Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Quiet in a Noisy World

Rats, it's April!  What happened to my promise to myself to blog at least weekly?

Well, ironically when I have been massively busy, I haven't really felt like I have very much to say.  I've been doing all sorts of wonderful things in the real world, spending time with good friends, dearly-loved family, going on country walks, eating a lot of good lunches, making it to my dance class for a change, running my book club, going to Moviebar.  I haven't seen any films to make me angry about their gender politics (we'll gloss over 'Dr Strangelove') although I did get into a brilliant Bechdel Test debate with my chum Ash - proof that people really are reading my blog and paying attention, thank you!  Maybe I have already changed the world a very tiny bit.  This makes me happy.

But none of that is very exciting in the blogosphere.  I drafted a blog about how much I love people - I really do - but the moment passed and although I still love people, I sort of lost the feeling that prompted me to write it so that'll stay on the backburner until I love people so much I have to revisit it.

I drafted a blog about how, Mr Writer by Night, I don't have a feminist blog, thank you very much. I sometimes write about feminist things.  I also sometimes don't, as seen here, here and here.  It was going to be a long, self-examining post but really, as I said when I started this, I'm not going to declare a blogging manifesto.  I'd rather let my posts speak for themselves.

I baked some fairy cakes and I have made a resolution to do more knitting again.  I'm a process knitter.  I'm really bad at finishing things, I just love the therapeutic rhythym and the magic of seeing a piece of fabric take shape with my hands.  I don't care for making-up and precision knitting so that sleeves fit into armholes.  This is why I mainly knit scarves and other rectangular things.

Talking of which, I read this not long after I wrote my marriage post and I found it really interesting.  As I said at the time, I don't have a feminist argument for marriage and I can think of many against it.  Broadly speaking, I think of my marriage in and of itself, nothing to do with anyone or any history or politics other than my husband and I, just a promise we made to each other.  I don't disagree with all of Jaclyn Geller's arguments against marriage, but what I do disagree with is her assertion that not only are women still getting married, they are 'manicuring to hyper-perfection the very domestic idyll their mothers rallied to escape', and quoting among other things the resurgence of knitting as an example.  Among pretty much all of the young married women, and men, I know, I cannot think of anyone who can be accused of such un-feminist behaviour as doing unreasonable amounts of housework and I think (do correct me if I'm wrong) I'm the only married knitter I know.  I don't think knitting makes me a bad feminist.  I suppose it might if all I knitted was clothes for my husband but as he never wears the scarf I knitted him once, I haven't bothered since.  I knit for the sheer low-tech pleasure of the activity, not because I'm married or I confuse it with domestic goddesstry.  One of my most outspokenly anti-marriage friends has this fantastic recipe blog, and I don't think it undermines her arguments against marriage or her personal politics, she just likes to cook.  I think arguments like this (and I do accept that the journalist could be paraphrasing and generalising) damage feminism because they refer back to the outdated image of woman and domesticity bound up as one, rather than acknowledging that the two are separate, with a perfect right to both exist in the same person if that is what she chooses.  The same goes for the reaction to Natalie Portman's Oscar acceptance speech.  She's about to give birth.  No wonder she regards motherhood, right now, as being the most important thing in her life.  Does that make her unfeminist?  I don't think so.
Oops, I accidentally wrote a feminist blog again.  Maybe the Writer by Night has a point after all...

I forgot to make a book recommendation last Feminism Friday.  You can belatedly have my all-time favourite book, Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood.  I have read it at least 10 times.  Everything I know about life, I learnt from this book.

1 comment:

  1. Personally I think you have to ignore a lot of people out there who blanketly choose to label certain groups out there as having certain psychological vents without any evidence - this applies to women who claim any women who would get involved in porn needs saving - the objectification of their fellow women as those who cannot think and decide and empower themselves says more about the speaker than the women they purport to want to save, often completely exposing the speakers' own psychological bias and inflexibility instead of illustrating a broadness of mind towards the varieties of people out there in the world.

    I know plenty of women who love to cook - I like to bake. I know plenty of women who love making clothes, or going to swap nights where all the women present will discuss how to combine clothes into new outfits just through creative swapping and have a generally great time. I'd love to learn millinery. I know plenty of women who enjoy knitting, crocheting, needlework, stationary or art crafts. But in most cases their motivation is a pure mixture of wanting to return to doing things from scratch. They have a mild urge to not buy everything homogenously in their lives from a companies that want everyone to trend. They enjoy learning how to create things just with a little no how that is cheaper than in the shops and more unique and personal to the individual, catering for exactly the look they want instead of something along the right lines but not quite and not cheap enough, and secondly as you said, they enjoy the sheer simplicity of doing it. You start, you enjoy doing it, you finish or you don't.

    I've actually met people who argue the side that those girly hobbies must indicate that women are getting too much back into old, repressive stereotypes that our ancestors fought to liberate themselves from miss the point. They don't seem to see that enjoying a hobby when it isn't a necessity for social acceptance, doing it purely because you enjoy doing it is a sign of liberation, not of the opposite. Point out to them that the only issue is whether people enjoy their hobbies and they often act like it never crossed their minds that anything other than advertising how feminine you are could be going on......


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