Mary Rockcastle has a fabulous blog at http://littlelambstudios.com/ and recently wrote the most beautiful and badass post on the Curvy Sewing Collective titled, “Sharing your makes: How to create a safe space for yourself on the internet.”
Go read it! I’ll wait.
Maybe it didn’t resonate with you the way it did me, and that’s OK, but I am willing to bet if you are a woman, no matter what size, that you have met with some of the negative online experiences she describes. (This is not to say that men or non-binary folks are not exposed to these things, but I am speaking from my personal experience.)
At first, starting a sewing blog where I would post pictures of myself seemed daunting. What would people say about my body? Would I be embarrassed? Should I be embarrassed? Should I just drop a smiley face emoji over my face so no one could tell it was me? I had been reading all of these wonderful sewing blogs for months where fabulous bloggers twirled and smiled in their me made garments in photos and I so longed to be one of them. I longed to have my self-image anxiety stripped from me and to truly enjoy myself in my creations.
I finally took the plunge, anxiety be damned. You know what I found? Freedom. I’ve started to enjoy the way my body looks in photos in ways that I never had before. I don’t worry about flattering or slimming angles. My body today is my body today. My body gives love and joy and my body receives love and joy, so how can I be upset with it just because it is not always perceived as beautiful?
At the same time, I was receiving support from my sewing community that I am incredibly grateful for in compliments, tips and tricks, and polite suggestions. After about 3 posts I also started to get gross sexual comments. I turned on comment moderation so that no one else is exposed to that and I simply delete them without much thought at all. I can’t say I have had anything too horrific, but certainly unpleasant and reminiscent of things that have been called out to me on the street. Well, when someone yells at my on the street I just ignore them (read: flip them the bird and keep walking) and deleting comments is about the internet equivalent.
I haven’t completely overcome all of my self-consciousness. If you have seen my blog at all you may have noticed that I take my outfit photos in my sewing room, against a white wall, with the door closed. That is where I feel the best about twirling and showing off my me-made garments. I really love it when I see bloggers with photos in nature, on their porches, and in the street just living in their artworks! It might seem silly but even though I feel comfortable with my body and face on the internet, I still haven’t overcome my fear of setting up a camera outside and posing in full view of all of my neighbors. That’s next on my list of things to conquer.
My very favorite part of Mary’s post is the last paragraph:
“Remember that if you are a seamstress sharing your work on the internet you are full of bravery and power. You control what people see of you, and by putting yourself out there you fill the web with the love you feel for yourself and your work.”