Masculinity doesn't belong to men and boys. I realise there is nothing very radical in saying that, but because so many of my friends are lesbians, I've been talking to them about the project, and about masculinity, and these conversations are seeping into the shirts.
I've always known that many of the women I love are seen by society as being 'masculine'. Mainly because they don't want to conform to heteronormative constructions of femininity. That means they are loud, funny, confident, assertive, stylish, handsome. Some of them are regularly mis-pronouned; bus drivers call them son, clothes shop assistants call them sir, women in toilets say the men's are next door...
Catherine calls these women gender warriors. Uncompromising about asserting their gender as women, uncompromising about refusing to wear skirts, heels, make-up.
But all these women reject violence as a way to resolve conflict. They nurture their friends rather than bantering with them. They love and hold the children in their lives. They negotiate rather than command.
So I have decided that I want to extend my conversations. I want to talk to women about their masculinity, and try to weave some of their masculinity into my shirts.