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Artist turns nasty catcalls into beautiful works of art

When you think of cross-stitch, you probably think of your grandma’s house, not creepy guys you encounter on the street.

Not Elana Adler. The Brooklyn-based artist is doing her part to take back the power from men who make random sexual comments at us on a daily basis as we try to commute to work, get groceries and play with the kids in the park.

And she’s doing it through beautiful embroidery.

You Are My Duchess Project

Photo credit: Elana Adler

The 40-plus piece You Are My Duchess collection is comprised of cross-stitched art that represents “a contemporary feminist interpretation of women’s work and an objectification of my personal experience,” Adler wrote on her blog.

“Each captures a moment, giving these words a visual presence, a power, and a state of concreteness. These words were hurled casually and heard quickly but required hours of time-consuming, careful stitching.”

You Are My Duchess Project 2

Photo credit: Elana Adler

I admit, I chuckled a little bit reading the ridiculous quotes stitched as something I’d expect to see inside my grandma’s living room. But soon, it evolved into a different sort of feeling — one of disgusting, sad recognition. I — like an estimated 65 percent of women — experience this type of random sexualized commenting on a daily basis.

You Are My Duchess 3

You Are My Duchess 4

Photo credit: Elana Adler

That’s exactly the point behind it, Adler said.

“It is a beautification of an assault,” she wrote. “Perhaps in the moment these statements are meant to compliment, but most don’t find vulgar, highly sexualized statements whispered or screamed at them by random strangers complimentary. Rather, they are an invasion of personal space.”

You Are My Duchess 5

Photo credit: Elana Adler

Her hope is that this art makes people think more about what they’re yelling out randomly on the street. Let’s hope, but the random guy who just told me to “smile” as I walked into my building reminds me that we’ve still got a long way to go.

Get a full look at the You Are My Duchess collection over on Elana Adler’s blog.

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