In the time between now, when the plus size self-acceptance movement has finally found its legs, and before, when obesity was not A Thing, fat shaming ruled the land. In a way it had always been there, policing people to eat and exercise to avoid being fat. But if you got fat, you weren’t shamed; you might be teased or made the butt of jokes, but it was never anything malicious — until it was.
It suddenly became okay to comment on what someone was eating, wearing, or doing, as long as they were fat. You were ‘concerned for their health’. As a fattie, I had many embarrassing encounters with fat shaming that only reinforced that yes, people were judging me and criticizing me and looking down on me. I dieted here and there, exercised compulsively here and there, and fasted/starved myself here and there, and my weight went up and down accordingly.
But is #sewingshame the same thing as fat shaming, just because they share that same trigger word?
I think not. This #sewingshame post by marjoriesews illustrates what the hashtag is really about! She photographed her sewing space in its real condition and wrote, “…I hope this mess helps all other sewing and fabric stash addicts know that you are not alone.” Sewing is a solitary activity nowadays, and most of us who sew have few or no sewing friends, and so lack the concept of what is ‘normal’ as far as sewing goes. It’s human nature to want to blend in with a group, but without a sense of what the group is doing, how can we?
Well, we can join sewalongs, contests, challenges (ooh, a tie in to my next post!); we can post on social media and use hashtags; we can go to conferences (Mimi G) and destination meetups (Patterm Review); throw parties (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic); and invite people over for sewing play dates (I’m looking at you Allspice Abounds!). But those are special occasions. What about the every day? How neat should our cutting tables be? How should we store pins? How bad is it that we don’t put our patterns away after pulling them out? Or finish our WIPs in a timely fashion? Sharing our #sewingshame allows us to get feedback on these and other questions, and bond through our imperfections. #sewingshame is nothing like fat shaming, because it brings openness, sharing, and creates discussion, and enables the sewing community to bond in yet another way.
And for the record, I bought envelopes and I’m putting all those patterns into them. :-p