Top critical review
17 of 32 people found this helpful
on January 6, 2011
As an AVID embroiderer and feminist, I had see this book often over the years but had never gotten around to reading it. Ugh. Terrible! I want my money back.
The nicest thing to say is that it is very dated, and for the time, it was probably important. I just found it to be a very bad, boring, repetitive study that really doesn't say much. She really just says the same thing over and over and over: Embroidery has "signified" femininity through the ages. That's about it, folks. Well, we learn that sometimes this has been an empowering thing, but mostly it has been a way of keeping women in their place and submissive, etc. Occasionally women have rebelled against it. That's really it. That is it. I don't think I read more than three chapters though I scanned the rest.
What I found so offensive is that Parker is clearly not an embroiderer herself, doesn't know anything about the medium, and really couldn't care less about it. I was amazed at how totally insensitive and dismissive of it she is. It is the subject of her book after all. But her attitude is pretty much of a distanced, "scientific" observor reporting on something she had absolutely zero knowledge or understanding of herself.
If you are an embroiderer, do not look to this book to tell you anything. I learned zilch except maybe a historical fact or two. A really good book about women and embroidery has yet to be written.