Whitehead 1999

From Whiki
Revision as of 23:26, 20 March 2016 by Wtrettien (talk | contribs) (Created page with "Whitehead, Barbara J., ed. ''Women's Education in Early Modern Europe: A History 1500-1800.'' New York: Garland Publishing, 1999. == The Pattern of Perfect Womanhood: Feminin...")
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Whitehead, Barbara J., ed. Women's Education in Early Modern Europe: A History 1500-1800. New York: Garland Publishing, 1999.

The Pattern of Perfect Womanhood: Feminine Virtue, Pattern Books and the Fiction of the Clothworking Woman, by Stacey Shimizu (75-100)

"Text and textile are inextricably intertwined, seen variously as commensurate, comparable and complementary. What distinguishes the two is gender: langauge use has been seen as masculine, with the power to speak, to write and to create a text being viewed as a male prerogative. In contrast, clothwork -- from spinning to decorative finishing -- has traditionally been categorized as 'women's work,' as craft rather than art." (76)

focused not on facts (many men were involved in needlework industry) but in the fiction that pens are for men and pins for women

"pattern books sought not only to educate women in a domestic craft, but also to craft them into the cultural image of the ideal woman, and the value of clothworking, according to these and other texts, lay not so much in the production of textiles as in its role in the production of feminine women and good wives." (76)

"Essentially wordless, these books nonetheless were meant to edify women morally, to instill in them such qualities as industriousness, obedience, silence, and chastity." (77)

wearing embroidery was seen as vanity; pattern books help shift "the focus from the wearing of embroidery to its production. In this way, needlework combined virtue with social position: the act of embroidering exemplified a woman's domesticity and virtue, but it also made a statement about the wealth of the household because the production of ornamental needlework required leisure time -- and so reflected doubly well on the husband." (78)

needlework was domestic, took place in and thus kept women at hom; "the private, isolated woman was seen to be a chaste woman" (78)

"Skill with the needle was not only the defense of chastity, but was also the proof." (79)

chastity = silence; "the absence of words from the design pages of the patterns books acted as a visual reminder of the dictum of silence." (79)

"Pattern books themselves are figures for the type of productivity open to women -- reproductivity. Written exclusively by men, these books trained women to follow male authority by repeatedly recreating male-authored designs." (79)

pattern books don't teach you how to make; instead "tells women how to be women, how to be feminine" (80)

Robert Greene, Penelopes Web

implicit male viewer of pattern book

displacement of male desire for weaving women onto women's desire for fine ornaments -- "It is fine for a woman to make decorative objects, to spin, weave or sew utilitarian clothing, to embroider for her husband and his household, but not for her to want to ornament herself with the work of her hands. A woman thus seduced by clothes was seen to invite seduction by men." (87)

"Although texts and textiles were metaphorically intertwined then as they are now, the representation of each was gendered and politicized. The products of women's hands, rather than being a way to surmount language barriers, were seen at best to be utilitarian and useful in keeping women chastely occupied, at worst to be a lure to women's indiscriminate tastes, and in general to be empty of explicit content." (91)