If I want Exposure I will Get My Tits Out!

 
For many years Fibre Crafts have been seeing a resurgence in popularity. Knitting, Crochet, Spinning, Weaving, Macrame, Embroidery… These are no longer just the preserve of your favourite Great Aunty and her strange obsession with knitted fairy toilet roll holders. There is a fresh new movement of makers and designers producing vibrant contemporary products for a discerning Fibre Crafts obsessed public.  
 

As with most contemporary trends, you can see the impact of this resurgence in social media. A burgeoning community on particularly image-based platforms like Instagram and Facebook, has created a forum to share, inspire and create. However, our industry is not free from problems. This confident and articulate movement is spearheaded primarily by women. While there are some amazing male makers and designers, overwhelmingly our industry is made by and for other women. And yet like most industries, there still exists ingrained misogyny in how our industry is viewed and the way our businesses and customer base are treated. Populated by some amazing small and innovative businesses, small businesses owners are continually faced by the exploitation of their products and services by those that don’t understand or choose to undervalue our industry.

But where you get this quantity of women in one community…well…you get innovative ways to solve problems!

For those of you who might not follow the ins and out’s of the politics of the Fibre Craft Industry, let me introduce you to the concept of the #titsoutcollective.

This is a group of makers and designers who have come together to fight misogyny and exploitation within our industry.  We are saying enough is enough. We don’t want to face misogynism. Our industry is about more than just profit making and exploitation. We are choosing to value everyone’s contribution, working together so that we can do more. We are stating our adherence that collaboration is better than competition. We want to support all our business, especially fostering small, independent businesses. Together we can be stronger.

It is quite common in our industry to hear from individuals and organisations requesting help with a charity event. Rarely to these requests consider who they are approaching and the appropriateness of their proposals; either to the small business, independent maker, or their customer base. The experience of one of our businesses, demonstrates neatly the problem.

Countess Ablaze is an Independent Yarn Dyeing Studio in Manchester. One day in March 2018, ‘The Countess’ received an unsolicited request. In her own words…

 

‘Last week a local business sent me a proposal for a crochet evening, "collaborating" with us. I'd never clapped eyes on them before but they were expecting £800 of yarn for free plus my teaching time. I would be given "exposure." They went on to say that the customers would be (paraphrasing) "middle aged women who'll bring their girlfriends, we can serve them shit tea and tray bakes which would cost the restaurant very little but the ROI would be massive."

They were claiming this would be a charity event.

"How about go fuck yourself" 
If I want exposure, I'll get my tits out.

https://www.countessablaze.com/blogs/news/shit-tea-and-tray-bake

 

The story went viral on social media. The lack of respect and flagrant misogyny of the male organisers of this event incensed this business owner, so she decided to do something positive rather than out them. After she had penned a strongly worded rebuke to the business in question, the studio did what it does best. It dyed Yarn!

 Countess Ablaze designed two colourways of Yarn.

 

 

 

 

 

 ‘If I Want Exposure I will Get my Tits Out’ and ‘Shit Tea and Tray Bake’

(Left of picture and right of picture respectively).

For every skein of yarn sold, £3 was donated to Women’s Aid in the UK. Over 1000 skeins were sold and more than £3000 was raised.

Then in June 2018… She had more news…

‘Why am I bringing this up again?


A dyer who is seen knitting with our original colourway in their feed has produced a knock-off. Coincidences happen. There's only so much you can do with dye. But when it's blatantly obvious like this… well I'm not angry, I'm disappointed. I expected better. 

This colourway has become iconic.

This colourway enabled a couple of women to leave their abusive relationships (that I've been told about).

This colourway gave other creatives the confidence to say “no” to working for exposure.

This colourway raised money for charity.


So what would The Countess do?
We deal with this with class. Do not ask me to name and shame, we are all better than that.

We're not dyeing this colourway anymore but I'm throwing it open to other indie dyers instead to dye their own versions.

 

And so the #TitsOutCollective was born. The call went out and over 200 Yarn dyers, Spinners, notion makers; Knitting and Crochet designers have stepped up to make their own take on ‘If I want Exposure, I’ll get my Tits out’. The Countess Ablaze Studio has relinquished any commercial claim on ‘If I Want Exposure, I’ll Get my Tits Out’ on condition that all the makers and designers who want to use it make a minimum contribution to a charity of our choice and we do this as a collective movement. So, on the 1st of July 2018, our products inspired by the original Yarn Colourway are being released as one, without branding, without favour to business size or place. On the 1st of August, the collective will tally up our contribution and publish what we, our industry and our customer base have accomplished.

So, for my own contribution, I have designed a Yarn Skein called:

 

If I Want Exposure I’ll Get my Tits Out (Don’t Blame Me If you Can’t Score)

 

 

I wanted to bring attention to the fact that when England lose a football game, reported cases of Domestic Abuse ride by 35%. When England win a match, they rise by 25%.

Lets get one thing straight….Football does not cause domestic abuse.

Football is a game…

It is not a power struggle…a control mechanism, a way to devalue, dehumanise or subjugate another. It is not there to intimidate, threaten, harm or humiliate.

People perpetrate domestic abuse.

Those people who are the most close to us…our partners…our families…our friends...and our carers. It can be physical, it can be emotional and even financial.

It does not belong in our culture. It does not belong in our homes. It should not be influenced by what 11 individuals do on a grass pitch in a foreign country…

For every 250g Hank of ‘Don’t blame me if you can’t score’ sold, £7 will be donated to my local Domestic Violence Support Service, MK Act. For every 500g Hank, £10 will be donated.

www.mkact.com

MK Act are a charity in Milton Keynes which works with 100 families everyday to help them move on from fear and abuse. They provide emergency accommodation in Milton Keynes for women and Children. They provide crisis intervention, specialist support for children, volunteer counselling as well as specialists who provide help on health, housing, and legal advice. They do a phenomenal job, and Id love you to help me support them..

 

Caz
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