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July 06, 2006

Comments

corrie

I recently went to a knitting guild organizational meeting and one of the women mentioned we could start a group for "our daughters." Granted I don't have kids, but I was so infuriated because it immediatly alienated the women who'se sons knit or they want them to knit. And NO ONE spoke up (I should have but had already put my foot in my mouth regarding doign online annoucements, sooooo)

QLG

A local private (k-12) school here (I didn't go to it) that churns out future lawyers, etcetera, requires both sexes to learn knitting. I think that's awesome.

I'm in college right now and took a women's emphasis history class. It was very eye opening to learn about how males and females are forced into certain "gender roles" from a young age. For a moment it put me in crisis, "Do I REALLY love knitting, cooking and cleaning, or was I just programmed to!?" But I naturally do ;).

PS: I heard a great story on NPR about a study that showed that there are more male engineers than female since males are encouraged (and girl's aren't) to play with games that involve spacial concepts. Such as Legos and Tetris.

PPS: I *heart* knitandtonic!

Charity

It is so very sad when parents limit their children based on their idea of gender appropriate skills and roles. I have both girls and a boy, and they are all free to do and try whatever they want. My son is 4, and can't wait to learn to knit :-) I think he's just tired of waiting for me to knit him an orange and blue sweater with a car on the front...

Thanks for the sub info, I was wondering, too.

Maribel

dumb wenches. My 4yo boy has shown interest in knitting, and you bet your sharp knitting needles I will teach him.

victoria

Oh my God, this post is chilling. It's terrifying to me how people enforce gender stereotypes on children. (Someone did a study of how teachers talk to children of different genders. Teachers will commonly say to girls, "Those new sneakers are really pretty on you," and to boys, "I bet you can run really fast in those new sneakers.") It breaks my heart, it really does.

And the thing of it is, if you asked these people if they WANT to impose gender stereotypes, they will say, "Of course not!" They don't even know they're doing it. It's just reflex.

Kate

Wendy - Re: Thor being single - yes. And women fall all over themselves. We actually gave it a small shot but he lives in the mountains and I never saw him. Really great guy, though!

Evelyn

I'm so surprised about that! I know that girls are definitely encouraged to do both traditional male or female activities. I would think that the same is true for boys. Maybe parents are afraid their boys will be too sissy. I think curiosity is a great opportunity to learn. My SIL bought her son a baby doll when he was young because she thought he was too aggressive (he was very much BOY!). She wanted to nurture his gentler side.

Kari

I think a lot of it is perception. These mothers are falling victim to the thought that they don't want their children to be "different" than what they consider to be normal, and because they grew up with even stricter gender roles then their children will, the whole pattern perpetrates itself over again. Sad, really... that people get so caught up with "fitting in", no matter the cost.

I think the real solution is information. I think most parents don't really realize that not only was knitting invented by men, but the craft was also dominated by them for centuries. It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that this craft was deemed non-essential (due to machines taking over essential work), and predominately became "women's work". Sorry for the long-windedness, I just think it's very interesting to know how knitting began.

Michelle

I have 3 boys and one girl. All of my boys know how to knit. And sew, wash the dishes, throw a load of laundry in the washer, make a quick and easy meal for the family......and they are only 14, 11 and 8 years old! My neighbor, who has one child, is amazed that my children get themselves ready for school. Not only that, but they make their own breakfast (and mine too if I want cereal or toast). My sons also do all the "boy" stuff too. Football, Baseball, snakes, toads, frogs etc. Since my daughter has 3 older brothers (she is 2 years old) she does "boy" things too. Her second words were "Touch-down". One day, while cuddling her baby doll, she tenderly looks at her baby and says, "Baby, you are cute, want to play baseball?". I spit Pepsi out my nose. All my son's friends want to learn to knit, boys and girls. It's laughable, the stereo types parents adhere to. I've never been one to follow that crap.

Sarah

"It's shocking to find such sexism still practiced in this day and age."

I think it's important to point out in this discussion that there is still plenty of sexism in this world and that there are still many hurdles that girls and women face that men will likely never come up against. I'm not saying that it isn't appauling that some parents pigeon hole their sons by stearing them away from activities that they deem not masculine enough. I think that's a huge problem, actually, but I think it's simply a point on the continum of gender related issues. Girls do have many more options now than they did in the past but just because a sort of 'sky's the limit' mentality has become more of the norm (at least in many western/westerized countries) when we think about what girls can strive for and acheive, it doesn't mean that the struggle for equality (for either sex) is over.

Valerie

I don't understand that attitude, either. I was with a friend and her signifcant other's 8 year old son over the weekend, at a country inn/fiber farm in Vermont, and he was extremely interested in all the fibery things--so much so that he bought a skein of handspun yarn as a souvenir.

I went to a great toy store later to look for a learn-to-knit kit to send to him, but every one they had was so incredibly geared toward girls that I couldn't do it. There were no photos of boys knitting or projects that might possibly interest a young boy. Everything was pink, purple, and glittery.

Kate

Just an addition to the mention of Yarn Boy...he has a page on the history of yarn boys:

http://yarnboy.com/history.htm

JEG

Too bad the mothers don't understand that knitting takes mathmatical skills. Math and design may help their sons do better in school. If their sons have any problems with ADD or ADHD, knitting may help there too. And if their sons have problems not being able to entertain themselves when friends are elsewhere, they would not need the parents to entertain them. Knitting sure is less expensive than a movie, miniature golf, or other video entertainment and you have a product at the other end. It is relaxing and peaceful and does not require electricity or batteries. Most of the time it only requires 2 sticks and a string and some imagination and creativity.
What else can I say about knitting?

Kym

I have a 17 year old daughter who is not at all interested in any type of crafting. Her eyes glaze over. No problem. (She does, however, choose projects for me to knit FOR her!) My 14 year old son, however, loves to knit. He is very technical and quickly figured out "where the yarn GOES" to make the loops. He often knits (in front of his teammates) between hockey games in tournaments. He has never made a "finished object" -- just an ever-lengthening. . . piece. . . made from my leftovers. (He now has quite an appreciation for types of yarn).

We Moms need to support our kids WHATEVER their interests may be. It's not about us -- it's about them.

Polly

I have twin boys, 4 1/2, and they love to pretend to spin and knit and these guys are all boys (more than I wish, in fact.) They even have tried to get me out of bed in the morning with a spindle and roving that they HAVE TO SPIN RIGHT NOW. Those moms are crazy and stupid not to allow their boys to play with beads, buttons and yarn and stuff. Polly

jackie

my boufriend's little brother (22 years younger) begged me to teach him how to knit, so i did without even thinking about it. his father had a fit, as did his grandmother. i still think it's crazy. my boyfriend learned to knit and proceeded to knit in front of them all so that his little brother would feel encouraged and so the parent and g-rent would shut up about how girly it was--i was so proud of him! and yes--the boy's still knitting. he even taught his mother how. i think the prejudice is so american, and i really don't get it. after all--knitting was invented by men, not women.

LaurieM

The only reason to put up these artifical gender barriers is so that feeble-minded people don't get confused.

And you can tell 'em I said so!

Barb

Twenty years ago, our son was in a very NAEYC nursery school in northern California. His dad went to pick him up one Friday and spotted his heir in a far corner, wearing a pink tutu on his head, standing on one foot, and mouthing his own arm.

"What do you suppose?" dad says to the head teacher.

"Oh, we went to the zoo yesterday, and he really concentrated on the flamingos," she replied.

So dad negotiated the loan of the tutu for the weekend, so the kid could continue to commune with his inner flamingo. "My son, he's going to be a zoologist," dad predicted for years.

Nah, the kid majored in econ and went on to law school.

Lizbon

Man, what is wrong with the world? Is it any wonder adult women and men can't seem to speak the same language? Almost from the minute they're born, little ones are being shuttled off to opposite camps: one side of the Toys R Us is all Barbie-pink, the other is all action figures and trucks, and never the twain shall meet (except at the cash register, where they probably get segregated bags).

I myself loved my Tonka trucks, and I'm thankful that my mom and dad had the good sense to give me both "girl" and "boy" toys to play with.

Those moms should be ashamed of themselves for straitjacketing their sons. I mean, really, think of how popular the knitting boys would be when they grow up and start dating...

(then again, maybe that's why the moms don't want them to learn...)

PS. Would SWTC Bamboo work for Sizzle?

Wendy

The bamboo might work, and the Oasis might work, too...

Lizbon

PS. I, too, wonder if Thor is single... I bet with a name like that, nobody tells him his knitting is sissy.

Angel

I've knitted for years, but I have to admit, I learned to knit socks because of a challenge from a man.

A few years ago, my dog used to go to a playroup at the apartment complex where we lived. One of my neighbors was a young male forestry student with a large yellow lab. His name was Chet and he was uber-outdoorsy.(Think big guy with yellow lab, likes to go hunting and fishing type) Anyway, on one cold day, while his dog and my dog raced around the enclosure, I complemented him on his hat. He smiled and said "thanks" and mentioned that he had knit it himself. I (being a fairly new knitter at the time) complemented him again and we started talking about knitting. Turns out he and his forestry buddies took up knitting out of necessity when they were park rangers out west- Chet learned to make hats, scarves and mittens to pass the time, and to stay warm.

Anyway I mentioned that I knit and said I wanted to try out making socks, but that they seemed too hard. Chet shook his head and said that he now knit his own socks and that "if I can do it, you can."

The next day I went out and bought some yarn, and in about a week I had my first pair of socks.

All because of Chet... Many years (and many pairs of socks later) I wonder if Chet is still making socks, and knitting those baby sets for his own kids like he did for his nieces and nephews.

Wendy

Chet sounds like my kinda guy...

Wendy

uhm... what I meant to say is: he sounds like a catch.

stephanie

That's sad. Would those same moms deny their daughters the useful skills of changing tires or learning about how to maintain their car? If not, how hypocritical.

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