Saturday, April 24, 2010

Things I Love: Seth Aaron Henderson

I am lucky lady. My job revolves around being creative. I make movies. However, regardless of how lucky I feel to be a filmmaker, sometimes I need to do something else. Thus, I sew. I am not a good seamstress by any means; the tool that I use most is probably my seam ripper. Therefore I am easily fascinated by those who have more skill than I. Thus, I love Project Runway. In season seven this love was focused on one designer in particular - Seth Aaron Henderson.

The funny thing is that it had little to do with his work. Truthfully, I would never wear most of clothes. They just aren't me. Grunge rock star I am not.

The reason why I love Seath Aaron Henderson is that he is a straight, married man with teenage kids who still wants to be a fashion designer.

In Tough Guise Jackson Katz talks about how masculinity (and femininity to a point) are all about fitting into these really rigid boxes that do nothing but to keep us confined and from fully actualizing as human beings.

Truth be told I don't know many men who can sew even though sewing is an important life skill. I don't mean that you have to be able to churn out couture, but everyone puts premature holes in clothes from time to time and it is a great skill to be able to fix those. Thus, I applaud Seth Aaron Henderson for not only rocking the runway with his punk/military/goth look, but being a straight man who is living outside the gender conforming box.

However, there is a flip side to this sew-tastic story. We live in a culture that is male dominated, male identified, and male centered. Does having a straight man win at a reality contest in a traditionally female-centered discipline really help to break down our rigid gender constructions? Or is is just another example of how white (straight) men are the best at everything... including sewing? It is an interesting dichotomy. Is this really progress? Or is it just another male takeover? I, personally, can't decide. So I put this quagmire out to the masses. I am going to go back to ripping out seams.

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  1. I stumbled across your post after my mother raved to me about Seth Aaron Henderson and reprimanded me for not watching this past season of Project Runway as a fashion design major...oh dear haha.

    But I LOVE this, and how true it is. I hope that this does help break apart gender bias within the fashion industry so that the first words out of someone's mouth, at the mention a male designer, isn't, "Is he gay?" A male that is exceptionally gifted in garment construction or otherwise shouldn't automatically have his sexual orientation challenged.

  2. I totally agree. I think there is a misconception that because women typically sew that it is "easy" and, therefore, not of interest to straight men whose only goal is to show how "manly" they are through their pursuits. Sewing is actually very difficult. It would actually be really macho (in terms of thinking of manliness as a scale from things that are easily accomplished to difficult) to be a great seamster (?) since sewing is actually very technical and difficult to do well.