Ok so, in our sewing room at college, a room used almost entirely by young, impressionable girls who are naturally concerned mostly about their waist lines and breast size anyway, we have a picture of a stark naked pin-up. I understand why we have pictures of girls in corsets, I understand why we have pictures of skinny, beautiful girls wearing (very little) high end designer wear down a catwalk. I get it, I don’t like it, but I get it. But why do we have this? She’s naked. She hasn’t got a stitch on her.
A friend and I were once sitting at the sewing machines, when I took a break. I looked up at the poster and said to her “Doesn’t that make you feel totally inadequate?” (referring to how skinny the pin-up was) and my friend says “You? You’re about four times the size of me!” Initially I was shocked, until I realised she was referring to her breast size, something I’d overlooked.
Maybe it’s me being over sensitive or easily angered- but it just seemed wrong to me. There has been a suggestion for a long time that it ought to be changed. Should we take her down and replace her with women we ought to look up to, women relevant to our subject? A picture of Vivienne Westwood, perhaps? The main flaw in the plan was that the room is closely guarded – we can’t be left unsupervised in the room, lest we sew ourselves together, or something. And the main woman who does supervise us is the type of woman that would find such an act nonsensical and think nothing more than the original picture looked good, and would be unable to see the bigger picture. In short, she’s an idiot.
In an unfortunate turn of events, the poor lass got ill. We got cover in the form of our other teacher’s cover. With two uptight teachers taken ill, we had only a woman from a fine art background, and a feminist too. We saw our chance. We took it.
Alas, we weren’t prepared- we had only the resources in the room and a short time span to work in. So we figured the best course of action was to clothe the pin-up. Acrylic felt was fished for in the fabric bins and snips were made and PVA glue was the bonding agent, not enough time for stitching. Up she went, this time masquerading as the ever present symbol of feminine power, Rosie Riveter.
I feel proud of myself today.