Friday, March 03, 2006

Stitching and Bitching with Children

I won't be going to meetings with my local Stitch N Bitch group anymore. When I first joined about a year and a half ago, they met at a bar, which I thought was great, but other members had a problem with the cigarette smoke--a legitimate complaint. So we moved down the street to a small coffeehouse, which for me had the added bonus of being very child-friendly, with a train set in the corner, small tables and chairs and a DVD player. Occasionally I would bring my daughters, as would another mom.

Now some of the members are complaining that it makes them uncomfortable to have the children there, that perhaps we should designate special children's nights. They say they feel they have to watch what they say and can't properly "bitch". My point is that it's a public coffeehouse, where are the comfort boundaries. You don't want the children at the table, can we sit at table next to the group? Can we order food at the counter? I am just baffled by the idea that so many people seem to think that table exists in some sort of bubble where they only need to worry about the people at the table. And I do think we owe the other patrons a little respect, the idea that the table is somehow a language and topic free-for-all is a bit odd. I watch my language at the coffeehouse simply because I am aware there are other people there who might not appreciate it.

And at what point does my responsibility for other people's comfort end? I can't bring my kids to the table, can I bring my grandmother? My brother? My teenage cousin? One woman told me, well, the coffeehouse is public, but the table is private so we can decide who sits there. Sooo, if we get someone really annoying who joins, we ask her to leave? I just feel that children deserve respect the same as adults. A child who is disruptive certainly is a disturbance. But feeling that children inconvenience you simply because they are children is infuriating.

And even though I only occasionally bring my children, what about someone who can't attend unless they bring their kids? We've had emails to the group from women who say they would like to attend, but would need to bring their child, is that okay. I always responded cheerfully, certainly! There are toys and a DVD player, I sometimes bring my kids as well. Now I realize that apparently I shouldn't have been spreading the word that kids are welcome.

It's really not that monumental of a decision to leave the group, I hadn't been going that often anyway. I've been doing a lot of sewing and going to the meetings sometimes made me feel as though I was wasting time, I could be home taking sewing while Brian occupied the girls. And really, I can always go back, I didn't make some huge dramatic production and swear I would never return to such a group of idiots. But I really don't feel I can condone the idea that we need to impose restrictions that would exclude certain people. As a friend pointed out, it doesn't seem a particular feminist thing to do, particularly when you consider the whole SNB movement was started by the editor of Bust Magazine. Or maybe only young single women are proper feminists and somehow our sons and daughters will magically transform once they hit that golden age, whatever it is.


At 4:40 PM, March 03, 2006, Anonymous p said...

hmmm, I'm with you - don't get that attitude at all. Part of the joy of knitting is the sharing the craft. Getting the next generation involved is the way it should be. It's practically our responsibility!

At 9:11 AM, March 06, 2006, Blogger Kat said...

IMO it's really pathetic. I have never understood exclusionary behavior, even while in high school.

At 4:37 PM, March 06, 2006, Blogger notoriaus said...

As a young single woman, I'd like to say that I don't understand what brought this up, but meh.
I'm sad to hear you are going to stop coming.
On a happier topic, I agree with the sewing mood. I've lately been doing other things than knitting bc it is a little too expensive. I'm getting a sewing machine tuesday.. I'm so excited!


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