For many of us, it started with a little tweet that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee posted last Friday.
What she was referring to was this post on the Huffington Post blog. In Peg Aloi’s piece, she calls into question the rise of blogs by women who have embraced domestic arts as a regression from the hard fought for feminist movement. In her article she specifically pinpoints growing heirloom tomatoes, hello kitty, Bust sponsored craft shows, baking cupcakes, and knitting, linking to several blogs dedicated to each. She goes on to claim that women who knit or make cupcakes were pussies and should be more bad ass, like Joan Jett, Chrissy Hines, Xena Warrior Princess, Sookie Stackhouse, and Courtney love. (I guess fictitious or drug addled is far more honorable that creative or productive.)
So, with that single tweet from the Yarn Harlot, it was on. Her 22,000 twitter followers laid into Ms. Aloi as tough gals generally do. I am sure Ms. Aloi had no idea how tight the knitting community could be. And since she clearly did not do any research on the links she used, not only did she take on the “Michael Jordan of Knitters”, she manages to piss off the publisher of the very popular and progressive feminist publication Bust magazine, and an heirloom tomato gardener currently braving her fight with cancer openly in another blog.
Oh my. As I write this the comments to Ms. Aloi’s blog post have reached 343. And those are just the posts that made it past the heavily moderated Huffington Post Censors (yes there are censors, trust me, I have a story). Ravely’s LSG group was full of the sentiments that did not make it online, and the blog posts are vast and scathing. No one has revoked her estrogen just yet. But many have succinctly called her on the carpet for her insanely twisted beliefs, insults of women’s choices, and poorly researched article. Many, like myself, are appalled that Huffington Post chose to publish such a flimsy piece of drivel.
I believe feminism is not about being tough. It is about having a voice that is uniquely yours, and the ablitiy to act and do as you see fit without restrictions placed upon you because of your sex.
Hands down the best part about the article are the comments. And while not a single article was supporting Ms. Aloi’s beliefs directly. I do believe that the comment illustrates just how tough and strong women can be. I love how all that commented have embraced the choices they are able to make thanks to women’s movements like the suffragettes, and the women of the 60s and 70s fighting for equal employment opportunities. I also love how the knitting community came together with information and collectively stood up for what they were doing despite being labeled as too feminine, to domestic, or not tough enough. Okay maybe knitting is trivial to most, but the subculture of our network is so huge. And it is a sisterhood that has time and time again has amazed me in its transcendence across race, politics, income, gender, age.
I agree with almost every rebuttal I read. But I do believe my favorite by far has been fro Deb Stoller, editor of Bust magazine. Read it here.