Life 4 – Hello Dear, What Did You Do Today
57 x 42inches
The words stitched onto Life 4 are:
Well dear, I worried. I had coffee this morning. Coffee is the second most valuable legal commodity after oil but is largely grown by subsistence farmers and I forgot to buy Fair Trade.
Then I took our grandchildren to school. Did you know that 90% of all childcare still rests on women’s backs.
On the way to the hated supermarket to buy food, I saw that lady from the house by the park in her burkha who everyone says is lonely and abused but can’t tell the police in case her family is deported, and thought about the veiling and seclusion of women and the cult of virginity and the death penalty for women’s adultery, and tried to imagine what it was like to be killed with stones. I thought of rape and how under Shar’ia law a rape victim needs four male witnesses to substantiate her testimony. In the west we might just say she’s making the whole thing up. I thought how rape could end if men just stopped doing it.
Then I had my hair done and looked in the mirror and saw how old I was. When you get old you cease to exist, people just don’t seem to see you any more. Perhaps I should lose weight or wear high heels to make me taller and show off my legs. Perhaps my nose needs altering or I could get my ears pierced or my teeth whitened. This made me think of trying to look nice and how idd this was when 140 million women have been circumcised and cruelly mutilated because it reduces libido and prevents promiscuity. No, I’ll just bleach and perm my hair and put on false eyelashes and shave myt legs and pad my bra, and file and paint my toenails. I’d best skip lunch or I’ll get fat.
I pottered about the garden and planted some lettuce. I thought of the women who make up over 50% of the world’s population yet only hold the title to 1% of the land, and produce more than half it’s food. They work 2/3rds of the world’s working hours but receive 10% of the world’s income.
Then I collected the grandchildren from school and took them to cubs and ballet and thought of childbearing and the way fertility can be controlled, like the 35% of all Puerto Rican woman that were sterilized by the US Agency for Development.
Then I paid a visit to that frail neighbour who The Meals On Wheels lady told me about. She’s sad and alone because her family have had to move to search for work and she’s frightened and doesn’t want to go into residential care but she’s in the system and thinks no one is listening.
Then I came home to do the cleaning and the cooking, sort out the clothes and do the washing, and remembered what the Ladybird books taught me in school.
“Here we are at home says Daddy.
Peter helps Daddy with the car, and Jane helps Mummy get the tea.
Good girl, says Mummy to Jane. You are a good girl to help me
When I had our children I worked part time for 20 years without sick pay or a pension and tried to nurture you all in sickness and life, and help keep everyone fed and educated. If an Englishman’s home is his castle why doesn’t he clean it. Only 3% of PLC Directors in Britain are women and only 4% of judges. 78% of all clerical workers are women, but only 11% are managers.
Then I started to work on my quilt, and you’re reading it now. Women artists only earn 1/3 of male artists. So I stopped and made your tea. That’s how I spent my day,
dear, how about you?