In "Ken" she takes on the phenomenon of the crafter y-chromosome. You know, how the media covers them more or their towns put together shows for them, or in her example, how women swoon all over them like the male knitter is "a valuable racehorse." She extends her critique of our low expectations of men to women who gush when men "help" with the housework or "babysit" the kids. She concludes,
The next time you see a man knitting, try to treat him like he's not exceeding your expectations or walking on water, even if you are sort of impressed and really have to fake it.I think when I start writing about this, the top of my head gets all explode-y. (I remember Maggie...have I told you this one? When the dude and I were living with my cousin and commuting three hours a day, Maggie and my aunt came to take care of my nieces while my cousin and her husband were out of town. I would come home, and to help my aunt out, I'd make dinner for the adults. After dinner, the dude would do the dishes. Maggie says, "I hate to see a man do the dishes. He worked hard all day." Um, hello? Maggie was the only one of us who hadn't worked hard all day, but don't mistake what she said for an offer.)
Remember if you can do it, so can he.
In "Knitting Self-Esteem" Pearl-McPhee posits that we have individuals and whole cultures trying to undermine our self-worth, and that knitting takes us to a place where we are good enough simply because we knit.
When I knit well and make beautiful things, it reminds me that I'm a winner* and a person who gets things done...Knitting could be a phone line that rings straight into the kitchen of your inner self and says, 'Hello? I just wanted to call and tell you that you're wrong about me. I'm great, and I have the socks to prove it.'I think that's what the marquoir does for me. In fact, the marquoir reminds me of writing my dissertation. It was a huge, unfathomable project that I got done by sheer perseverance--sometimes writing every day, sometimes leaving it to languish for (gasp!) years. I didn't get my dissertation done in the "average" time, and I haven't gotten the marquoir done on the schedule of the designers (16 months). But in the end, I (will) get it done. In some ways I'm more of a long distance runner; I certainly have endurance. Certainly there are times when my tiny self esteem worries that we'll never reach the finish line.
I had to return the book before I could flesh out all my ideas about it, but it's worth picking up if you haven't read it yet.
*In the pre-Charlie Sheen sense.