Thursday, 3 September 2015

Hysterical wombs

So Nathan's knitting Podcast continues to attract new followers, seemingly from every corner of the world. He's recently been getting messages from a young lad in Taiwan. Nathan has a little segment in his films called "stuff for the boys" which addresses the issue that knitting is often seen as a somewhat feminine pursuit.  It's not a boy-versus-girl thing. Many women aren't that fussed about knitting in pink Kidsilk Haze or making silly lacy things, so Nathan simply tries to promote project bags, patterns, stitch markers and the like which aren't exclusively for girly girls. He shows his viewers things with geometric shapes on them, for example, rather than floral designs. Blacks and Browns instead of pinks and lilacs. He is also trying to encourage male knitters to reclaim the craft by doing so publicly. Nathan often knits on the tube - usually whilst wearing his big leather biker jacket. He garners rather strange looks all the time, and people, for some reason, often feel the need to secretly take his photograph. The sense however, is that they're impressed, or at least find him charmingly eccentric. On only one occasion have I witnessed homophobia. In this instance an older woman actually tutted and moved into a different area of the compartment when both Nathan and our friend, Trevor pulled out their knitting.

Anyway, the lad from Taiwan is particularly keen on the "stuff for the boys" strand, explaining that, in his country, men are very much looked down on for knitting, and that he has to stuff all his crafting accoutrements into a ruck sack because the project bags for sale out there are teeth-achingly feminine.

He tells Nathan that he sometimes knits in public, but that it can attract really abusive comments. The other day, an older man came up to him on a train and said, "if you were my son I'd beat you to death." Hideous. The lad's response to the dreadful man was dignified and pithy; "well I'm glad you're not my father. And I feel sorry for your son." At this stage, I feel the need to refer all readers to my blog on Monday about the concept of women-only tubes, reminding them that the world is not always a safe place for LGBT people, or those who appear to be on the LGBT spectrum. I also feel obliged to remind everyone that the quest for gender equality has to work in two directions... If a bloke wants to knit, learn the harp, be a midwife or play netball, it should be as inappropriate to take the mickey out of them as it is to tell women that their wombs make them hysterical. 

And if you want to see Nathan's wonderful knitting podcast, click here... 

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