Artist Turns Catcalls Into Cringe-Inducing Cross Stitch

A great deal has been written about cat calls in the past few months. From an awful directive for women to get over it, to a woman filming her catcallers, to Jessica Williams’ fantastic how-to on dealing with dudes who catcall, it seems like the discussion has reached every form of media. And now, it’s infiltrated the craft world.

Anyone who’s ever said that catcalling is flattering, nice or any other adjective that doesn’t describe something negative, demeaning or stinky (yeah, catcalls are malodorous, you going to fight me on this?) needs to see artist Elana Adler’s brilliant collection of hand-stitched works of art.

Here’s what Adler says about her collection, entitled “You Are My Duchess”:

This series of forty (plus) samplers is intended to be provocative and evoke emotion. It is a contemporary feminist interpretation of women’s work and an objectification of my personal experience. Each captures a moment, giving these words a visual presence, a power, and a state of concreteness. These words were hurled casually and heard quickly but required hours of time-consuming, careful stitching.
The physically delicate, traditionally feminine, form of the piece engages the viewer and confronts him/ her with a sweetness that may mask its crassness and vulgarity.
You read one sampler. Perhaps you are amused, but as you continue reading and consider the body as an entire collection, the response changes. The inherent filth emerges. It is a beautification of an assault. Perhaps in the moment these statements are meant to compliment, but most don’t find vulgar, highly sexualized statements whispered or screamed at them by random strangers complimentary. Rather, they are an invasion of personal space.

You can see the rest of the collection on Adler’s site. Below are some of the more provocative pieces which, as Adler points out, sound funny at first but may make viewers queasy when they realize that this is something that women go through every day (and that some men don’t think anything of shouting “I’ll fuck you up” to a stranger). I wonder if the author who said that catcalls were flattering ever got “Good Tits! Gimme!” called at her. That’s not even close to amusing, it’s just disgusting.

Images via Elana Adler

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