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"new domesticity" vs. feminism - string theory
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Sun, May. 29th, 2005 11:38 pm
"new domesticity" vs. feminism


photo from http://www.gibsongirldesign.com


http://www.citypages.com/databank/26/1277/article13322.asp

i think this is a mostly very insulting and ignorant article about craft (mostly knitting) in our local paper here. and also insulting just to women in general on a whole bunch of levels. i'm pissed.
i might write my 1st ever "letter to the editor" about it when i've gathered my thoughts about it.

+++

"

BUST, the official quarterly publication of lipstick-packing, Kathleen
Hannah-worshipping Third Wave feministes, does a brisk business in its
official online store. A recent visit to the "Boobtique" revealed all the edgy
merchandise you might expect from a sex-positive feminist publication:
Waterproof "rabbit" vibrators fashioned of nontoxic silicon. Animal-friendly lip
balm (since bunnies are for clitoral stimulation, not cosmetic testing). A
camouflage-print tampon case that boasts "Raise the Red Flag," as if
involuntarily shedding one's uterine lining is a radical act. Shocking pink
T-shirts emblazoned with the scowling visage of St. Joan (Jett). Knitting
needles.

Hold up...knitting needles? Like, those funny sticks Nana used to transform
itchy skeins of wool into unlovable stocking stuffers? No freaking way.

Must be a clever ruse, I thought upon discovering this glaring
idiosyncrasy. Perhaps said needles were actually weapons of self-defense to be
concealed within the wearer's camo-print tampon case and unsheathed in case of
assault. Or maybe knitting needles had become a soigné hair ornament for the Le
Tigre set. After all, a bunch of punk rock girls who disdain archaic notions of
kinder und küche aren't going to waste time knitting sweaters when
they've got pending legislation to protest. Right?

But as I ventured further into the virtual environs of the Boobtique, the
apparent disconnect between the mission and the merchandise became even more
glaring: There were recipe cards, the same kind your mom swapped with her fellow
hens on bridge night. Needlepoint patterns. Embroidery kits. There was a demure
apron, ideal for shielding one's housedress from errant flour or spilled sherry.
There was even a booklet of cookie recipes, complete with guitar-shaped cutters
for indie cred. This was no prank. A gingersnap-happy soccer mom hadn't hacked
the server in the hopes of creating a clone army. I was the interloper, having
unwittingly entered the airy realm of the New Domestics, or as they like to call
themselves, "crafty girls."

While this trend might sound like a right-wing conspiracy engineered by
disciples of Dr. Laura, rest assured that this isn't a Republican thing--and
it's certainly not about the care and feeding of husbands. In fact, the New
Domestic movement couldn't have sprung up any further from the cultural right.
Suddenly, baking, gardening, sewing, and especially knitting are all the rage
among educated, ultra-liberal young women, and feminist rags like BUST
aren't alone in catering to this crowd. The ancient rituals of tending to hearth
and home have suddenly acquired hipster cachet, and crafting circles are popping
up like prize-winning hydrangeas all over the Twin Cities.

The New Domestics hem skirts, darn socks, and polish their floors
"Cinderella-style" on hands and bruised knees. They mulch their indigenous
gardens with free-trade coffee grounds, swathe their faux-hawked infants in
handwoven wraps, and crochet dildo cozies. It's like a postmodern version of
Martha Stewart Living where tatting handmade lace isn't just acceptable,
it's cool. Online communities like Get Crafty, Craft Mafia, and even radical
fave Hip Mama are populated with young women proud to be fully domesticated.
Many posters even define their profession as "housewife" (or its more primal
counterpart, "mama") without a tinge of irony. Feminists used to boast about
infiltrating the boys' club; now it's become a badge of honor to devote oneself
to so-called women's work.

My first thought about all this was that our '60s
and '70s feminist forebears didn't jiggle their way into the national
consciousness so their daughters could frost cupcakes and embroider napkins.
Female domesticity, after all, was once viewed as a form of captivity, a
shameful and usually lifelong tour of duty enforced by the patriarchy. The
numbing effects of housework were documented in Betty Friedan's Second Wave
manifesto, The Feminine Mystique. Friedan described this domestic malaise
as "the problem with no name." (Those were the days before the media coined
snappy terms for every ailment, however vague.) I couldn't imagine why any woman
would want to regress to an era where doped-up American wives were enslaved by
spotless appliances of salmon and goldenrod. Great-Grandma knitted socks because
there was no Target, not because she grooved on developing calluses.

Then I wondered if the new obsession with handicrafts was merely a postmodern
nod to those fading archetypes. Pearls, stockings, bullet bras, twinsets, and
other signifiers of buttoned-up '50s femininity have long been an ironic fashion
statement for the emo set. Venture into any Hot Topic store, if you dare, and
you'll find frilly bloomers and granny glasses on display alongside the usual
Lil' Sniper trench coats and System of a Down tees. "Matron chic" has been a
staple of the punk scene for ages. So maybe the fascination with domestic arts
is a postmillennial moment for with-it girls, destined to disappear as quickly
as yesterday's cocktail.

Maybe not.

 

"i want a spinning wheel." --Post on crochetville.com

 

Trish Hoskins--librarian, scooter enthusiast, and coproprietor of Crafty
Planet, a hip craft and fabric store in northeast Minneapolis--thinks renewed
interest in the domestic arts is actually evidence that today's woman is
rightfully unashamed of her feminine heritage. Hoskins opened Crafty Planet in
2003 and has since watched distaff Minneapolis scenesters snap up knitting
needles as if they were the last beer at Grumpy's.

In a yarn-strewn room at the shop, Hoskins weighs
in on the New Domestics and the sudden appeal of crafts and housework. I wonder
from the start if she's going to drop the F-bomb in relation to the womanly
arts, and sure enough, she does. "I do think it's feminist in some way," Hoskins
says. "I think a lot of it is, like, the reclamation of our feminine past, and
the fact that it's not something to be ashamed of."

Shame. It's an interesting point to ponder, considering past generations of
women were made to feel ashamed if they couldn't whip up a soufflé or
darn a tattered sock. The cruelest mid-century supper club humor was directed
toward inept wives, those poor wretches who burned dinner, scorched linens, and
would sooner buy a shirt than mend one. Now, ironically, some women feel the
need to apologize if they excel at--or even take an interest in--traditionally
feminine activities. It could be viewed as treason, or worse, the systematic
undoing of the progress our feminist forebears made a generation ago.

Hoskins believes the opposite--that the choice to be domestic or even work
exclusively inside the home is just another privilege afforded by feminism. "We
have the luxury of reclaiming this part [of ourselves]. Where in the past, like
in the '60s and '70s, there was so much work to be done to stake our claim
outside of the home," Hoskins says. "Maybe we're starting to feel like we can
and should value what women have always done, that it's not inferior to what men
have done."

"Women's work" has always been a loaded term, and seldom a compliment. It
evokes softness, weakness, tedium, even inferiority. "A man's job,"
contrariwise, has usually meant dirty, adrenaline-fueled, challenging labor
deemed unfit for the fairer sex. But why are some traditionally gendered tasks
considered more valuable than others? Is baking inherently less important to
society than, say, post-digging?

"Knitting is women's work, but that's good," Hoskins says emphatically. "It's
not less worthy than working outside the home."

Maybe that's one reason last year's remake of The Stepford Wives was
so roundly rejected by audiences: The crusty old archetype of the enslaved
housewife has been replaced by the new vision of the empowered domestic. (Or
else the film just sucked.) Either way, it looks like those tired old 'bots need
to make way for a new crop of duster-wielding goddesses: the Stepford Punks.

For whatever reason, a punk rock ethos permeates the New Domestic lifestyle.
This makes for some incongruous creations. At Crafty Planet, there's a sewing
bag on display that reads "Knit Fast. Die Young." They've got patterns for
skull-print sweaters, Goth embroidery, and snarky cross-stitch sampler kits that
bear such treasured, timeworn expressions as "Babies Suck," "Beeyotch," "Merry
Fucking Christmas," and my personal favorite, "Irony Isn't Dead." On a corkboard
near the door, various hipster entrepreneurs advertise their wares: guitar strap
appliqués, hand-sewn Vespa seat covers, even hip kiddie clothes. Some of the
Crafty Planet denizens may be housewives, but I detected no whiff of
desperation. Imagine Kim Gordon in a Vulcan mind-meld with Betty Crocker and
you'll get the idea. Today's crafter is more Riot Grrl than Girl Scout, cookies
notwithstanding.

Hoskins sees definite blood ties between the
genesis of the New Domestic movement and the local punk rock scene. "It started
with music, I think," Hoskins says. "The whole DIY movement: starting your own
record label, having your own band, doing your own thing. DIY can apply to
anything. It's about wanting to be independent and not wanting to support big
business or be corporate. You don't want to buy a sweater everyone else has."
Think of it as stickin' it to the Man with a six-millimeter crochet hook.

The punk rock esthetic is evident even in the BUST merch that
initially shocked me with its seeming docility: "I'm Foxy and Crafty!" screams a
knitting-needle holster. The booklet of cookie recipes includes "suggestions of
punk rock tunes to listen to while baking." And the Easy-to-Knit Scarf Kit
promises to produce not a neatly stitched muffler, but a tattered, deconstructed
paper yarn sash that, according to the description, is "so punk rock." In fact,
BUST cofounder Debbie Stoller originally borrowed the term "stitch 'n'
bitch" to describe gatherings of rogue knitters who embrace yarn and anarchy in
equal measure.

This maverick attitude in younger crafters is a relatively new
phenomenon--"old-school" housewives, unsurprisingly, tend to toe the line. "The
younger people, our core group, they're more likely to try to learn on their
own. They're independent." Hoskins says, noting that older customers are more
likely to seek detailed instruction. "You see fewer younger knitters working
from patterns."

That turns out to be an apt metaphor: Despite handicrafts' reputation of
being passed from generation to generation, many of today's twentysomethings
were never taught to sew on a button, let alone knit elaborate toques. In the
'70s and '80s, my own mother was too busy schlepping coffee for her male
associates to worry about obsolete womanly arts like needlework. Hoskins says
that most of the students at Crafty Planet's classes are reclaiming a heritage
lost somewhere along the way. "I don't know how many of these women learned from
their parents or grandparents," she says. "I think more often they're coming
without having learned anything when they were young."

Once you become aware of them, the New Domestics are ubiquitous. You'll see a
green-haired girl knitting infinitesimal preemie booties on the bus. Or you'll
overhear a conversation between two dreadlocked grad students about how to
properly mulch rose bushes for optimal blooms. Sometimes they gather at bars for
hours of drunken, riotous purling, or meet at the park with their socially
conscious, thrift-shop-outfitted toddlers in tow. The New Domestics aren't
poseurs or dilettantes; they're cranking out real-deal handicrafts and tending
gorgeous gardens with expert panache. And unlike their downtrodden housewife
ancestors, they look happy.

 

"holy craftgasm! My first mitten!" --Post on craftster.com

 

Katherine Hysell, 24, enjoys sewing, beading, painting, baking, and of
course, knitting. Like many of the New Doms, she equates her education in
handicrafts to a feminist awakening. "I was taught how to knit by a college
roommate and she was very into feminism and women's studies," Hysell recalls. "I
think teaching me made her think that she was passing something on."

"The patterns and yarns out there today are not what your mama had," says
Michelle Bogusz, who sews, knits, and crochets. "It's almost like a revolution
in our feminine heritage: 'We love you, Grammy, but we're just gonna take what
you taught us and evolve from there.'"

Contrary to the stigma of housework and handicrafts as rote, tedious, and
numbing, many New Domestics profess to like the calming, almost hypnotic
sensation brought on by crafting. Call it "the narcotic effect with no name," or
a serendipitous modern-day version of the "mother's little helper" that kept
'50s housewives smiling through even the most dour of situations.

And then there's the unexpected catharsis of the crafting circle, that
sacrosanct feminine space where stitching rarely takes precedence over bitching.
"I get a chance to see that there's a lot going on outside the bubble of married
life," says Bogusz of the frequent crafting parties she attends. "The social
aspect is fun, but there's so much more going on. This is an opportunity for us
to mix and not necessarily talk about our kids or husbands. We talk about
fashion, sex, pop culture...I look forward to the next gathering five minutes
after I've left the last."

"I've had many friends ask me to teach them how to knit," Hysell says. "I'm
surprised myself by how trendy it's become."

Trendy enough to lure even a
convenience-obsessed, yarn-phobic journalist to a crafting party? You bet your
ass. Armed with two skeins of yarn, a pair of bamboo needles the size of
chopsticks, and a how-to book amusingly titled I Can't Believe I'm
Knitting!
, I bravely ventured to a friend's apartment to see why needlework
sends so many otherwise rational young women into paroxysms of ecstasy. There
were five invitees in attendance, and I watched in horror as each tackled her
project with the grace and assurance of an HGTV host.

Meanwhile, I struggled to "cast on," which is the technical term for winding
some goddamn string around stupid inflexible sticks using an inscrutable
cat's-cradle diagram. The sleek (and expensive) yarn I'd started out with soon
morphed into a misshapen mass of pubic fluff, raked into disarray by my inept
fingers and stretched out beyond repair. Not only could I not knit, I couldn't
even complete the preliminary step to begin knitting. Two hours later, with a
crick in my back, a stormy expression, and an unspoken vendetta against all yarn
manufacturers, I tossed aside I Can't Believe I'm Knitting! and resigned
myself to a joyless, craft-free life devoid of any feminine heritage. Can't
Knit for Shit
was more like it.

"You'll figure it out one day," my friends reassured me as they modestly
unfurled variegated chenille scarves, stylish fuzzy ponchos, and embroidered
napkins. But their eyes reflected fathomless pity. I was no better than that
most incompetent of housekeepers: a husband.

Speaking of husbands, where are the boys in all this? It's obvious that most
New Domestics are in it for their own edification, rather than to cater to the
men in their lives, but are any guys actually participating in the hot crafty
action? "We do get a decent amount of men coming in," Hysell says, though she
admits that her male customers are overwhelmingly sensitive types. In other
words, don't expect to see any mustachioed NASCAR fans crocheting in the stands
anytime soon, though such a display of confident masculinity would surely
impress the ladies.

Despite my failure to knit at even a child's competency level, I must confess
that I didn't remain wholly undomesticated for long: During my visit to Crafty
Planet two weeks later, Hoskins, bless her heart, helped me find the perfect
simple needlecraft for a clumsy-fingered cynic, and I'm proud to report that
this project was a success. Sure, the stitches might not be even, the knots
might be conspicuous, and my counting may have been a little askew in places.
However, I now have a handmade cross-stitch sampler in my office that reads "GO
FUCK YOURSELF" in homey script. I guess crafting can be cathartic after all.

Bogusz, meanwhile, continues to marvel at the crafting opportunities that
present themselves in our accelerated culture. "Who ever thought to knit a
bikini?" she wonders. "Or an iPod cozy?"

Obviously, someone who embraces bravado and progress but clings stubbornly to
an idealized, even imagined tradition. Is this supplication to the hearth
sentimental or toxic, empowering or insulting? Women today might have the
privilege of mastering the fuzzy, insular domestic arts over the male-coded
skill sets favored in the corporate world. Unfortunately, progress requires
preventive maintenance, and if women don't continue to challenge men at their
own game, or worse, choose to re-ghettoize themselves in the home, all our hard
work could unravel like a poorly knit sock.

Perhaps there's a more poignant side to this movement, a flash of tenderness
buried beneath all that punk rock bravado. Maybe today's young women, largely
raised by working mothers, are grasping for some kind of concrete connection to
the distant past, a time when women relied on each other, kept close company,
created the things they needed, and took pride in their homes and children,
rather than feeling ashamed of themselves for caring. There's guilt and conflict
inherent in being a modern girl--how does one attain gender equality without
devaluing the skills our mothers and grandmothers cultivated? If being
successful means devoting oneself solely to "man's work," then what does that
say about women?

Or maybe it's all much simpler than that. "To have someone come up to you and
tell you that they love your scarf, shawl, or hat is nice, but to be able to
tell them that you made it is a million times better," Hysell says. "I've always
been a 'make it yourself' type. I am not the domestic diva I lead some people to
believe I am. I'm just a knitter, basically a scarf and hat kind of gal."

"People bond and become friends," Hoskins says of the gatherings at her shop.
"Sometimes there's a lot more chatting than crafts going on."

Perhaps Bogusz has the best (and simplest) explanation for the growing ranks
of the New Domestics. "I do believe we're having fun."

"

more links to where we are talking about this article:

http://www.livejournal.com/community/knitting/4600273.html
http://www.livejournal.com/community/crochet/2355361.html
http://ana.livejournal.com/1568576.html
http://www.livejournal.com/community/minnknit/29267.html
http://www.livejournal.com/users/costal/268407.html
http://anapurls.typepad.com/ana_purls/2005/05/diablo_cody.html
http://www.livejournal.com/community/punk_knitters/574077.html

36CommentReply

fuzzybumblebee
fuzzybumblebee
fuzzybumblebee
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 04:56 am (UTC)

curious to hear your critique. i couldn't read the thing. the pictues threw me off. i have problems with ladies with a certain kind of glasses and that article was full of them. plus whenever i read anything it bugged me. so i stopped.
plus i think i don't want to be categorized as a "crafty grrrrrrrl" getting in on the trend with all the other young hip folks. my reasons for doing this stuff are so far from that i don't even know what they are. but is deep and mystical for sure ;)


ReplyThread
carl_can
carl_can
Fri, Nov. 19th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)

This is an outstanding blog experience. This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are very good blogger. Thanks for posting this informative article.......
cash for gold


ReplyThread Parent
joy_disaster
joy_disaster
joy.
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 05:29 am (UTC)

ugh. There are so many stupid assumptions here. That feminism is "anti" homemaking, that knitting is "housework" and "domesticity". Crafts are ART and people knitting and crocheting are practicing art not doing the equivalent of scrubbing a toilet. Second, that knitting/crochet/domesticity is a republican thing that liberals couldn't possibly be interested in (because we're so busy getting women into CEO positions of patriarchal power, right? psh.), and the punchline is that - haha, get this! - no, it's not Dr. Laura but hip young feminists who encourage craft - as if the right wing has ever encouraged ART, as if they have ever encouraged textiles created from anywhere but sweatshops overseas. Why does that seem like a contradiction? It makes perfect sense. Why is encouraging art equated with keeping women in the home, so to speak? There is also thye assumption that if a woman is knitting, she isn't working outside the home. So many stereotypes here. Even calling knitting "domestic". There's just too much to go into. The article is premised on a false idea, (and a hugely false, manufactured "contradiction". so the whole thing is just tired from the beginning.


ReplyThread
joy_disaster
joy_disaster
joy.
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 05:37 am (UTC)

oh, and the other thing: there is always a similar theme at hand - like the author is cooing over the cute feminists trying to make this quaint, non-worthwhile women's work into a feminist revolution, the way you go "awww" when you see a toddler trying an impossible task. I think knitting and crocheting can be dismissed as women's domesticity but for many years knitting and weaving were done only by men in guilds, and those tasks were held in great esteem - not sniffed at as "domesticity".

I also resent the folk psychology that young women must be acting out from having been raised by "working" mothers, and now they are grasping at some connection to womanhood. I could go on all night.


ReplyThread
ana
ana
ana voog
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 05:53 am (UTC)

ohmigod, i could go on all night too!
i'll be seething and stewing about this for days before i write my big "femminazi manifesto" about it! :)

what a clueless fucktard who wrote this article.

humanity wouldn't even EXIST (in the form it is now) without textiles. without weaving, knitting, crocheting, spinning humanity would be NOWHERE. we'd be clicking rocks together and eating berries off bushes like squirrels.
hello? string? fishing nets? baskets? huts? clothing? bedding? rugs?
sewing? COOKING? it's called SURVIVAL and EVOLUTION. hell, even the 1st computer is based upon KNITTING.

and the part about him thinking that we think having our period is a radical act in and of itself?
ummm! no but not being SHAMED about it IS a radical act, stupid ass.
not having to be thought of as unclean and not worthy of even being TOUCHED is a radical act.

and the thing about rabbits being ok for masturbation but not ok for cosmetic testing?
as if we are actually masturbating with actual rabbits?
i know he thought he was just being cute and clever with the little tie in, but he can just go fuck himself.

and that we are into "crafting" for it's "narcotic effect"?
like we are just popping "mother's little helpers" here?

what about it's meditational effect? what about the spirituality of it? when men do it it's called RELIGION.

as if this whole thing is about knitting a sweater that has a skull on it to be trendy and ironic and ya, just rebelling.! i realize some people are. but fuck, talk about dumbing down the entire world of textiles.

and maybe we want to make it ourself because the shit we buy at target supports slave labour about falls apart about 1 week after you buy it?

arrrrrgh. i'm just getting started.....




ReplyThread Parent Expand



pir_anha
pir_anha
piranha @ dreamwidth
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 06:00 am (UTC)
feminism and the "new domestics"

considering the other articles of this ilk i've read (why are they always written by somebody who can't knit/crochet, and doesn't learn it during zir research either?), this isn't as bad, actually. i don't know that it means to be insulting, it's just that the style is heavy on the hip banter, and that can backfire.

the article harps a little too much on the domestic bits. my knitting and crochet isn't domestic at all, except that i do engage in it in a house. :) it's a craft that touches on, and occasionally wholeheartedly enters the realm of art for me, and that's where i want it to go. that has incredibly little to do with what i was taught in school about sewing and needlecrafts, which was all about the domestic aspects, about being useful, and being something a well-rounded woman had to know. i consider myself an artisan (not quite yet an artist, though we shall see).

and you know what? as to whether women throw away advances made by feminists through becoming "new doms" -- we've come a long way, baby, and it's all about CHOICE now.


ReplyThread
ana
ana
ana voog
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 06:11 am (UTC)
Re: feminism and the "new domestics"

if i'm supposed to be happy because that this article is better than other ones, that is depressing to me. wow, i'm glad i have not read the ones that are worse!

do you see women that do crafting as the "new doms" that are throwing away the advances made by feminists in the past?


ReplyThread Parent Expand




pipu
pipu
katie
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 07:03 am (UTC)

ARGH! That article is one of the most insulting things I've ever read. I think I may have to write a letter, too.


ReplyThread
ana
ana
ana voog
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 07:11 am (UTC)

i know!
and just so i don't forget, as i am collecting my thoughts about this hourly i must add in what is up with lines like:

The New Domestics hem skirts, darn socks, and polish their floors
"Cinderella-style" on hands and bruised knees."

"My first thought about all this was that our '60s
and '70s feminist forebears didn't jiggle their way into the national
consciousness so their daughters could frost cupcakes and embroider napkins."

bruised knees??
"cinderella-style"??
WTF???

"jiggle" their way into national consciousness?
JIGGLE?
JIGGLE????

ummm, jiggle as in GIVE THEIR LIVES???


ReplyThread Parent Expand


names0fthedead
names0fthedead
cheap, but not as cheap as your girlfriend
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 10:04 am (UTC)

that's fucking infuriating
I'm angry now
what a load of insulting crap


ReplyThread
urgent_alchemy
urgent_alchemy
Urgent Alchemy
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 10:07 am (UTC)

The language at the beginning of the article is so insulting that it's difficult for me (even with the power of the fiction, which he does try to compel, and does soften) to take the rest of the article seriously.


"the same kind your mom swapped with her fellow
hens on bridge night."


Hens? That's just one example, it's almost like the writer is sexist, but attempting to write an article that isn't. The language doesn't match front to back and there is still an undercurrent of criticism (of women) throughout.


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talentshow
talentshow
Manhattan!? I thought it was MANHATIN!!™
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 11:25 am (UTC)

The condescending use of the word "hens" was what took me from amused disgust to seething rage.


ReplyThread Parent
pippikneesocks
pippikneesocks
Pippi
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 12:14 pm (UTC)

omfg.

how patronizing. i couldn't even finish it.
i'm seething. i'll be back when i have had more coffee and can digest the implications.

i can't wait to read your letter to the editor.


ReplyThread
roses_rejoice
roses_rejoice
no.
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 02:29 pm (UTC)

I just skimmed it, because when it's a journalist working for profit I always expect it to be crappy or controversial. basically journos don't care if you like it or you hate it as long as you read it, so writing angry letters is kind of giving them the attention they DON'T deserve. I don't mean to say you or others shouldn't express yourselves/write if you're pissed off though, it's just not my way of dealing with shit.

but anyway I think the article pretty much points up the difference between women who see being able to cook and sew and knit as empowering, and those who see it as some domestic stereotype. It's like everything else---whatever you do, whether it's knit or run a Fortune 500, is empowering to the extent you WANT to do that and not empowering to the extent that someone, a man or society or whoever, is ORDERING you to do it. basically women have different ideas of what feminism is, and why shouldn't we? we're all different people. I agree that the tone of the article is pretty patronizing and I too wonder why these are always written by idiots, excuse me, women who have never learned any form of needlework or crafting and don't learn as they go either. I personally find it very weird for a female to do NONE of the fabric arts because the vast majority of women I know have at least learned the basics and most of them have tried some knitting, cross-stitch, sewing or whatever even if they didn't like it and didn't finish whatever it is. so to find someone who does NONE of it just makes me wonder what the hell she DID do with her time. And don't say "pursued a career" because I've had two different professional careers so far and I still have done a lot of sewing and crafting, it's all over the place in offices.


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melena
melena
i get the news i need on the weather report
Mon, May. 30th, 2005 04:34 pm (UTC)

ugh. worst article ever. could she possibly not 'get it' more?


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jennyfactory
jennyfactory
Jenny Factory
Tue, May. 31st, 2005 02:11 am (UTC)

Jeez you've got a quick trigger finger! I delete my journal for less than 24 hours and I am banished from your friends lists! Or was it because you anticipated what I was going to say about this post: it's not the greatest article, but I don't find it overly offensive. I think, if she's attacking anything, it is the "fad" of knitting (or being domestic in general) and not those of us who will be doing what we do (be it knitting, crocheting, needlepoint-ing, whatever) long after the masses lose interest, which should be any minute now, really.

I'm looking forward to seeing your response to this--maybe I'm just missing something.


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anavoog
anavoog
ana voog
Tue, May. 31st, 2005 02:19 am (UTC)

good grief, i was just going through my friends list today and noticed you had deleted your journal. i had no idea for how many hours it had been deleted! how am i supposed to know you would undelete it?
it's nothing personal, but if you delete your journal i can only assume that you have left LJ for good or have switched to another journal and not notified me of your move! what am i supposed to do? read your mind?
i didn't "banish" you. you LEFT lj! you deleted your entire journal! what am i supposed to think?


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elisem
elisem
Lioness
Tue, May. 31st, 2005 04:37 am (UTC)

It was working a little too hard to be merely insulting; it looked a lot more like trolling to me.

The self-conscious, studied, and painfully flip insult is the Hot Topic outfit of today's eager journalism grads. Or something like that. On the other hand, if it provokes some interesting criticism and a few good rants -- and a bunch of good art -- from crafty folks, that's cool by me.


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ooiioo
ooiioo
ooiioo
Tue, May. 31st, 2005 06:22 am (UTC)

Hi Ana,

I'm glad you addressed this article- I've been seething about it for awhile too, not only because of the insulting, "searching for a women's studies thesis topic" tone, but because it immediately brought to mind this recent Gawker.com post (http://www.gawker.com/news/media/new-york-times/nyt-a-stitch-in-time-saves-nineagain-037627.php) mocking the New York Times for repeatedly writing about the "hip new trend" of needlework- so typical of the sad time warp that is cultural journalism in the midwest! I found the Cody article annoying on so many levels...

I hope you don't mind, but I've added you to my friends list- I'm a Minnesotan currently living in Japan and I love reading your crochet blog- learned to crochet many years ago in 4H club and have recently taken it up again.
Take care,

Kate


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lmblackjack21
lmblackjack21
Dear Internet.
Wed, Jun. 1st, 2005 11:47 am (UTC)

From her blog:
Of course, I've also received plenty of positive letters and feedback--lots of knitters and crafters were overjoyed that I chose to spotlight their obsession, and most people that read the entire article were pleased by the upbeat, redemptive tone of the ending.

"Obsession"? "Redemptive"? I feel insulted. Knitting, crocheting, and handicrafts in general does not need 'redeeming'. It's art. It's craft. It's been around for a while now. And referring to this as an obsession just makes me feel like a crackwhore. You can still function properly with knitting and crocheting in your life. Diablo Cody, if you're reading this, please note that you are the reason I switched from journalism to engineering, so I could get away from all the bull.

(Ana, if this is too angry, feel free to delete.)


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anavoog
anavoog
ana voog
Wed, Jun. 1st, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC)

i wouldn't want to delete your opinion :)


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