Friday, August 12, 2005

Can Open. Worms Everywhere. Oh dear....

A few days ago, there was a thread on the Livejournal knitting community board about someone starting another community for "childfree knitters". I must confess, I responded a bit sarcastically. Once I yanked my head out of my arse and really started to think, it occurred to me that maybe I could just agree to disagree and the OP and I seem to have left things on a friendly and mutually respectful note. I'm grateful for the experience.

One of the things I treasure about the various writers of knit blogs I've been finding on the web is that it is such a diverse and interesting group. We are not all the same, but one thing brings us together and that is our mutual and abiding love of fiber, yarn, sticks, string.... we are knitters, we are fiber artists, we are women and men connected by something interesting. If I only wanted to associate with people like myself, who shared my every interest, I probably would not be out there on the internet.

I realize this is not so for everyone.

But I still don't get it. When you start narrowing your world down to a tiny little sliver of safe people who are just like you, you lose something precious. You lose a diversity that most of us don't get in our immediate communities, you lose the opportunity to learn and yeah, you lose the opportunity to go "Hey, you're really not like me, I so don't agree with you on this one but I will listen and be respectful anyway." and trust me, there is nothing like having that experience to make you a more decent human being. Realizing you're being a closed minded jerk and STOPPING? That's priceless. May I always be willing do do that, this mouth to G-d's ear.

The internet allows us to connect with a wide swath of like minded people, but it also allows us to narrow ourselves down to a dangerously tiny subset and forget there is a wider world out there in which we must participate.

For the record? I don't care if other tea drinkers or knitters have kids, don't have kids, raise dogs or cats, queer, whatever. I don't care if the yarn of choice is nasty, cheap acrylic Red Heart (though I confess I'd feel compelled to send them handpainted superwash merino till they saw the error of their ways the dark side), I don't care what religion or what philosophy someone believes in, unless it's truly hateful or hurtful to others. I just want to have a broad community of people, who just like me, love to knit, and who otherwise are just who they are, which is to say, not like me. Because we are all human under the skin and that is where we are the same, where it matters. The rest is just, a chance to learn something.

It keeps it fresh and interesting.

But I gotta say one thing. If you call me a "breeder" or you call my children one of the epithets I saw slung around in the "childfree" discussion the other day? I will jam a #19 knitting needle up your arse nose until you beg me for mercy. Some things are non negotiable.

4 comments:

Siel said...

Interesting about the childfree knitters. I'm childfree, so I could totally join, though I'm glad that one of my friends is expecting -- she's the first of my close friends -- cuz baby stuff is so cute -- and faster to knit!

I wonder, though, if the segregationist attitude of these childfree people has more to do with not wanting to hear about kids all the time from those with children. I mean, babies are totally cute, but I and too many of my girlfriends have had to nod along with a fake smile while being forced to listen to "amusing" kid stories from our bosses or other mothers. Even if we think their kids are lovely --

What did these childfree people say? Were they anti-offspring?

Amy said...

Amen! The best people in the knitting community that I've met are just that open-minded and welcoming. Of course, in any community there are exceptions, but pleasingly, those exceptions have been few and far between so far.

rincaro said...

Hmm... I can't believe I missed that loverly discussion.

I actually left a message board maintained by a group of close friends when they put up a fence for "childfree" discussion only on an area of the forum. It was just uncomfortable. And it was a workout board, not like there was much mention of kids anyhow.

Diana said...

I have children, but it doesn't bother me if someone wants to start a childfree knitting group. I was reading a blog the other day, and the woman could not have children and she felt pain everytime she read about someone elses kids. She is probably one of the gals that wants a childfree knitting blog group. So I say to each their own; too many people out there criticizing and second guessing the why's of the world.