Pacific University student Carly Williams delved into new found meanings behind knitting on April 25 during her senior capstone project presentation, titled “The Knitting, Intersectional Feminism.”
Williams started her presentation by asking the audience what thoughts came to mind after hearing the word “knitting.” Audience members were in consensus that the word conjured up images of grandmothers, cozy fires and warm socks.
Williams then used the example of the widely recognized “pussy hat,” whose original artist turned her simple knitting pattern into an activist movement that sparked interest across the nation, to argue that modern day feminism is using traditionally feminine activities to empower and support feminist social movements.
Williams also reflected on a number of conversations she conducted with women whose chosen line of work was “masculine.”
One artist Williams spoke to had decided to work with metal, rather than glass, to fit in with the males in her class. And though the misogyny and discouragement the artist felt eventually forced her drop out of the class, Williams spoke highly of the artist’s new hobby, knitting.
According to Williams, the artist would use metaphors to describe the power of knitting, including, “One strand of glass alone is brittle but intertwined with others could withstand several breaks without falling apart.”
Williams presentation also reflected the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza and showed that “we have a shared responsibility with regard to actions, ideas, and injustice,” based on Spinoza’s claim that everything is an expression of God.
Williams also argued during her presentation that Spinoza’s works ultimately support contemporary feminism and the potential for intersectional feminism using traditionally feminine ideals and crafts.