me attitude and condescension but I shouldn’t feel less than welcome in any retail store.
I realize that women have had the same experience in male dominated venues. A friend of mine was once told by a car salesperson to come back with her husband before he would sell her a truck. (she went to another dealer and bought a new truck that night which I thought was great) It is not right to have a bias for what either gender has knowledge, skill or interest in.
So why write all this when I know that you aren’t guilty of it and it is just a minority? I just needed to get it off my chest. Thanks for listening 🙂 and thanks for inviting this man into your quilt world.
Now back to Quilts
I finished the center applique on this
I bought backing fabric for this
Started a plan for this fabric
worked on this
Something more uplifting next time