The Guardian has an article that sums up the recent discussion around cultural appropriation and inclusivity that has been going on in the sewing and knitting community, the latest being the reactions on Instagram around Papercut Patterns Kochi jacket (formerly known as Kochi Kimono).
The writer has done a well-rounded job in her reporting I think, and it’s not often that the sewing community is being featured in mainstream media, but I can see why because there is a bigger lesson here to learn for many of us.
As a white “norm-woman” it’s oftentimes deeply unsettling to realise exactly how blind I am to my given privileges, and unfortunately, defensiveness or even dismissiveness can be default reactions when being reminded of these privileges. Which I think is one cause behind what we have seen lately on social media and on blogs.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do think it is incredibly important to listen emphatically and take in other people’s perspective – we always have to be open to learn and reevaluate our stands on things. Especially as a white person, since I was never questioned or marginalised the way people of colour have been. Hence why I, like many others in my position, have done culturally insensitive missteps without even realising it.
And to be honest, as a woman, I really should know better. Since I’m painfully aware of what it’s like to be a woman in a man’s world, So when I get frustrated with how some men will not acknowledge their privileges, I should also hold up a mirror and reflect on my own values as well.
Because, to be honest, life can be unfair, and where we were born and how we look, will often determine the outcome of things. And while we all have our struggles, some of us have been given an easier ride than others in regards to some things. And that’s okay to admit.
For more perspectives on this, you can read my interview with Rumana of #sewincolour and in my latest newsletter, the interview I did with Michelle Morris of Sewn Magazine also addresses the issue of representation.