femiknitzm

Archive for April 2011


So, I’ve been talking a lot lately about feminism/women’s issues.  I realize that part of the theme of my blog is knitting so I should probably tell you a little bit about it.  Or, I should at least tell you what I’ve been working on lately.  However, to be fair, there have been a lot of women’s issues in the news to talk about lately.  And there are a few things that I could discuss related to that now, but I will take a little break and talk about something happy.  I’m an optimist, so how about it?

My mom taught me to knit about 10-ish years ago.  I was terrible at first, but most people are.  I wish I had saved my first piece so I could show all the people I have taught to knit.  That might encourage them to not give up.  Some get it right off the bat, but most have to work at it for a little while before they get it.  For the first few years I just made scarves.  I did branch out a little and make dish cloths and blankets.  Then I discovered the market bag pattern.  That is still my favorite pattern and whenever I’m at a craft show, those are the first things to go.  I wish I had more time to make them so I could sell them and make some play money.  If I worked on them at Stitch A Bit every week then I might could do ok with them on Etsy.

I started Stitch A Bit in the Fall of 2006 through the Women’s Center where I work at ODU.  The group is open to any student, faculty, or staff member who knits, crochets, embroiders, quilts, beads, etc…  Anything to do with stitching.  Actually I called the group Stitch ‘N Bitch, but we had to change the name because SOME people don’t understand that “Bitch” was meant as a verb, not a noun.  So, I came up with the name Stitch A Bit so people would recognize it was the same group and continue to join us.  We had 30 people the first time!  We now have 10 regulars but usually have a new person or two either every week or every other week.  I’ve taught 60 students to knit so far!

Last year I took up crochet.  The knitters in the group tried crochet and the crocheters in the group tried knitting.  I was hooked and actually enjoy crochet more now.  However, i still pick up my needles every now and then.  Through crochet I have learned to make hats, something that I refused to knit because it required double pointed needles which, in my humble opinion, are the work of pure evil.  Whoever invented those was thinking of torture when they developed them.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

Anyway, I am currently working on another market bag and two hats.  Yes, I always have multiple projects going.  That’s the life of a knitter/crocheter.  You should see my yarn stash. 🙂

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It seems these days the Uterus is at the center of the Universe, or at least what everyone is focusing on.  The fact that the Republicans almost let the government shut down because they wanted to defund Planned Parenthood should scare the hell out of everyone who has (or used to have) a uterus and the ones who love them.  They were willing to furlough 800,000 federal workers and not pay the troops they’re all the time calling on to do their dirty work or use to gain sympathy/support.  This just shows you they don’t care about jobs, they don’t care about our military, and they sure as hell don’t care about women.  How any self-respecting woman can call herself a Republican after (and even before) this is beyond all reason.  They claim that 90% of Planned Parenthood’s services are for abortions when in reality it’s only 3%.  The majority of Planned Parenthood’s services are breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control services, and STI/HIV tests and treatments.

This should be a wake up call to all those people who think women and men are equal and there’s no need for feminism.  Our foremothers fought hard for the rights that we have today and we cannot simply hand them over because we’re too busy to get involved.  There are a lot of distractions and “they’re” counting on us being distracted so they can push their own agenda when we’re not looking.  Think about all those magazine ads that tell you you’re too fat and can easily lose weight by taking some pill or buying some dvd.  What about the ads that tell you to get rid of your cellulite or wrinkles by buying their magical cream.  As I type this there is a hair dye commercial.  Remember “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful”?  Well that old hair dye commercial catch phrase is now in a popular song.  They’re telling us to hate other women for what they have or how they look.  We don’t need to be fighting with each other.  We need to be working together and organizing.  Not all of us are going to be best friends because we all have different personalities, but we can all work together so that all women have rights to their own bodies and can grow up to be anything they want to be and have access to education, etc…

There isn’t anything about a man’s body that he can’t make decisions or needs a law to protect.  Hell, they’re trying to defund Planned Parenthood which provides millions of women with birth control, but nobody’s saying anything about the fact that Viagra is readily available through any insurance.  What’s that mean…men get to have lots of boners and women get all the responsibility of the consequences.  Luckily there are a lot of men out there who love us and support us like my husband.  However, we’ve still got a lot of work to do before women and men have full equality and our Uterus is not used for target practice.

What are YOU going to do about it?


This week I met the one and only Kathleen Hanna.  The Riot Grrrl herself!  Did you know that Bikini Kill coined the phrase “Girl Power”?  You know the one that has been turned into a cliche thanks to the patriarchy and the Spice Girls.  When she came up with that phrase it really meant something.  It didn’t mean baby dolls and pink barettes.  It was meant to point out the strength that girls have.  I feel we need to be reminded of this strength as we grow older because so many of us lose ourselves.  We forget that strong little girl we used to be and all the dreams we used to have.  I used to want to be a spy when I was little.  My mom even made me a “spy bag” from one of her old purses.  I had everything in there from pen and paper to binoculars and a magnifying glass.  I would walk through the woods behind the neighbors houses and “write” down what they were doing.  I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t able to write good yet, or because I didn’t need to write it down to remember it but I used to fill my notebooks with scribble lines.  I would walk back home with my trusty side kick, my dog kisses, and tell Momma what the neighbors were up to.  They were usually just cutting grass or planting flowers or something like that, but I was proud of my ability to sneak around without them seeing me.  I really thought I would make a good spy.  Of course I was reading Harriet The Spy at the time, so that probably gave me the idea.  But the point is I never once thought, “oh, I can’t do that” until I hit 13 or so.  I was talking with a student the other day who is working with me on a presentation on body image.  The subject of girlhood and what influences girls came up.  She told me when she was little she wanted to be a lawyer.  Between the ages of 12-14 she started to tell herself that she couldn’t possibly be smart enough to be a lawyer.  Well, somebody must have had some positive influence on her between 14 and 18 because now she’s at college and is planning to be a lawyer.  Goddess Bless whoever helped her find her grrrl courage again.

I know my last post was about the little girl inside too, but spending so much of my time around college girls has really made me focus on what exactly it is that causes them to have low self-esteem.  I supervise three students and they all have so much going on in their lives.  I am the type of supervisor who pays attention to what’s going on with them and encourages them and listens to them.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all girls and young women had that?

The video that we are showing for this body image program is called “The Strength To Resist”.  In it they talk about adolescent girls and what starts to change in them once they hit that age.  In one example they showed a group of girls playing basketball and volleyball and being otherwise active in this gym.  Then they show them watching a Britney Spears video.  They know all the words and even dance like her.  I think most of us have seen at least one Britney video at one point in our lives so you know how terrifying it is to see girls that young immitating a highly sexualized young woman.  One question that Kathleen Hanna asked during her talk was, have you ever seen these pop stars wear pants?  Usually they’re wearing some time of underwear.  She’s right!  And this is what our girls are being shown is cool and what you want to aspire to look like.  And those pop stars are photoshopped and airbrushed so we never get to see the real them.  But how many girls know that?  I didn’t know anything about that until I took Women’s Studies in college.

So, why am I still talking about this?  Because it’s important and I see myself doing some good if I keep talking about and researching this issue.  I want to pass down this awareness to the future generations of strong girls before they get lost is the pink swirl that will inevitably come and take all their self-confidence and creativeness away.  I want more for our girls and I want more for myself and my friends.  So, if there’s a girl in your life, listen to them, and encourage them and tell them they’re awesome and they can do anything their heart desires.


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