Brooklyn Artist Subverts Catcall Gems by Immortalizing Them in Embroidery

Publish date:
October 21, 2014

When Brooklyn artist Elena Alder heard catcalls like, “good tits gimme” she cross-stitched them and framed them for her series, “You Are My Duchess.”

Women have to take the long walk past men who spew verbal garbage as much as they want, like anonymous Reddit users and Fox newscasters, all the time. But instead of stewing their vocal chords in a cauldron, Alder has brilliantly chosen to knit their words by applying the same cross-stitch technique you would use for the phrase, “A Mother’s Love Feels Like Butterfly Wings.” The comment, “take care of that ass sweetheart,” gets pretty little blue hearts.

You don’t need critical theory to understand what she’s doing. In her hands, the bizarre and harmful unwanted comments become her possession. Even the homespun beauty of pretty borders can’t successfully ghost how jarring the comments she got are. More to the point, she’s recording these incidents with an art form that’s traditionally a woman’s work. While we’re not shaming these women, they may have had some extra time on their hands.

It’s a surprising reaction, and with catcallers saying things like this in passing that we all have to live with for a couple of minutes, it shows how the effect of verbal assault can last. See below for more of Alder’s handiwork.

Reprinted with permission from The Styleite.