Thursday, February 14, 2008

On Knitting and Femininity

Recently, while knitting in the lab with my #1 lab knitting buddy, two non-knitter lab mates were discussing the number of knitters in the lab. One said to the other, "Working in this lab makes me feel so not girlie. Everyone in here seems to be knitting and I don't do any of that kind of stuff." The other nodded her head and agreed that a lack of knitting (and other handcraft) prowess left her feeling less than feminine.

This got me thinking about if knitting is really a "girlie" activity. Sure, I've heard people say things like, "Oh, only girls should knit." Of course, I completely disagree with this statement. (See I'm also not sure I consider knitting to be inherently linked to femininity.

For one, knitting is a sure-fire way for me to ruin nicely polished nails.

Additionally, while knitting does make me feel connected to some ancient tradition that was largely performed by women, the really girlie girls I know would never knit (or sew or cook) because they prefer to keep themselves on a pedastal and would never risk chipping polish, mussing hair or breaking a sweat for the love of art.

On the other hand, perhaps femininity and girlishness are related but not really synonymous. Women are artisans. Girls are artisans in training. Women have years of experience and practice which allow them to not only create beautiful creations but also to have the wisdom to let girlie aesthetics go for a moment until the product is complete.

However, I am one of those crafters who is irked to hear anyone describe a craft as meant for one gender or the other. Men were traditionally the accomplished painters of Europe, but do I feel masculine when painting? No. Frankly, I'm interested to see what anyone, regardless of gender, has to bring to my favorite crafts. I'm always looking for new inspiration and new points of view.

P.S. Those socks are the alpaca lace socks that plagued me for so many months. They are the Merino Lace Socks from Interweave's Favorite Socks in Alpaca Sox (color 1803). Yes, they are exquisitely warm and soft. The best part? That little lace pattern continues all the way down the heel! I'll try to get a picture while the bf is around.