Stereotype much?

It’s turning out to be a really good week to be a mother. I mean, there’s still a lot of laundry, I’d really like to know what made the coffee table so sticky overnight and if anybody has any idea where Sam’s glasses might be I’d be thrilled, but overall…this week it’s a nifty gig. (Yeah, I know. These moments in motherhood are really just filling me up with warm emotions and good memories of my daughters, so that I’ll actually go post bail when the police call a couple of years from now. I understand what’s going on, I’m just choosing the happy path of denial.)
Sam’s choir sang the anthems at the Skydome last night. (Blue Jays vs Kansas City Royals. We thumped them 10 – 3, nothing personal). Seeing your kid on the jumbo-tron is pretty freakin cool.
I put a little circle around Sam. I realize that not even one of you gives a whit about which one of those fuzzy blobs is my child, but I’m still pretty happy about my kids doing nice, wholesome things…like knitting, singing in the choir and going to baseball games. The whole of Team Harlot (man…we should get tee-shirts) went to the game. Ken knit
and my super-fun brother Ian and his lovely wife Ali drank beer in a supportive fashion. (Hey…everybody has a skill.) This brings us to today’s topic. What do you believe that people think about you when you knit in public? What assumptions do they make about your personality, values or politics? How do you think this is related to your gender?
I think that when I knit in public I’m usually viewed as someone who’s clean living, conservative and generally a “good girl”. Little old men who don’t speak English are drawn to me and smile at my knitting and pat my arm and try to introduce me to their sons. Other women sometimes want to talk to me about being “counter-feminist”. (Here’s a funny thing, both of those generalizations about me make me want to knit pasties and a thong, just to shake everybody up.)
Now when Ken knits in public, I think people think several things about him (it is worth noting that Ken thinks differently, I’m sure he’ll pipe up). I think they assume he is gay. Men think they could take him in a fight, and women, well, here is where Ken and I part ways, I think that women find it an attractive quality. (Not sexually attractive, since they think he’s gay for knitting too) but attractive in a friendly sort of way, like “Oh what a sensitive, lovely, artistic man.”
Let’s sum up. For the record, Ken and I are in the same age bracket, and possess a similar “hipness” factor. (Give it up Ken, I’m at least as cool as you)
Stephanie knitting in public = conservative, good marriage material, traditional, anti-feminist, probably boring.
Ken knitting in public = liberal, terrible marriage material (except in Canada and a couple of states), absolutely non-traditional, open-minded and artistic.
Clearly, I’m generalizing, the world is filled with people who assume nothing based on your gender, sexuality or hobby…and by far and away, those are the people I meet. All I’m saying is that when I do run into somebody whose interested in stereotyping us knitters by gender…this has been my experience. Your milage may vary, especially according to where you live and what you have pierced.