I’mOther is a project that has explored, unpicked, dissected and materialised the concept of childfreeness and what it means to be a woman who is childfree by choice. The fertility norm – that women are supposed to want, to have and be able to carry children, have made motherhood to seem as one of the deepest manifestations of womanhood and parenting as a natural part of life.
The project has explored possibilities for creating a space which can invite conversations about childfreeness, conveying narratives of childfree women and making childfreeness visible as a potential adult future. In a celebratory way, the project wants to give agency to women who experience life outside of the norm and speak to those who have the privilege to shape their own lives and to those who want to understand the choice of not becoming birth mothers.
“Not many babies being done here… ”
“Come on! Please, please, I have a sitter TONIGHT!!”
“But… I was planning to colour coordinate my underwear.”
We have been collaborating with the local feminist association Grrl Tech, where we had the opportunity to take over one of their crafts evening. Invited participants were encouraged to exchange thoughts and experiences regarding the topic while crafting together. The interpretation of the conversations that took place during the evening, have been transformed into the pieces we are exhibiting.
We have used the craftshership of cross-stitch embroidery to convey narratives of childfree women while recognising a female cultural heritage and the connection to Småland, Sweden. The pieces portray life scenarios and conversations which are lived and experienced by women living outside of the norm, and resemble the wall hangings communicating values and wisdom crafted by generations of women in the herstory of domestic politics.
“So, what do you do all day then?”
“I grow vegetables, eat oysters, play paddle, take baths,
binge-watch The Great Elk Trek, knit, smash the patriarchy,
drink wine on the balcony, dance in neon,
tweeze my eyebrows, write poetry, walk around naked … “
“Out of respect for parents of small children,
I don’t share posts when I do stuff undisturbed.”
“But you never post anything?”
“You don’t believe they are for real.”
“Those who can have a white couch at home,
sleep in and sit on the toilet in peace.”