A Prime Minister who knits?

heart shape symbol made of wool pierced with a hearty needle

Shame on the politicians and commentators in Australia who have criticised the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard for admitting that she knits, and even worse, (shock) celebrating it by suggesting it as an appropriate image for her interview in a women’s magazine! She has been labelled ‘out of touch’, ‘twee’, knitting as Rome burns’ and a modern day ‘Madame Defarge’. Knitting is another so-called ‘female’ pursuit that is being denigrated and I can’t fathom why.

Here is a list of good things about knitting:

  • It involves mind and body and even spirit because in most cases knitting is done for others (gifts, charity)
  • It is highly tactile and visual, potentially leading to increased skills in perceiving colour, shape, form, pattern and texture
  • It improves mood and is believed to decrease stress, pain and depression
  • It can be shared socially – in groups and online
  • It is creative
  • It is thought that the state of mind used when knitting is similar to mindfulness/meditation, which brings psychological, emotional and health benefits.

Now for the list of bad things about knitting. Hmmm. Um. Pfff. No, I can’t think of anything. A positive Sydney Morning Herald commentator (On the PM’s side) noted that it is not time-wasting because you can multitask. In fact every knitter I know always does something else while knitting. A split focus is easy for those who use their brains effectively.

‘It’s a stunt’, claim Liberal and National opponents. People who live in glass houses…

Does this make her a bad role model? On the contrary, Prime Minister Julia Gillard is to be applauded for continuing to work and stay positive despite increasingly desperate and spiteful and treacherous attempts to undermine her and the work of her government. She needs her knitting and her knitting is doing her service.

‘Knitting can change negative thoughts and attitudes into positive ones. It encourages people to move forwards. Confidence, self esteem, motivation and mood improves. It gives people a vehicle by which to make social contact and, in so doing, keeps their world open.’ from Betsan Corkhill: Therapeutic knitting

Stay open and positive Ms Gillard and keep knitting!

References

Rosemary Kingston: The psychological benefits of knitting

Betsan Corkhill: Therapeutic knitting

Jacqueline Maley, Sydney Morning Herald: Does a good feminist knit? Should a prime minister knit?

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