Book Reviews

Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton | Book Review


Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton.

My copy: Quirk Books, October 18th, 2016. Paperback (review copy), 112 pages.

Source: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Quirk Books!


About the book:

This is what a feminist crafter looks like! Wear your ideology on your sleeve by creating feminist merit badges (like “started an all-girl band” or “rocked roller derby”). Prove that the political is personal with DIY power panties (“No means no”). Craft great feminist hero finger puppets (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo) or googly-eyed tampon buddies. Fun sidebars provide background on (s)heroes of the feminist movement.

Crafting with Feminism is, superficially, cute and clever, but a few of the projects are a bit cringe-worthy, and the message about feminism and what it actually constitutes is very weak.

This crafting book has girl-power ideas you can create with your gal-pals at a party, or maybe if you’re in need of a pick-me-up if you’re just done with men and their crap (heh). Some of them are cute: finger puppets, reusable lunch bags, flower crowns, rings, hoop art, candles, and — my favorite — “High Heels Are a Pain Planters”. Other projects are a little questionable: “Tampon Buddies”, a “Uterus Body Pillow”, “Power Panties”, a “Burning Bra”, and… “Vagina Tree Ornaments”. Now, I am all for being comfortable with sexuality and one’s body, but who is really going to make a bunch of vagina ornaments to hang on their Christmas Tree? (Think: the equivalent would be having a dude hang penis ornaments up, as his form of empowerment and, er, equality. Um, no?) The idea is kind of funny at first, but it’s definitely absurd.

One thing I’m disappointed about is how this book presents feminism and female empowerment. The definition of “feminism” is for women to have equal rights as men. In other words, equality for all genders in political, social, and economic environments. And one thing that I’m not a big fan of when it comes to “feminism” is the amount of, ahem, female anatomy that gets flaunted and thrown around like it’s a badge of honor. Like this book does, sadly. Great, you have a vagina, what does that mean in terms of equality? Cool, you have hairy legs and don’t shave — what does that matter in terms of equality? I’m glad you (you in general, I’m not finger-pointing) can be proud about it, but that’s not feminism in a true sense.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a feminist when it comes to equal pay and rights and all that jazz, but I don’t appreciate all the, uh, inventive ways some women declare themselves feminists. Being a feminist doesn’t give us privileges to act badly or be gross, among other things. Not wearing a tampon doesn’t mean you’re a feminist or make you a feminist. It means you choose not to wear a tampon.

I’m probably getting a bit too deep here, but I felt like Crafting with Feminism really missed the mark. Taken lightly, it’s amusing to flip through, though I wasn’t moved to get craftsy with any of the ideas (I’m not am arts-and-crafts person in general, to be honest). Don’t expect any real examples of feminism here, in the form of crafts or anything else. It’s fun for giggles, but shouldn’t be taken seriously. ♦

Have you read Crafting with Feminism?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s a book about feminism you read and recommend?
Comment below letting me know!

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2 thoughts on “Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton | Book Review

  1. I haven’t read this one, but I usually skip the themed crafty books anyway. I admit to being amused by body part pillows, ornaments, etc., but that applies to all body parts anyway (… ask me about my anatomically correct heart pincushion or my happy little kidney earrings) and I don’t really get it when it’s just done for shock value… plus it can be kind of dismissive of trans women? ANYWAY, now I am intrigued by the high heel planters thing though, so I may have to borrow a copy from the library just for that.


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