Quan Yin, Quality, Quilts, Queer… or perhaps Quakers, or Quest… such a quandary as to what to write about for this A to Z Challenge for the letter Q. The later portion of the English alphabet poses a special challenge as the words that start some of the letters in the last third of the set have almost no words starting with those letters that are in common use and in these challenges the coverage gets fairly thin and predictable.
I have examined Quilts in this challenge in 2016.
And I covered the Quixotic Q in 2012.
I love Quan Yin, the female Buddha of compassion, but I just wasn’t feeling it as an entry for this challenge. I am not sure we can say she is iconic as until 1200 AD, or so, she was most often depicted as a male, and in many parts of the world still is male.
Then there was Queer for which I could also work in the word Quaker by covering the quote my mother repeated to me time and again to show me the folly of judging others. As she learned it, it went as follows,
Everyone is queer but me and thee, and sometimes I think thee is a bit queer.
The quote, “‘All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer.” is attributed to Robert Owen in 1828. He was a bit of a utopian, so I understand why Quakers and Amish are supposed to use this phrase. My mother learned it from her grandmother, who was born into an Amish family. I am quite sure that this in no way referred to sexuality, gender, or status. I could go on about this phrase and all of which it is indicative , but this does not really apply to the iconic feminine either.
But I finally decided to borrow Leanne’s word Quality (over Quantity) as she wrote on Cresting the Hill. She is doing a Zen thing for the challenge. On reading her post I immediately began thinking of the women who have inspired me and how they stressed quality in all you do as well as how quality is more important than quantity in nearly all things. Myrdene, my major professor, an anthropologist, taught qualitative methods, as quantitative methods have no real meaning as you cannot be sure you are counting the same things that others are counting.
A mother knows this. Children are not equal units. You cannot compare your first two children with your last two children. Or at least generations and places where many children were or are common in families know the birth order argument. Parents have favorites. Some children become the family scapegoats or black sheep. Male and female children are, to this day, valued differently in many cultures.
A mother also knows that food stuffs are not all equal. You cannot compare, nor add together, the processed, empty calorie items available in corner fast food markets in food deserts with the fresh produce available in farmer’s markets that feature locally produced, organic, fresh in-season vegetables and fruits.
Nothing is comparable. As we age we learn that we are truly unique within our overlapping patterns of behavior. Quality is perception. Number is … well just number. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Boys with Toys.” And we also know the “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Women tend to not think this way. Lots of men do not either, but our modern world tends to emphasize the accumulation of goods. A good life, a well-lived life, happy and healthy children who have happy lives ,and if they want, have children of their own. These are not additive. Our lives need to be analog, not digital. Degrees of meaning are shades of experience. Checked off boxes bleak and without nuance. Quality is like a texture. Communication is qualitative, while letters and sounds can be digitized, the content within communication is qualitative.
To me quality is a feminine concept. How do you see it?