Only Girls Sew

“You do it. You’re a girl.”

“You do it because boys always do that.”

“Boys don’t do that.” So I am not going to.  

“Girls shouldn’t do that.” It’s not feminine.

The role of gender. Boy, that is a topic! And if you think every culture is the same in how they handle gender, think again.

In university, we had an Afghani professor in the Political Science Department. He was an amazing individual. In early autumn when female students in Japan were expected to be making scarves/mufflers and sweaters for their boyfriends as love tokens, my professor would walk into the cafeteria, walk up to a group of women knitting and ask for someone’s. He would peer at it with a critical eye and start knitting and hold a conversation with anyone in the group who was currently a student of his. When he has finished with his conversation he would hand back the knitting, smile and walk away. It was mechanically perfect with even tension. Why? Because men in his social background of Kabul would sit around and knit near the fire smoking while the women worked their magic in the kitchens.  

I suppose you could say the same about darning and hemming. My mother used to darn and hem for me. Mothers do that for children. My father would have used a hot glue gun or Krazy Glue, I bet. As we have gotten older, I will hem or reattach buttons on coats for my parents - before my father reaches for the glue gun.

“Sewing is for girls.” Was my brother’s comment. My father explained when I moved away I would need to be self-sufficient which included cooking, cleaning and sewing. Yup I can do all those things well. There is a comfort in being self-sufficient.

And here I am living in Tokyo and I cook and clean and sew - for myself when I have to and for others when I want to.  

“Boy’s shouldn’t sew.” Excuse me, but what is a tailor? Oh, that’s different. That’s paid. Girls just have to do it.