Saturday, August 20, 2011

Seriously, stereotypes?

In case you haven't heard the rage screaming across the internet, Ms. Aloi wrote this article decrying girly girls and the downfalls of women's role models. Unfortunately, she uses far too wide of a paintbrush and falls prey to the very same sin she decries - using stereotypes to define limiting roles for women. As many other knitters, crocheters, and crafters out there can testify, the "girly girl" stereotype is anything but.

This idea that knitters who strive for nothing more than domestic bliss is an absolute fallacy. I know knitters who successfully run their own business and have their doctorate degrees. I know knitters who teach martial arts. I know crocheters who have published papers. I know women who are a crack shots with a hand gun. I know women who were in the service and knit. I could go on and on with this list of anecdotal evidence of women who do not fit the stereotype, but I'd just be beating a dead horse. After the lessons of the civil rights movement, haven't we learned not to define people by a stereotype? I thought American education had that one covered by now.

However, she does have one valid point - the role models portrayed on TV today. I miss strong female leads like Buffy. I love Joss Whedon's recurring theme of portraying women as saviors of the world. I staunchly reject Twilight because Bella's wishy-washy role as constant damsel-in-distress makes me long for a woman with the will to save herself. Today's media blitz of passive women makes want to turn off my TV and knit or spin instead. At least I'd have something more productive to show for my time, like say a new, tailored sweater - as opposed to knowing what happened on the latest episode whatever pointless episode Peg Aloi bemoans as the worst kind of role model for women. I have no idea what it is because I'm too busy to bother watching trash.

That said, where should all that rage be productively directed? How about the Glass Ceiling? I don't care if USA Today says that it's the lowest disparity on record- it should NEVER be there in the first place! Gender shouldn't even be a factor whatsoever in a person's salary. It's been how long since the feminist movement started and we still have pay disparity? Or how about how the US supreme court threw out the gender bias suit against Walmart. Any idiot looking into the details of that case know that Walmart turned a blind eye on policies that kept women from becoming managers and climbing the corporate ladder. It's absolutely deplorable and Walmart should be forced to change their ways. These are things worth getting angry over and doing something about them.

However, if there is one thing we have learned in this post-feminism era is that getting angry won't get women anywhere. It's not fair, but studies have shown that women who negotiate angrily get discredited whereas men who negotiate angrily are viewed as passionate or positive. Gender bias has grown more subtle and more insidious. This article at describes quite well the limiting stereotypes that successful women face to day. These are the thing we should be bemoaning and working to change, Ms. Aloi.

1 comment:

JJ said...

So, I am of 2 minds when I read drivel like that article. 1 - is this person for real? 2 - maybe this person just wants attention, and we are feeding into her crazy.

I know it doesn't advance the cause, but I tend to ignore these people and not give them any more attention or cred than they deserve. Life's too short to waste on them.

Welcome to Crazytown, where my friends have proclaimed me queen. Why did they do that you ask? For some reason, there's very little that I fear about knitting. Hmm, a dress in laceweight done in lace knitting written by vogue? Sounds great! I have very few inhibitions when it comes to knitting, and that sometimes ends disasteriously. Apparently, other people think this signifies a level of crazy that only the royalty can attain. Follow along with my escapades as I dive head first into all sorts of insane techniques and projects without much more than an "Oh! That looks pretty, I can make it!"

Those will probably be my famous last words.