Felt Frannies.

Dear Mum,

I have been keeping something from you. I know I told you I had started to sell some things I made… When you asked what I was making, I looked shifty and said “feminist things”. Your response was “burn your bra stuff?” Well, at that point I didn’t feel like elaborating. I am now.

All my formative life I have identified as a feminist. I believe in equality and gender fluidity. I have attended marches, been involved in groups and done a lot of angry shouting. I am a mum of two now and I feel since then, my beliefs have become more important, but the way I can spread my message now has changed.

Last Christmas I decided to make a felt tree decoration in the shape of a vulva. I shared it with friends and we agreed it is a powerful symbol as mothers and means so much to us. The confidence I gained from making that decoration was put in a drawer with my sewing things until a month or so later. It came to the day before I was going to meet a group of women I have admired and been inspired by for almost a year, and I wanted to express my love and pride. I got out the felt, a button and a Polly pocket. My first hair clip was created with Polly as the clitoris. I wore it with pride, I felt liberated.

A few weeks later I made some hair clips as gifts. I made a lovely one with a pink pompom clitoris and a Star Wars themed one. I was soon developing a style and a following for my new “art”. After this, I decided to sell them. I have been making felt “frannies” every night for almost two months now. I am trying to stock an Etsy while fulfilling orders that range in style: from shabby chic to glam rock Ziggy on a unicorn. Each vulva has a name and her own personality, it is amazing what story can be given to a felt fanny!

Every weekend I now visit haberdasheries and charity shops with my two sons and husband. We are often found shouting across the shop to each other “this would make good pubic hair” (ricrac makes for a wonderful neat bush). I particularly like finding old clothes and vintage fabric as I feel they make the more characterful yonis.

Before you ask mum, yes I have had people ask me why I am doing it. I have channelled that into my creativity. It isn’t offensive- what I do. It is done to empower in a fun cute way. We are surrounded by the phallus. It is about time we had some fannies hanging around.

Yes even friends have questioned why I am doing it. Am I doing it because it is zeitgeist? Am I jumping on the new yoni love train? No, no I am not. I didn’t even see the yoni train come past but if there is a yoni train I am happy and I want to jump on board! Let’s take pride in our anatomy. Let’s shun embarrassment.

My ethos is to empower all, vagina or none, we can all be inspired by the symbol of life and love. I make them in a way that they are fun, subtle and they won’t make grandad blush. So mum, I would like to tell you I am proud. I am proud to be a woman and I am proud to be a feminist. Most of all, I am proud I stay up until way too late after the boys are in bed to sew fannies!

So next time you see me I will be wearing my frannie hair clip with pride. It isn’t there to offend or embarrass. It is there in all its beauty to spread the message of pride and love. It is there to show solidarity to all women with or without vaginas. It is there to show my sons that body awareness is important and keeps us safe. It is there to question the patriarchal society where the vulva is something we have become embarrassed by. It is there because it is fucking pretty!

Go check out my Instagram: www.instagram.com/feltfrannies

Or my etsy shop: feltfrannies

All my love, your creative feminist daughter.

#Issue3 #Article #FrancineDenton

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