Feminist youth and the importance of pockets.

Let’s face it, folks. I’ll never make a fortune doing what I do.

My design work is niche, and requires a certain level of commitment from a buyer before they can get all down and dirty with with one of my patterns. And that’s OK. These are the songs I sing, and I am grateful for the attention of those who care to listen.

But it does mean that my financial circumstances are thus that D and I have always needed an extra housemate to help with the burden of rent and utilities.

This past year and a half, we have been living with an actor whose 9-year-old daughter, J, comes to stay with him every other weekend.

Now, guys, I’m no huge fan of kids, but this young lady is seriously, the business.
J is smart, sensitive, perceptive, funny and kind. And my heart grows at least one size bigger when I hear her and her father discussing the matters of the day while they cook. It brightens my day to hear him speak to her with respect and patience, and to answer her slew of questions in measured, considered ways. It is a wonderful relationship and I am immensely glad she has that in her life.

She’s also taken to me in a big way, which is incredibly flattering.
I have taught her to crochet, we’ve harvested veggies from the garden, picked berries and made jam. We’ve given names to the hoverflies in the garden (Gordon, and Petunia, for the record), and marvelled at the huge spiders that occasionally bolt across an Irish autumn carpet. We’ve baked several birthday cakes together, and have had many interesting little chats on the nature of people, animals and gymnastics.

But it’s eye-opening, guys, to see the things this nine-year-old notices about the world;

She’s outright pointed out her thigh gap to me and noted that I didn’t have one.
She’s been straightening her hair for years already.
And she watches endless make-up tutorials on youtube.
She. Knows. How. To. Twerk.

The pressure to become society’s idea of the perfect woman is already on her little shoulders and it breaks my heart to see that happen so early – especially when compared to my own childhood only a stone’s throw from where we now live.

But, this post isn’t meant to be yet another lament on the lost youth of our glorious girls. It’s meant to be uplifting, so let’s get to the good part!

I have recently come to grips with my sewing machine, so my natural urge to design has broadened, and I’ve begun to make myself simple wrap-around dresses, and skirts, and I have all manner of plans to make a pair of trousers in the near future, too (ones with the waist in the right place and that may actually fit my thighs! omg, excitement!). Occasionally, J will hear the sewing machine going, and will pop in to see what I’m at.

One day, a few weeks ago, she did just that, so I took my bare foot off the sewing pedal, and explained that clothes in the shops are usually only made to fit a certain shape, and anyone outside of that shape will either have to deal with what’s available, or find ways to get clothes that fit them nicely. I told her that since I found it difficult to find clothes to fit comfortably, I was making some of my own.

She absorbed this with a pensive nod then asked me what bit I was sewing right now.
“The pockets”, I told her.
“I find that a lot of women’s clothes don’t have pockets, or only have tiny ones I can fit nothing into, so that’s something else that I can fix by making my own things.”
She was satisfied, and off she went to blow bubbles for Rosie to chase around our garden.

Cut to last week, folks.
In comes J with her suitcase and teddy bear, as per usual. She comes up to me with a big smile and says, “I got new shorts.” And she gestured to a new pair of denim cut-offs.
“They’re really nice,” I said “I bet they keep you nice and cool while you’re busy running around in all this sunshine.”

“Yea,” she replied. “And.. Look! They have huge pockets.”

About Aoibhe Ni

I'm a crochet shawl designer from Ireland. Feminist. Trekkie. Dog Lover.
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