Meet the newest and stealthiest addition to Stitched Whimsy Shop’s Danger Kitty series — Spider-Cat! Like Meow Medusa and Cat-thulhu, Spider-Cat’s origin story involves a darkly delightful desire to trap and terminate false notions of gendered monstrosity and weakness so dangerous to a healthy sense of self.
Many shall hear and succumb to the Cat-thulhu’s adorably lethal call. None will survive unchanged.
In honor of women of color like Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, and Nannie Helen Burroughs who worked for women’s suffrage and the 19th amendment’s passage — in spite of their liberal white feminist contemporaries’ racism — and who deserve to be included in an all-too-frequently white-washed history of feminist activism in the U.S., I present Vote Meow.
As a mashup of Hello Kitty and early 20th century suffragettes of color, Vote Meow’s features are both cute and critical — highlighting and reproving women of color’s historical and continuing erasure in U.S. political movements. She has a mouth (Hello Kitty is famously missing one); plum-colored yarn for the cat body (Hello Kitty is, hello, white); dark purple yarn for hair; and turn-of-the-century-style attire in lilac and lavender-colored yarn.
To distinguish womanism from (white) feminism in her first nonfiction collection, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose, Alice Walker writes “Womanism is to feminism as purple is to lavender.” This distinction defines womanism, practiced by women of color, as a more holistic and inclusive form of activism than, (white) feminism. It also characterizes (white) feminism as a compartmentalized off-shoot of Womanism.
Tatanka 2018 © Oriana Gatta / Fiber Art / 6″ (15 cm) x 9.5″ (24 cm) x 4.5″ (11.5 cm)
This piece was commissioned by scholar, Howard University professor, and friend Shawna M. Morgan. Based on research I did for this project, I learned that the difference between a bison and a buffalo is that bison are native to North America and parts of Europe, and buffalo are native to south Asia and Africa. Also, physically, bison have shoulder humps, and buffalo do not.
Of course, as colonizer language, both “bison” and “buffalo” post-date indigenous terms like the Lakota word, “tatanka,” which means something akin to “he who owns us.” Bison figure prominently in Native American mythology and folklore. To learn more, check out Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies, written by a Karuk tribal elder, Bobby Lake-Thom.
*10% of profits from sales are donated to the American Indian College Fund.
Tired of the same old cutesy kitty toys designed to reinforce the gendered assumption that girls should be made only of sugar and spice and everything nice?
Tired of the ways women with powers and desires not definable within the context of sexist heteronormativity are demonized?
So, I created Meow Medusa, one badass feminist feline who doesn’t bother with such oppressive binaries. The only thing petty about her is the center of her forehead, which must be stroked at least five times a day.Purchase