Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gendered Activities

Today is World Wide Knit in Public Day. Or as I call it, everyday, and also known as Embarrass Your Husband In Public Day. Again, that would be everyday.

I am also reading "American Nerd: the Story of My People" by Benjamin Nugent. And this week's alternative weekly paper, Creative Loafing, did a cover article about home brewing beer where the reporter attended a meeting of home brewing enthusiasts.

These three -- knitting, nerdiness, beer brewing -- are very gendered topics. Knitting is done predominately by women and an activity that doesn't get much respect, partly because it is "women's work." Nugent talks about how nerd is a label put on men interested in computers and science fiction, in contrast to the term jock, in a continuum of masculinity.

And the article on the home brewing specifically points out that there are very few women who are brewing beer, as opposed to girlfriends and wives who help their men brew beer. Beer drinking is very much a masculine thing. I don't know why, since I drink beer, enjoy beer, and have many female friends who enjoy beer too.

Brewing is cooking and cooking is "women's work." Unless somehow brewing is like barbeque and then that's acceptable male cooking? I don't know. Maybe because there's science involved with talk about hydrometers and acidity and conversion of sugar and yeast to alcohol. And if it's scientific, then that's manly, like nerds and their computers?

I don't know where I'm going with this post, but knitting, science fiction, and beer are things I enjoy and are very gendered activities.

You know what? forget it. I'm going to go knit on a cardigan that will emphasize my curves and maybe watch the episode of "Dollhouse" where Alan Tudyk puts on the tight, tight t-shirt. Or rewatch "Death at a Funeral" where he wears nothing at all.

eta: I ended up reading "My Own Kind of Freedom" by Steve Brust. Talk about nerdiness. It's a novel-length fan fiction for the space western "Firefly".

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