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Stitch 'N Bitch

Yesterday I finally caved to internal pressure (more on that in a separate entry), and decided that I'm going to re-learn how to knit. I picked up a copy of "Stich 'N Bitch," because I know a few people who've read it, and enjoyed it. I was expecting a primer on how to knit, with some cool, modern patterns. I was not expecting to be inspired by the book's introduction. This woman gets it (emphasis mine):

When I'd tell people about my latest obsession . . . [some friends] responded with "Really?" or "How interesting," both spoken with an air of disbelief, even a touch of disdain. After all, I had gotten a Ph.D. in the psychology of women and had started BUST, a feminist magazine - what was I doing knitting? Soon, it occurred to me that if I had told these folks I'd been playing soccer, or learning karate, or taken up carpentry, they most likely would have said, "Cool," because a girl doing a traditionally male activity - now, that's feminist, right? But a girl doing a traditionally feminine activity - let alone one as frivolous and time-wasting as knitting - well, what were they to make of that?

It made me rethink my original feminist position. After all, it had been thirty years since the feminist revolution of the 1970s and housewives as we knew them had pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur, so why, damnit, wasn't knitting receiving as much respect as any other hobby? Why was it still so looked down on? It seemed to me that the main difference between knitting and, say, fishing or woodworking or basketball, was the knitting had traditionally been done by women. As far as I could tell, that was the only reason it had gotten such a bad rap. And that's when it dawned on me: All those people who looked down on knitting - and housework, and housewives - were not being feminist at all. In fact, they were being anti-feminist, since they seemed to think only those things that men did, or had done, were worthwhile. Sure, feminism had changed the world, and young girls all across the country had formed soccer leagues, and were growing up to be doctors and astronauts and senators. But why weren't boys learning to knit and sew? Why couldn't we all - women and men alike - take the same kind of pride in the work our mothers had always done as we did in the work of our fathers?"



This, in a nutshell, is the thing that so many, many, many people just don't understand about feminism. It's not about trying to turn ourselves into men. (Because, ugh, why would we want to do that? Being a woman is awesome). It's about having the freedom and opportunity to do whatever we want to do, same as men have done all along. If I want to stay home and raise my children, that can be a feminist choice. Just like sewing and knitting and baking and all those other "feminine" activities can be feminist choices. I don't have to do "boy" things to qualify as a feminist. (Although I like some boy things, and can do some very cool boy things; I think I impressed the hell out of the guy at the camera store yesterday when I told him about the flash controller I built). Feminism is not about that, though. It's about choices, and being able to make the ones that we want to make, not being forced to spend our lives doing things that have been dictated by someone (or something) external, and not being treated as "less than" because of our plumbing.

I am loving this book, and I'm only on page 10. :D Also, I'm feeling more motivated than ever to do some really cool knitting projects.

Comments

kvratties
May. 30th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
Agree entirely.

I began knitting at the end of last year to distract me from bingeing when I knocked off work and snuggled with Mark in front of a film. It has not only been really successful at that, but I have been happily making up my own patterns for funky scarves (I like scarves and the ability to effectively meditate with it - nothing needing much thought). Mark has one almost like a shawl which I wore to a ren faire and Arran chose fluffy baby pink and blue polyester and something like a sheep's fleece for what has to be the most hideous scarf in existence! I have also done one for his best friend and am almost done one for a friend. I am taking orders and already have a backlog of 5! It is so lovely to get the end of a film and have not only had semi-connection time with Mark but also created something with love for someone I love.
here_be_dragons
May. 30th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
*nods* Yes, that's very much how I use crochet (I want to expand my horizons to knitting because I want to make some sweaters, and most of the prettiest sweater patterns are for knitting). I love having something to do with my hands while I watch TV in the evenings, and I really love having something lovely at the end of it. I also like having at least one small project going on so I can bring it with me for times I end up waiting for something (for doctor's appointments, or if I arrive early to pick Connor up from school, etc), especially if I'm waiting somewhere where there are other people around who want to talk to me. Can't read a book in that circumstance, but I can crochet and carry on a conversation. (Ooh! I'm clever, huh)? :D
kvratties
May. 30th, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
Whoops - I just take a book and ignore them all :)
here_be_dragons
May. 30th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
LOL! I can do that some of the time. Lately, though, Connor's been going to this program called "Friendship Club" (an after-school thing, where the kids learn various social skills, like dealing with conflict, reading body language to get along better with people, stuff like that). And I tried bringing a book and reading, but the other moms just kept talking to me anyway! O_o So, finally I decided that crochet was probably my best option. Of course, then they talked to me about the crochet, when I was trying to start a project and needed to count stitches for a few minutes. :D
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