One more thing…

I just can’t seem to let it go. This comment seems to have gotten so far under my skin that I can’t stop thinking about how we talk about things and each other:

“I seriously hope you are kidding that you would make your son the f*** quilt… You shouldn’t be allowed to be a mother if you would really do that…”

So here’s the deal: I curse. I curse a lot. There is every likelihood that sometime in my career as a quilter the word fuck will end up in a quilt. The odds are high. So, am I unfit to be a parent? Does this fact disqualify me from being allowed to raise Bee and Baby Rabbit? Am I a bad human being because I swear? Am I morally unacceptable? Should my children be taken away?

I am asking these questions in all seriousness because these are the implications of some of the comments about the Give a Fuck quilt and its makers. To all of you who feel that the comments that have been made about the quilt are justified, I ask you to answer my questions, to stand behind the implications of those comments that you defend.

I will always defend your right to your opinions and moral positions, but I cannot and will not abide by anyone questioning my fitness to raise my children, to love them more than I ever imagined was possible, to do everything in my power to keep them safe and let them know at every moment that they are loved profoundly.

Words matter. The word fuck offends some, but I would hope that the implications of those comments, what they then are saying about me and millions of other quilters, would offend everyone. If not I may need to step away from this community, or at least accept that I simply cannot live with a certain segment of it.

-t

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18 Responses to One more thing…

  1. 1
    Thorn says:

    I am a foster and foster-adoptive parent as well as a quilter and so I know first-hand the trauma involved when children are removed from their parents (for children as well as parents and extended family) and so my first response to this comment was that you have got to be fucking kidding me if you think a mother making a quilt for her son has passed the bar of unfitness! That comment was the thing that offended me most in this whole brouhaha. Thank you for your reasonable response(s).

  2. 2
    Dan says:

    When I tweeted a pick of my block, the worst I got was ‘oh my goodness, we try to keep it clean around here.’ (Which is not bad at all.) I think people judge and say things to women and minorities — things they would never say to me, or about my work.

  3. 3

    I have been reading this series and I agree with you. Please do not attack people’s character. One person’s sense of creativity and art can be offensive; however even more offensive is to be cruel to another being. I personally am not offended by swearing, realizing others are, I try to control it. Bit the give a fuck quilt kind of says it all to me. Give a fuck what others think! It is your right to create and so do. I think
    However; making a quilt with this loaded language is going to get reactions. The point being is you still have to remain true to the statement and just give a f@&$!

  4. 4
    Rashida says:

    I think I’m more offended by the comments that I hear from the pearl clutchers than the f-bomb. I posted a photo on Pinterest several months ago that said, “Normal is so fucking boring.”. I literally got raked over the coals and roasted because of it and was blown away by the mean comments from people who were offended by the pic. Boooo.

  5. 5
    Jenny Gerde says:

    Oh Thomas! let them all go eat cake or humble pie or whatever! Unfortunately when you put yourself out there people feel they have the right to comment and say as they please. They may be right or wrong but it is their opinion. As my Dad used to say “Opinions are like arseholes – everybody’s got one” and another thing I try to live by was passed to me by my nan “If you havent got anything nice to say don’t say it” I have been a longarm quilter for 7 years now and it never ceases to amaze me how many cruel and unthoughtful people there are around. When a customer brings a quilt to me there is usually the comments “its not very good” or “its not pieced that well don’t look at my seams” well I am here to offer to finish your quilt not critique it or pick it to bits but to complete your quilt that you have put many hours into and most of my customers are just run of the mill people like me. I love looking at all kinds of quilts and anything creative that people have put their heart and soul into. Some people just need to be reminded of the most important things in life …raising and loving a family and just being plain nice to other people it doesn’t take much. So thanks for putting yourself out there and enjoy your creative happy loving life and always remember to hug your kids xxxx

  6. 6
    Audrie says:

    It irks me greatly that anyone could pass judgment like that. If anyone thinks making a quilt with the word ‘fuck’ on it disqualifies someone from being a fit parent, their world is very, very small. I think people need to stop putting such weight on a stupid word. I swear a lot. A lot. I’m far more concerned that there’s a lot of stupidity and passive aggressive behaviour floating about. Now THAT is offensive.

  7. 7
    Mar says:

    There’s always somebody that thinks we are not fitted to be parents, not raising our kids properly, have too many, or a single child; we are not feeding them right, we are too strict, too lay back, etc, etc, bla, bla bla.
    Those people eighter don’t have children or had them so long ago, they can’t remember how it’s like. My awnser to those “I now better than you” is simple: Good thing they are MY children and not yours”.

    And the quilt is hilarius. I love it, plan to do one myself.

  8. 8
    Nurseli says:

    What amazes me the most is how far people go online. It’s like they hide behind their computers and say the most God-awful things that I’m sure they would never say to their face. But somehow it’s ok to be mean/ugly when you don’t have to actually face the person. It’s a sad, sad situation. And one that’s becoming way too common in our society. Instead of attacking the opinion, they attack the person. I’m not sure what it is that causes people to think it’s ok? Detachment from humanity because they are too plugged in? I don’t know.

  9. 9
    Beth T. says:

    This has me thinking that it’s about time I make a “Use Your Words” quilt–how often are children instructed to use words instead of hitting or lashing out? And here we have (supposed) adults, using their words to inflict damage of a different variety, the effects of which can last longer. Use your words with care, own your words, allow others their own words. I’m offended by the response to the Give a F*** quilt, but now wonder whether I’m applying my own standard–am I allowing them their words and opinions? Maybe I’m heading toward an instruction my mother used to give to us: Keep your hands to yourself. Same thing might apply to judgmental words.
    I’m impressed that you were able to express your feelings about this–in two posts–in such a civil way.

  10. 10

    I was brought up with my parents, both of whom were teachers. My father was an English teacher. We were generally brought up to believe that there were enough words in the English language, to fully express onesself, without resorting to swearing. As an adult, I tend not to swear, and have encouraged my children to be the same. I personally would not choose to buy your quilt, even though I can appreciate the workmanship in it. All that said, I see absolutely NO connection between this, and your ability to be a good parent. There are some very shallow and blinkered people around.

  11. 11
    Joanne Jones says:

    I’m constantly amazed by people who find the time to be judgemental about art on a superficial level and who yet do not see beyond what is immediately obvious to the viewer. Who are these people and why do they not use their time more wisely for the wider good?

    As a side note I have had this quilt pinned on my Pinterest board as ‘the best quilt ever’ and no one has said a thing. I say ‘blah blah blah’ to them, much like the teacher in Peanuts sounds.

  12. 12
    Sharon says:

    There are always ignorant people around that say stupid judgmental things that will undoubtably hurt someone’s feelings. We have all been there and yes we have all hurt someone with judgmental words at some point in our lives. Unfortunately we can not make people think a certain way before they say something hurtful. I know you know that deep down. The reason you are so upset is that it attacked your fitness as a parent, which drives us all nuts, so your feelings and reaction to this is understandable. I know you can’t get ‘over’ it, you have to get ‘through’ it. That said I can assure you that the people who said this to you are not worrying about it, so you still letting it affect you is giving them power and making you use energy in a negative way.
    Just remember ‘sticks and stones’.

  13. 13

    I’ve been sat watching the reactions to the original quilt and the reactions to the reactions.

    I feel it is more a discourse on our thoughtless use of words in conversation. By thoughtless I don’t mean intentional harm but the everyday way we don’t think about the words we actually use and how they can be
    interpreted by other individuals. It is our interpretation of the individual word that is causing offence.

    I will open up and say that I know and use language that will make a sailor blush. I also have very faulty thought processes which cause me to unconsciously use words that upset others without intending to.

    For me to see another person make such a strident accusation without knowing the quilter or the contributors to me is pretty abhorrent. Making such an accusation says more about the accuser than the accused. To make such a suggestion says that the accuser feels herself morally superior to all others and that only her view counts. I find such comment repugnant as it shows only a closed mind that fails to see the point of a single word quilt. Would she see a cancer quilt in the same light, or a love quilt or a joy quilt? No.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to the power of a single word and how it is used.

  14. 14
    Cher says:

    you pretty much summed up my reaction..the word fuck is as acceptable on a quilt as any other word. period. if it offends a person,they should move on….freedom of speech means exactly that. so many previous bloggers have said what I would say here..so I will leave it at, you are the “type” of parent I wish all parents were..your children are so lucky to have you.

  15. 15
    Jerimi says:

    There will always be those who define themselves through the exclusion of others, rather than being inclusive. There will always be those threatened by change and changing definitions.

  16. 16

    one time, in a career long long ago, i worked with a lady who actually thought that people with tattoos were unfit parents. yeah… what does one even do with that? in this case, i knew her well enough to hopefully help change her opinion a bit (b/c of course me having tattoos was ok). eh. some people don’t know any better, but it’s not an excuse for behaving poorly.

  17. 17
    Amber says:

    Oh, I started to write something more intense and interesting about “community” but you know what? I say don’t let the bossy killjoys bring you down. I’m glad you’re calling them out in such an articulate way. But don’t take it personally, and don’t let them steal the floor. Or the community. Let it be the divide, if you have to – those who understand it’s ok to have a difference of taste or different understandings of art, and those who don’t.

  18. 18
    SandyB says:

    Well, it certainly has caused quite a stir! This is the job of art — make you think! Kudoes to the group who were brave enough to show this.

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