This is a belated post on this month’s Feminist Fashion Bloggers topic of dating and relationship. As well as being late, it’s rather more about knitting than it is about fashion, as I thought I’d write about the vexed question of knitting for one’s significant other. Given that people still question whether women who knit can also be feminists, where does that leave women who knit for the men in their lives? How much more traditional and unreconstructed can you get?
I quite often knit for my husband. I’ve never made him a jumper, and probably never will (not because I’m afraid of the sweater curse, but because he’s 6’1″ and solidly built and likes fine-knit jumpers and I am not actually insane), but I’ve made him a woolly hat and handwarmers and eleven pairs of socks so far, with a twelfth on the needles right now.
However, I would argue very strongly that this doesn’t make me downtrodden. After all, it’s not as though I’m making him socks out of necessity; he can get perfectly good socks in Marks and Spencers. I make him socks because he likes them, and because I enjoy doing things that make him happy, and I also enjoy making socks and don’t have a great deal of use for them myself given that I generally wear skirts with either bare legs or tights. And while I’m wary of the school of thought that says that whatever a woman chooses to do is a feminist act, because we don’t exist in a vacuum and our choices are always influenced by social and cultural factors, and our society and culture are still profoundly shaped by centuries of male domination, I think that generally speaking doing things because they make the people we love happy is a pretty good thing. And I still mutter darkly about the patriarchy every time he asks me to sew a button on for him, and then swear a lot every time I prick my finger with the needle.