Careful With Words

Twitter sometimes gets a reputation for being Celebrity Central, but I frequently manage to have interesting conversations with people despite the 140-character cut-off.

Yesterday we discussed women's self-image and societal pressure to emphasise external over internal qualities. We covered a lot of ground: eating disorders, women's self-enforced ignorance as a feminist issue (Ellie's line and it's a great one), patriarchal/matriarchal gender politics and much more. Mooncalf pointed out that we should not conflate ignorance with body obsession. Miss M. wrote eloquently about how body image and a need to take control could collide. Later same night I logged back into Twitter to find a whole other discussion about women's bodies was taking place. It was a discussion I found downright scary by its very ignorance of how women's bodies actually work.

I think it is time to quietly take back that whole discussion about women's rights and women's bodies. I really enjoyed the thoughtful discussion I had on Twitter with other women (and one man) but I think we should be having that discussion off-line too. It is not a call to arms - I am not the militant sort - but it is a plea that we keep having these discussions, we keep having them in public and that we keep challenging everyday sexism. Odd how it can still be a revelation to some that women are people too.

Phew. It felt good to get that off my chest.

I will now return to my fluffy little world of trying to make stripe patterns align and figuring out why I suddenly cannot make PDF files with my word-processing programmes. Here are a few random links for your everyday perusal:

The End of Something

nov09 034My autumn/winter mitts have been blocked and subsequently worn for several days with much pride. It is a stash-busting project too as I used partial skeins of Lett-Lopi and New Lanark DK I had left over from previous projects. What is not to love? Taking a decent photo of them, however, proved too much for my photography skills, and it wasn't until this afternoon that Official Photographer went for a walk in the rain with the camera, that an in-focus photo appeared.

The pattern is free, but be warned that it needs to be tweaked in order to work. As written, the thumb increases do not match up with the colourwork and if i were to knit these again, I would go down a needle size as the mitts are a smidgen too wide across my hands despite going with the smallest size. On the positive side I can fit a pair of gloves underneath these for extra warmth.

Now to something completely different.

I first read Schrödinger's Rapist - or a Guy's Guide to approaching Strange Women Without Being Maced a couple of weeks ago and it has been on my mind ever since. In a strange way, the blog entry manages to explain exactly what it feels like being a woman and make me aware that this is how it feels for me. Honestly, I do not think about my body or my gender most of the time. My body is just there as a vehicle for my brain and, well, I have never felt like I was part of any Special Sisterhood. And yet, that blog entry made me finally acknowledge to myself that being a woman is not like being a man. I'm in my early thirties and I finally admitted this to myself.

Deep down, though, I must have known and sought to protect myself. During most of my twenties I hid in baggy black clothes. At one point I even preferred being severely overweight to having a healthy weight and receiving attention. Today I wonder why, although I have some residual fear of walking on my own in remote places and I never go outside at night unless someone is with me. For someone who is not all that aware of her own body (and, believe me, having a body never ceases to confound and surprise me .. especially after I have walked into yet another door or stumbled), I do seem to be aware of the dangers connected to having one.

After reading the initial blog entry, I wound up reading the long Metafilter thread/response. Nattie's response was particularly thought-provoking and I found myself nodding to several points she made - and surprising myself by being able to nod. I need to think a lot more about this and work out my own response. Somehow this feels like an awakening.