Who Says So? Gender and the Social Construction of the Sewing Machine (and other power tools).

This post highlights how we use incidents in our lives to tell the story of our gender, and in my case how the story can be retold using the same episodes. In Chapter Five of The Psychology of Gender, I cover the topic of storytelling, and how by asking ‘better; questions we can tell ‘better’, more inclusive non-binary stories.

Solution Focused Life Coaching with Dr Gary Wood (Birmingham, Edinburgh, Telephone, Skype)

All attempts at theorizing social life are, at the same time, works of autobiography

– William Simon, 1996

As we read a text. . . we produce something different, another text which is a translation

– Ian Parker, 1999

Pic: Sewing Machine - GO FASTER! GO FASTER! Pic: Sewing Machine – GO FASTER! GO FASTER!

I was watching a re-run of the Australian version of Changing Rooms, one of the many home improvement shows conveniently gathered together on one Cable channel. An ‘expert’ was initiating his acolyte into the mysteries of the jig-saw. The expert explained ‘It’s like a sewing machine only a bit more manly’. I was immediately struck by the similarity of the sewing machine and the ‘more manly’ jigsaw. However, both are essentially power tools.

Thinking about the arbitrary nature of gender labels I recalled two questions from performance artist Laurie Anderson‘s film of her show Home of the Brave. In it…

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