Well. We have a place to live, and that’s good, but I am so ready to never, never move again. Of course, spending the rest of our days in a two bedroom apartment with three children is probably not an option, but I hadn’t remembered how much I hate moving. I thought I remembered hating moving, but that was before my loathing grew to epic proportions in the course of actually moving.
Yarn, by the way, makes excellent packing filler. It’s light and squishy, and it works very well in keeping boxes filled but not too heavy. Just a tip for all you knitters, should you have cause to move.
We hadn’t moved in four years. It’s the longest we’ve been settled anywhere, and it meant we were both out of practice and more entrenched than usual.
In the course of moving, as is usual, I rediscovered many things I’d lost, including the pattern magazines of the sixties and early seventies that my grandmother left me. Good heavens! I must scan some of the pictures in – there are really remarkable things to be seen. I’m not going to give too much away, so I’ll just say this: pornstash, bow tie, knit zig zags. All in one place. Oh, the humanity! Many of the sweaters are quite lovely, actually, but the knit items for men are…well, who in 1972 decided that what men really need is to accentuate their waists? There are all these perfectly decent sweater spoiled by an ill placed belt or a long laced slit at the throat. It’s terribly exciting, but not good fashion sense. Worse yet is when the belt is slung at the hips. I don’t know how, but this looks even more accidentally feminine.
In other news, I finally got into Ravelry! It’s rare that something is as good as the hype, but Ravelry is every bit as good as I’d heard it would be. I’m having so much fun. I can’t wait take pictures of my stash and get them up there.
One of the most interesting discussions I saw on Ravelry was about Real Women. I capitalized the term because it seems like in recent years Real Women has taken on a cultural meaning having to do solely with weight. When a magazine refers to Real Women, they’re not talking about real women. They’re talking about people who are not skinny. Real Women doesn’t have to mean overweight, but it means Not Skinny almost exclusively.
The Ravelry discussion was about banishing the term as a pejorative since we’re all real women, regardless of size. It’s not a new idea, but it’s not one that I think can be brought up too often. One of the most unpleasant aspects of being female is the constant competition in which we all seem to be engaged. If I’m OK, it must mean that everyone different from me is not OK. Since there’s been a trend toward skinniness since the 1960′s, skinny has come to be the forbidden and unhealthy ideal that is difficult, even impossible for most women to attain. That there should be a backlash is entirely understandable, but what perhaps is not as well understood is what the backlash does to women.
Obviously, if you’ve seen my pictures here, you know that I’m skinny, so there’s some self interest in this discussion. What I may not have mentioned overtly is that I tend toward the unhealthy underweight end of the spectrum. It’s not something I have a lot of control over. My natural body size is small and I have a hyperactive metabolism. I don’t really mind being skinny in most respects, but I do mind the unhealthy part of things, because when I drop below a certain weight I get dizzy and spinny and tired and it becomes harder to get through the day. Anyway, because of this I don’t view my size as a positive, but merely a fact. I’m skinny. Not just thin, not just willowy, not just slender or graceful or elegant or any of those lovely words, but skinny. I look better with 10 to 15 pounds more than I usually carry, but it’s very hard for me to get up to that weight and then keep it on.
Maybe I’m extra sensitive, but it makes it hard for me to read reviews of knitting books or patterns sometimes, because a lot of times the smaller sizes are referred to as being for “anorexics” and the models disparaged as pathetic, sickly, unattractive, not like real women, or otherwise disturbing. I had a bad evening some weeks back in which I read one of these reviews on Amazon and then cried. It’s no more appropriate for people to disparage the in body type than to make fun of people for being overweight. Moreover, if the models are simultaneously being held up as an ideal and ripped down as hideous, then we’ve created a space in which no woman is ever attractive or acceptable as she is, rather than making it more acceptable to be real. Real is many, many sizes, and many, many shapes. Real is a big nose or a dainty upturned nose, a svelte figure or a curvy one.
Women look their best in so many different ways. Some women look better with a little more meat on their bones and some look best thin and sleek. It all depends on build and health, and in the end, health is 99% of attractive. I’d like to see a space where all of us can feel our best about how we look and stop worrying about weight.
I’d also like to see a wider range of sizes in knitwear, too, though, and with that in mind, I’m going to try to write up the pattern for Arthemis soon in many sizes. I think the shape should be flattering to most figures with the loose fit but curved outline. Arthemis will be a free download like Maude Louise (which I’m also hoping to edit soon). I recently stumbled upon Ysolda Teague’s wonderful size chart, and I’m going to refer to that for future sizing.
If you made it through the rambling, good for you! Thanks for letting me pour out a little bit of mind.