Mary Yaeger: Making Modern Merit Badges

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Mary Yaeger created a series of merit badges that “illustrate female “rites of passage” as well as the myriad physical manipulations women undergo to achieve cultural ideals of beauty, such as weight watching, whether or not to shave or wear makeup, etc.

Mary Yaeger Merit Badge - Mascara

The pieces are hand stitched, extremely detailed and much smaller than shown here. The subject matter conveys Mary’s impressions of growing up female in modern Western culture.

Mary Yaeger Merit Badge - Pregnancy

They are a well observed series of pieces, excellently executed and seem like a natural evolution from the merit badges you get in the Scouting movement.

Mary Yaeger Merit Badge - Hot Flash

Mary has taken 28 of the patches and created a poster that you can buy from her website, where you can also discover about her beading work and other pieces.

Mary Yaeger Merit Badge Poster

What badges are missing? I’m thinking there should be one for “making a noise when you get out of a chair” which is something I noticed I’m doing lately… 🙂