A Good Yarn

Friday, April 22, 2005

Happy Earth Day!

I really wish I had installed a different commenting program before I posted such a controversial topic so I could have emailed some people directly. I thought all the comments were thought provoking and I loved having that conversation.

Some of the comments did touch on one of my hot button issues, so I've gotta address it. Some people have the impression that feminist somehow means anti-man or placing women above men. Absolutely not. The dictionary definition of feminism is "belief in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes". Equality, not superiority. That may seem obvious and perhaps you may think all right-thinking people believe in equality of people regardless of gender, but that definitely isn't true and it certainly wasn't true in the history of this country.

A Short History of Feminism

Most people mark the Seneca Falls convention in 1848 as the beginning of the modern-day feminist movement in the US. That was the First Wave of Feminists. This group arose from the general reform movement - these women wanted to protect school children and the mentally ill and were abolitionists. Definitely concerned with the general well-being of all people. While working on these social issues, it became obvious that women were denied basic legal rights. Women couldn't vote. A married woman's property and wages legally belonged to her husband. Women were not allowed to enroll in college or pursue the professions. Many churches barred women from holding positions of authority. And divorce was pretty rare, but when it occurred, the children were automatically awarded to the husband. I daresay that if those conditions applied today, all of us women would consider ourselves feminists!

Women have only had the right to vote since 1919 - less than 100 years. That's not that long ago in the sense of history and structural, cultural change. Those kind of changes take time. That's why we've never had a woman as President or Vice-President. There aren't very many women in the Senate and Congress. Yes, those things are changing, but I would implore my sisters not to willfully ignore the reality. There are still many, many people out there who believe women can't hold positions of authority, politically or economically, because they are too emotional, too stupid, too weak.

In the late 60s and early 70s, the Second Wave of Feminism concentrated on social and economic equality for women. Despite the fact that there are more women than men in our country, there weren't more women than men in college until 1978. 1978 folks. I was already 10 years old by then. The advent of the birth control pill also provided a way for women to have more control and choices in their lives. And of course, Roe v. Wade ensured the legal right to the choice of a safe abortion. When women have control over their bodies and their reproduction, that gives them all sorts of other choices.

It's easy to say you're in favor of abortion rights and other rights for everyone and yes, in a theoretical way, I am too. But the fact of the matter is, no man will ever have to have an abortion. There is no birth control for men that is solely dispensed by a pharmacist, so if you live in a small town with only one pharmicist and he refuses to dispense birth control pills because he feels they are immoral, you are only going to be directly effected if you are a woman. If an employer decides to have a policy that they don't want to hire anyone who must take a maternity leave, that will only effect female employees because men don't give birth. Yes, these issues DEFINITELY effect men and women, but it's only women who are being discriminated against, so it's only women are being treated unequally. I don't want women to be placed in a place superior to men nor do I think they are naturally superior to men, but I would like women to be treated equally legally, socially, politically and economically.

In the end, I think Anna's post encapsulates my feelings exactly - to me, feminism is about providing the same choices to women that men have. If you choose to pursue a life in politics or business, great. If you choose to raise children, fantastic. Feminism is all about empowering women to make their own choices. I wish everyone had that choice, man or woman.

End Rant

Back to knitting. I went to Michael's to pick up something for my Secret Pal and discovered they were having an in-store sale. And one of my favorite yarns, Katrina, was on sale for $2 per skein. I used this yarn to knit a sweater for my mother (at $7 per skein) and just loved it! So, I bought batches in three colors:

I may go back and pick up some chocolate brown too.

I know, I'm supposed to be saving my money for MDS&W, but come on, $2 per skein!


I'm pretty much finished with the sleeves of Mariah:

After I finished the first sleeve, I had 4 fewer stitches than I was supposed to (98 instead of 102). I counted up all the stitches in the pattern and couldn't figure out where I missed those 4 stitches. As I was reading the pattern, I should end up with 98. So, I started the second sleeve. I finished the second sleeve and had 100 stitches. So I figured out where I lost 2 stitches on the first sleeve and adjusted. I also counted the increases in the pattern again and found where I was counting wrong, so I am supposed to have 102 stitches. I still don't know where I forgot to increase, but I'm going to stick with 100 stitches and adjust the yoke decreases because the sleeves are as long as I want them.

TGIF! Tomorrow is the NFL Draft, so football content will be returning to this blog! Oh, goody!