Friday, December 17, 2004

Catherine Parr sweater for MIL
DONE!!! (Brief pause for a triumphant dance of completion happiness.) Now, granted, I still have to wash and block it. But all the knitting and sewing and tucking-in of ends is completely done. It looks terrific. Photos to come.
Stornaway sweater for BIL (cream)
Work proceeds on sleeve #1. I have finished the underarm gusset and am now decreasing for the sleeve tapering. It will only get faster and faster from here on in as the rows take less time to do (until I start sleeve #2, of course). The wonderful thing is that because it's no-sew, when I'm done the knitting, I'm done the sweater (except for washing and blocking, of course). There is now definitely a visible light at the end of the tunnel.

Quite some time ago, an article in the Charlotte Observer came to my attention. This article has been hashed to death on numerous blogs and knitting why should my blog be any exception. :) Not to put too fine a point on it, this article pissed me off. Not because the author dissed knitting, but because she completely contradicted the basic principles of feminism while making herself out to be some kind of superior feminist. At the time (over a year and a half ago) I wrote my own response and sent it to the Observer. It never got published, nor did it get any kind of response. But I thought it was a really good letter anyway, and since having a blog is kind of a self-serving showcase of how great I think my writing is, :) I wanted to make it available here. So here it is...

Ms. Jameson's article ("Nesting urge won't remove cause of fears", March 23) was truly eye-opening. Prior to reading it, I was under the impression that all the knitting I'd been doing for the past twenty-odd years (since age eight or so) was by choice. I thought I was enjoying it. I thought I found it soothing, creative, productive, unselfish (since I give most of my knitting projects away). I thought it was good for the soul - that when I was knitting, I was reconnecting to myself and nature. I thought it gave me space in the day in which to relax and think.

But now I realise The Truth: all that was just self-delusional justification! I don't *really* knit by choice (why, that would be impossible). It's not *really* a fun thing to do. What I've *really* been doing all this time is turning my back on the "sisters who fought to free women from aprons and mops"!

And thanks to Ms. Jameson, I have seen the light! It's all clear to me now - this delusion of mine was all Cruel Society's fault. I was falsely persuaded by "peer pressure" to shuck off the power suit and get back to my aprons and mops. And the lie succeeded! Oh, what a meek, stupid little fool I have been. Oh, how I have strayed from the True Path...

Yeah. That's the way it really is.

Now that the drip-drip-dripping of my sarcasm has stopped, allow me to summarize what Ms. Jameson missed when she fell asleep in class the day they explained the basics of feminism:

Feminism does not equal "getting to do 'man stuff'". In fact, that's just as limiting a philosophy as "women should only do 'woman stuff'". What feminism *is* all about is being able to do what you *want* to do - following your own path without worrying that society will stand in your way just because of your gender. Yes, I'm talking about CHOICE. And by definition, feminism is therefore all about respecting DIVERSITY. Why? Because each woman's choices will be different.

This is a lesson Ms. Jameson evidently has yet to learn. She doesn't seem to realise that just because "home ec" stuff isn't *her* cup of tea, that it could be wildly interesting to someone else (male or female).

Admittedly, I am sure that there are a lot of knitters out there who *do* subscribe to conservatism. (And I'm sure there are a lot of basketball players who subscribe to conservatism. Heck, I'm sure there are a lot of blond guys named Jim who subscribe to conservatism, too! Political views transcend a lot of boundaries.) And maybe there *are* knitters who took up the hobby out of fear and a need for control - I don't know. I certainly can't speak to the life stories and motivations of all 38 million female American knitters (although apparently Ms. Jameson can). What I can say is that this isn't true of any of the knitters *I* know.

In fact, here are some tidbits of information about me and my family that will probably surprise the crap out of Ms. Jameson:

- I have a career in Information Technology. I am a webmaster for a major Canadian bank. I also do computer programming on the side. This job also happens to bring more money into my household than my husband's job.
- I hate cooking. My husband does all the cooking in our house, not to mention the dishes, grocery shopping, garbage, recycling and gardening. (I, incidentally, clean the bathrooms, do the laundry, vacuum, mop and manage the family finances. Yes, equal partnership in household chores - now *that's* "domestic bliss," baby!)
- My dad was one of the people who first taught me how to knit. True, my mom did most of the teaching, but then again, she knits more often (although crochet is really her thing).
- My dad's big hobby is cross-stitch. He's really good at it.
- My mom (the crocheter) is even less tied to aprons and mops than I am. In my parents' home, my dad does both the cooking *and* the floors.
- I'm not a Martha Stewart fan.
- My husband enjoys Trading Spaces almost as much as I do. My brother, on the other hand, prefers While You Were Out.
- I am an avid feminist. I detest the sexism that still pervades Western society. For instance, I loathe the fact that 99% of the ads I see for cleaning and cooking products show women doing the work.
- I am anti-conservatism. I am one of the more left-wing people I know.
- All of my children, regardless of gender, will be encouraged to find whatever hobbies make them happy - could be sports, could be domestic stuff, I don't really care. Whatever turns their crank is just fine with me. No matter what, though, they will all know how to keep a home and earn a living, if I have anything to say about it. Those are life skills that everybody should have.

I think it's fantastic that Ms. Jameson really likes shooting hoops. And if she doesn't like crafts and other "home ec" type activities, then you know what? She doesn't have to do them! That's the wonderful thing about the choices that feminism has brought to women. You know what else is wonderful about the choices that feminism has brought to women? The fact that if I don't like shooting hoops, I don't have to!

Ms. Jameson is obviously sporty. I'm artistic. Her atheleticism doesn't automatically label her as (to use another totally unjustified stereotype) a man-hating lesbian. Nor does my artistry automatically mean that I aspire to be Mrs. Cleaver.

Diversity is great. I really respect what Ms. Jameson chooses to do with her spare time (and I will fight tooth and nail for her right to do it). It's a shame that she doesn't respect what I choose to do with mine.

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