“Go take up knitting!” – Insult or Good Advice?
‘Shouldn’t you be knitting?’. While the answer is always a ‘yes’ from us, the prompt to ‘knit’ often has less cozy connotations. The recent controversial video by Vanity Fair on Hillary Clinton has us at LoveKnitting wondering whether today’s knitters are still facing stigma when it comes to our favorite hobby…
When Vanity Fair ran a controversial ‘comedy’ video on Hillary Clinton’s 2018 New Year resolutions, it was suggested she “take up a new hobby in the new year… volunteer work… knitting… literally anything that will keep [her] from running [for president] again.”
Last year the deputy mayor of Toronto, Denzil Minnon-Wong, suggested that chief city planner Jennifer Keesmaat should “stick to knitting.”
The remark “go take up knitting” has been used as a derogatory and dismissive term for years, often used in context where a women’s professional ability is undermined or questioned.
Are we knitters still battling with an age old stereotype that suggests that knitting is passive and disempowering?
Pop culture has often fed into the myth that knitting is somehow un-feminist. In the much loved 1998 adaptation of The Parent Trap starring Lindsay Lohan, the assertive Meredith Blake retorts: “What am I supposed to do, sit home and knit?!”
While Meredith is the power-hungry antagonist and rival to Lohan’s lovable twins in the film, her line resounds an often common reaction: the myth that adhering to this traditional craft is some kind of betrayal to modern female empowerment.
In 2017, knitted pink pussyhats became the symbol of resistance at Trump’s inauguration, proving that knitting is not only integrated in current political protests, but is in fact at the forefront of the modern feminist movement. (This cover proves you can crochet the hats as well)!
Knitting and Gender
Ironically, although knitting has been seen as a typically feminine past time, from 200 AD to the 16th century male knitters dominated the craft. Recently, an emerging movement of male knitters have appeared on the scene, with British department store John Lewis offering ‘Men only knitting classes’ and high profile celebrities such as Ryan Gosling endorsing the craft. More men are turning back to knitting as a way to alleviate anxiety and cultivate well being.
Lawyers, who are trained to not show emotion for fear of appearing weak in the courtroom, have endorsed knitting as a great way to deal with stress, improve brain functioning and address perfectionism, helping to remedy long-term health concerns.
With more male and female professionals turning to knitting as a mindful practice, to help stress relief, explore creativity and well, just enjoy because let’s face it – it’s so darn satisfying to craft your own apparel, isn’t it time that, rather than an insult, “take up knitting” became an adage that reinforces what it means to thrive and succeed in today’s fast paced culture?
What stereotypes have you faced as a knitter? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below!
Last updated: February 13th, 2018.