Gender: WTF

Basically this is a reaction to Contrapoints’s video “Men,” and also some stuff she’s talked about in her previous posts.

Mostly my thoughts are about the idea of narrative: that now that society has changed where traditional stories about protectors and providers are either irrelevant or unremarkable (because women do it, too, I guess), these young dudes have no narrative on which to model their identity as men.

But my first problem is that I don’t even know what the fuck “identity as a man/woman” is supposed to mean. IME, what it boils down to is bullshit stereotypes. I am AFAB, but I guess I’m mostly okay with it now that I have feminist vocabulary to torch down the bullshit stereotypes.

My positive experience of my femininity is basically one of reclamation of things I was taught to despite because they were girlie: I learned to like pink, I learned to treat traditionally female artforms like sewing and knitting as artforms rather than inferior domestic fluffery. I’ve learned it’s okay to dabble with makeup and not a sign of horrible shallowness, vanity, and deception.

Going back to the protector role, I’m actually pretty glad that it’s largely irrelevant in daily life. I like not having my safety dependent on the whims of male randos. But nowadays we are inundated with stories of female warriors and fighters after many centuries of sausage parties in the genre. And young dudes are probably feeling at loose ends about that.

Will it just get better if they’re no longer raised with that expectation? Prolly not. I still think that the identities of provider and craftsman are still relevant. I don’t know why it would spoil it if women are doing the same thing. Y’know, besides latent sexism about girls getting their cooties on everything.

Contrapoints doesn’t offer a solution in her videos (which I appreciate), but I think what my solution looks like is just to abolish gender (besides as a medical condition). And I understand why people don’t like that solution, because Contrapoints has told me so. Maybe it would be better to have a few intermediary steps in there, but it seems to be the thing most likely to resemble a solution.

Knitting a kimono, Part 2

Because great weebs knit alike, of course there is someone who’s published books on the idea of knitting your own kimono. Twice.

Knit Kimono and Knit Kimono Too by Vicki Square, lays it all out with about ten times the historical research and technical vocabulary that I managed. I just want to knit a sweater out of rectangles, but Square has patterns for all kinds of shit based on historical wear, with some yofuku (western clothing) ideas thrown in for good measure.

Knit Kimono is mostly about shape, while Knit Kimono Too is mostly about color. Since I am fairly shit at color schemes on my own, I will totally steal ideas from a thousand-year-old tradition made by people way more sophisticated than I am.

“Stealing the best ideas wherever they come from” is the working definition of multiculturalism that I like best.

Knitting a kimono

“Kimono” in Western fashion basically means “relatively unstructured sweater without fasteners.” But being weeaboo hipster trash, I actually mean kimono when I look for kimono patterns (or at least a haori). I get disappointed a lot.

But at one anime con, I found a fellow fiber weeb who did a short demonstration on how REAL kimonos looked and were assembled, and I felt two steps closer to Enlightenment after it. (Her pro-tip was to buy one and disassemble it yourself.)

Traditional kimonos are pretty cleverly designed for maximum efficiency of fabric use, which is a long goddamn lost priority for Western fashion. I can’t be too angry about it, because I do like tailored clothes that are easy to move around in, but there is a sort of practical elegance to kimono and bog coats (no, Google, I don’t mean dog coats, jeebus).

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Reviewing ‘200 Crochet Blocks for blankets, throws, and afghans’

“200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans” by Jan Eaton is another one I found in the library and that I’m probably going to own at some point.

One thing that bogs me down about motif projects is when the thing happens where you go oh gawd I have to make fifty more of these gawdforsaken exact same things. I get tricked into thinking that motif blankets have to be made up of all in one or two motifs. Or that only motifs worked in the round are the what “real” crocheters do.

Thankfully that is a dirty, filthy lie, and “200 Crochet Blocks” reminds me of this.

200 crochet blocks quilt logic.JPG

This is an excellent example of what I’ve come to call “quilting logic.” You can do something as simple as turning your blocks to get sawtooth, diamond, or windmill patterns just like in quilting. Or you can make geometrics within the geometrics of the squares by using corner blocks, borders, and bands. Or mix busier or more intricate patterns with plainer blocks of color. Mix open work with tighter textures.

One thing I haven’t seen much in other books (at least not for blankets) is incorporating bobble or popcorn stitches. Not just adding a row or two to a stripe pattern, but using the popcorns to make shapes like diamonds or arrows within a solid-colored square. Or maybe that’s sweater logic rather than quilting logic.

In conclusion, good book, creative stuff, and yay libraries.

This Week in Moe Shit: ‘Umamusume’

High school girls — animal-eared girls, no less — with an earnest transfer student who wants to Be the Best. And they race in stupidly kawaii outfits that probably create a lot of wind drag. And at the end of the races they have an idol-style concert. This feels like the Triple Crown for moe trash.

All that actually doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that horses’ ears do not work like that. I don’t know why the hell the animators insisted on having the girls’ horse ears squinch at the middle. Horse ears swivel at the base and tend to point more out than down.

horse ears

Sadly, this sample is missing the most popular moe expression, “kawaii dismay.”

But this series DOES actually have something resembling a character arc for our main girl Special Week and a few other characters. Especially since this seems to be based on a mobile game. They doubt themselves and get disappointed and we’re shown and not just told how much hard work they do rather than stupid random power-ups.

Still good for happy nice time watching, but still…

umamusume ears