Okay, if you haven’t seen the trailer for the new Netflix series Enola Holmes, it’s worth watching. And the show looks great! Except for one thing. Go ahead and watch it. I’ll wait. You’ll know it when you see it.
Mystery runs in the family.
Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, and Helena Bonham-Carter star in Enola Holmes pic.twitter.com/qtMYXW1KXh
— Netflix (@netflix) August 25, 2020
Yeah. Enola is Not Like Other Girls. And how did the writers decide to show that? She doesn’t know how to embroider! That’s right. Just like another “action-oriented” and “interesting” female character who is Not Like Other Girls. *cough*Arya*cough
Could we dispense with this incredibly tired cliché already? It’s as if writers are going “what is something old timey females did that’s really stupid and boring?” In other words, this device isn’t revealing the disdain of the character for traditionally female arts – it’s coming from the writers’ contempt for them.
I’m going to throw out there that, in both of my examples, the writers are male, which makes the assumption even more annoying – and even misogynistic. Yes, I’m sure there’s an image floating out there of old timey females sitting around in some parlor, primly doing needlework and gossiping like hens clucking. How dull! What ninnies they must be! Surely any sensible, action-oriented and interesting female worth her salt will repudiate such nonsense!
This attitude completely ignores the fact that many powerful people enjoy needlework and fiber arts of all kinds because they are both relaxing and allow the mind to focus on other activities. Listening to music or to someone reading aloud while doing needlework is immensely soothing. Handwork like this is meditative and allows for creative inspiration. Embroidery and similar arts are exacting crafts requiring concentration, dexterity, and the meticulous application of practice and talent. All those people complaining about smartphones ruining in-person socialization ought to appreciate that conversation is a worthwhile pursuit. It’s only when men dismiss women’s conversation as being worthless that it gets reduced to the level of gossip. It’s only contempt for arts that have been considered women’s work that makes it de rigeur for a heroine who’s Not Like Other Girls to shun needlework.
Let’s all roll our eyes at that.
And this photo? It’s a king-size wedding ring quilt I made for a friend’s wedding. I love quilting – but I had to give it up because it used too much of the same creative energy that writing does. I’m thinking about learning to knit, instead.