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Monday, January 21, 2013

Gouge My Eyes Out With a Sewing Needle

A woman should never learn to sew, 
and if she can she should never admit to it. 
--Katherine Clifton, The English Patient

I despise sewing. And in the midst of editing DAUGHTER OF THE GODS, I realized something else. 

All my female protagonists hate sewing. Not just sewing--knitting, spinning, carding, embroidering... If it involves some sort of thread or material to be made into clothes, they hate it. 

Part of this is surely due to my inherent distaste for sewing. I've tried knitting and cross-stitch and both made me want to gouge my eyes out. (Although I have family members who are excellent seamstresses who never fail to impress me with their prowess with a sewing machine). I can sew a button on one of my daughter's shirts, but that's the end of my expertise, and even that almost sends me into epileptic fits

Yet, I think there's also a part of me that wants my heroines to buck the trend of history. Throughout the ages, most societies expected women to be able to sew. Instead, my leading ladies are sassy (sometimes snarky) women who speak multiple languages, read, write, hunt, study medicine, race horses, and take to the stage. Maybe it would be more historically accurate if they also sewed, but I don't care. 

After all, well-behaved women rarely make history, right?