There are many discrimiKNITory practices being committed these days, mostly by a trailing-the-zeitgeist media. Misrepresenting a way of life or cultural interest, either through ignorance or malice, limits the possibilities of ingroup members to freely enjoy their expression and outgroup members to access the positive benefits of the practice. Connected knitters know that there is a worldwide knitting boom going on that has radically expanded the previous boundaries of the fibre form. It’s one thing if people don’t want to knit or have other all-consuming interests, or see knitting as boring, or uncool, or useless, or a waste of time, or something old ladies do, or something guys shouldn’t do, or a limited artistic expression. But none of that addresses the reality of knitting as it exists today.
The media keeps recycling the same old crap: knitting is only for old ladies, knitting is boring, knitting is for socially-challenged losers, knitting/crochet produces ugly, unfashionable garments, guys who knit must be gay, etc. etc. Uncreative Hollywood, particularly, has appropriated knitting as visual shorthand for “dork”, “eccentric”, “recluse”, or “pregnant woman”. There are various examples.
One that comes to mind is a recent (2004) short film offered on iTunes called Ugly, Moon Unit Zappa’s directorial debut. From IMDb, Rebecca Burke writes:
“Gwen is a young woman with an unnatural passion for knitting. From her own clothes to cozies for her several prescription pill bottles, Gwen is following in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother’s knack for the yarn arts.
After being discovered knitting in a park, Gwen and her new friend Kirk return to her apartment to work on Kirk’s photography class project. Kirk, though, has ulterior motives, which Gwen finds out about when she overhears Kirk on the phone to a classmate. With the help of her daughter, Lola (*wink wink*), Gwen manages to make Kirk a little more than just a stranger off the street looking to take a few photographs for kicks. But heads up, there’s a twist at the end.”
Yeah, rape and insanity.
How about this:
Another example was found in the April 6, 2008 The Japan Times Sunday comics.
Here is the one-panel comic:
Here is a close-up of the caption and the dorked-out couple in the center:
The message: “Knitting is ugly and knitters are clueless.”
Like any discriminated-against minority we should bust the bigotry and offer up positive and compelling counter examples to these misrepresentations. Do you have any examples to bring to this forum? Send in your knit-image no-nos and let’s counter these images with the scorn and derisive laughter they deserve!