Friday, October 27, 2017

Love cats, respect the pussy



I know you are not used to me being political here on the blog and I have stayed away from political subjects. But I am a mother of three girls and while raising them, or letting them grow to be the wonderful women they are today, has not always been easy and interpreting the world to them has sometimes been challenging. I need to write about this now. The popularity of the #MeToo Movement has once again shaken me up. The title for this post is strong and you might not be happy for me imprinting this slogan into your brain, but I need to say it out loud now. This is for the sake of all the women and for all the little girls growing to be women.
I began my cat journey a long time ago. There is a connection between women and cats. (And right away, I think that cats, regarded as feminine creatures, are described with adjectives selfish, where the dogs, masculine, men’s best friends are always thought loyal and trustworthy.) Cats have nine lives, they need them all to survive one.
My series of these nine cats will be about these nine lives and so far, I have done four, I am making the fifth one.
Every single one takes (all hand embroidered; the original pattern for the body was bought, but I developed the head into cat’s head and have also done some work on the body parts) so much concentration and effort and a long time to make that it must be three or four years since I made the last one.
One of the cats has broken body (I will add bandage to her yet), as there is lots of domestic violence women suffer and we have a high rate for domestic violence in this country.
I remember when I was working with the eyes, I battled with them because even though her face is calm on the surface, her eyes are watery. I will return to my cats one day and finish the series.
Finland, then Grand Duchy of Finland, part of the Russian Empire, was the third country in the world and the first in Europe to grant women the right to vote in 1906. In the Parliamentary Elections in 1907 the first women were elected to Parliament, and they were the first ones in the world. We, one of my daughters and me, have thought about inventing a drink called “06”, a drink that would represent women and voting and would have six units of strong alcohol in it, but we are not yet sure what the drink should be, one shot or a long one. Every time there is an election and after casting one’s vote, one should toast with “06” for all the women who made it possible in 1906 for us to vote today, to have the tools to change the world for the better. I guess this “06” could be a worldwide drink as those women (19 women altogether out of 200) in 1907 were the first ones in the Parliament in the whole world.
My Mom was raised in a family where boys were more deserving than girls. My father grew up to believe that his big sisters were there to pave the way for him. Both my parents grew up to be so much more than they were brought up to be. My Mom had a fulltime job and, yet she managed to balance between mothering and working brilliantly, my father somehow got the vibes of the fifties and sixties, was a wise man and I was brought up to believe to be equal to men.
I made my first little pussy cat in January. When I started to see the women’s marches and the pussy hats, I felt a strong connection. I know sometimes good causes need drastic actions, but the only strong measures I believe in are strong and powerful words, maybe spiced with little bit of wool, cloth and knitting.
The suffrage movement was not politically correct, strong standpoints had to be taken to make the changes we (not all of us yet) enjoy.

Thus, even though you might not like this, I will say it anyway: “love cats, respect the pussy”. 

To my Finnish readers, my daughter translated this into Finnish: “helli kattia, vaali vittua”. And that is a strong, a very strong statement, but then, she is a tough cookie.

Wool with you,
Lene

PS. I was raised up to use clean language and avoid profanity; there was the threat of mouth being washed with soap if the language was off, but I know both of my parents would approve.

39 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. You are a strong woman, raising even stronger women. That is the only way we are going to get through these difficult time, (I live in the US) with a president who does not respect women and all the others who do no either. We have all been there, I have been there and I applaud all the women speaking up. I love your work Lene, keep up with all you are doing.

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  2. So many things to comment on!

    I love that you made this post. I hate that we still have to make posts like these, because, well, me too, and very woman I know.

    Your cats are absolutely beautiful, and I adore the idea of nine of them.

    You uave always been such an inspiration and a comfort to me through the years.

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  3. Thank you, Lena

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  4. LOVE these girls, and am so glad you are speaking up. When we are all silent, it's too easy for others to come to the *mistaken* conclusion that all is well. When we speak up it's a reality check for some, and a confirmation of others' experiences....

    Thank you!

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  5. Vain sinä osaat tehdä noin ihania kissoja <3 Terveisiä sinne pohjoiseen!

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  6. I always love your work, but thank you for this particular body of work. I think we (all we women, in this instance) are feeling particularly vulnerable and strong right now.

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  7. I recently saw a comment from a man on an article about the #MeToo movement that said in a condescending, unbelieving way that now it seemed like just about every woman had been assaulted or harassed.

    I wanted to kick that man in the shin and say Yes! it seems that way because it is that way, but almost all women never speak about it.

    Thank you for posting this and I love your cats.

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  8. Priscilla in London19:33

    This is a beautiful project, full of strength, intelligence and integrity. Wonderful, wonderful work, Lene. Thank you for posting.

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  9. I have been enjoying reading you posts for a long time but this one really hits home for me. I live in the US where a terrible man who disrespects women on every level was some how able to become president. It's a total nightmare! Women here are fighting with all they have to stand up for their rights and dignaty.

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  10. Kene, thank you for this post. You cats are beautiful! For me, you hit the right balance with the tone and words if your message.

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  11. YES YES YES!!! Thank you for writing this post.

    I was fortunate growing up - my father had no problems having three daughters, and we were never ever made to feel that we were growing up to only be partners to "the right man." But I realize that was kind of unusual for the time when I was a child.

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  12. Oh, Lene, you have outdone yourself. The cats are amazing and the words/feelings you connected to them are powerful things. Many of us here in the US are as aghast and upset as you might hope, and we're resisting/fighting back in large and small ways every day, including by speaking out against the mess that is our current government and raising the next generation of strong women who will tolerate no such garbage on any level.

    I have adored your written and handcrafted "voice" on this blog from Day 1, and only feel stronger about that now. Thank you.

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  13. thank you Lene!
    beautiful work and strong, strong words.
    #metoo
    best wishes from Iceland
    Frida

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  14. You are right : every inch of the way !!!
    Ha ! love that 06-drink ! Will remember that after the vote ;-)
    So YES : Love Cats, Respect the Pussy ! hear hear !!!
    Thanks Lene, and LOOOOOVE those nine-ives CATS !

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  15. As always, thank you for sharing your profound thoughts and your exquisite crafts! I am always so excited to see a new post from you.

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  16. Thank you so much! We have such a long way to go. Your art and voice lend inspiration and power to this daily struggle. (Dual citizen, Canadian and US, living in Canada)

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  17. Robin14:27

    Thank you. We all have to keep speaking up. Thanking the women who came before us and continuing to fight for the present and the future.

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  18. Mother of two wonderful daughters and now grandmother of one, your words resonate with me. No apologies for language are necessary!

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  19. This was a powerful post and your cats are a work of art. Thank you for bring them both to us this morning. I look forward to seeing all 9 of them as you complete this amazing work.

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  20. Anonymous19:41

    Yes a powerful post. It has to be said!!! Thank you for speaking!!
    Marion Shaw

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  21. I love your cats! I made several pussy hats, some given away....it is so sad that we are still fighting for equality after all these years....and here in the US, it's just so infuriating to have the Tweet-iot in Chief....

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  22. I too made seven or eight Pussy hats! one for a newborn baby girl and her sisiter and mom and one was requested by a friend who works in the construction trade in NYC and has two daughters. He wore his to work :) I think it is very important, even critical for our voices to be strong and clear. I love your cat series and the pussies too. Thanks for speaking out. xoxoxoxo

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  23. Thank you for this post, which I am sure was not easy or quick to compose. I have also generally avoided writing about politics on my blog, but had to write one post after the 2016 US election, because I would have choked on my own despair if I tried to write about anything else until I did. These are very dark days, but it is crucial to face into the problems, I think. And if we can use some of our energy - both positive and negative - to create art that is meaningful to us, that is a gift. And it is often a gift to others, as well as ourselves. Bless you, and bless your daughter, and bless your cats. xoxo

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  24. Anonymous17:08

    Brava Lene! Spectacular art, work, and words. May the world see this important post. Thank you, and peace to you and your girls.

    annie in California

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  25. Hi
    I love your cats. They all look so expressive. New Zealand was actually the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. It happened on 19th Sept 1893.

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  26. I have 4 daughters and raised them all to speak up and stand strong. I will make sure they see your post!

    Your work is so appealing and you make a strong statement. I applaud you.

    Indeed, love cats, respect the pussy,
    Geraldine in faraway San Antonio, Texas.

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  27. Beth in Maryland19:25

    Your work is inspiring always, but especially today and on this topic. Thank you, thank you!

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  28. Thank you for this strong, positive and needed post. Wonderful! (and I love your cats).

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  29. well written (and sadly needed) post!

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  30. Love your blog and love, love, love this post even more. Thsnk you, Lene 💕💕💕

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  31. I love every word and every image in this post. I look forward to all your posts; you're a model of how to express big thoughts and important values in beautiful craft. But this is my favorite post of all time. Love the pussies too. Thank you so much for inspiring us and creating beauty in the world.

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  32. Lene, I'm a long time reader and I love your work. I'm not sure I've ever commented before, but thank you so much for this.

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  33. Anonymous22:58

    Kiitos!

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  34. I don't know what to say except thank you. I don't know if it's nice or appalling that this has claimed international attention. It seems like everyday there is SOMETHING bad

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  35. Thank you for taking this stand and speaking out. It is important. Your daughters are fortunate to have you as their mother.

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  37. They are so lovely :)) Lg

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  38. Anonymous20:08

    Wonderful; cannot wait to see them all together. Brilliant.

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