What Women Want

… or at least, what they talk about.

I was talking to Paul-the-Riverford-vegman this morning, and mentioned the awful Daily Mail article that basically said knitting groups are like Sex and the City except with knitting. That women meet up, drink cocktails and gossip about men while we knit. We don’t!! (and yes, I know I should be well above moaning about a Daily Fail article) For starters, there are often men at knitting group. But even when there are no men present, we don’t talk about them! Paul asked “well, what do you drink, and what do you talk about?” “Cider, or tea if it’s in the day time, and we talk about knitting” I said.

But it got me thinking. We don’t talk about knitting ALL the time. So unbeknownst to the rest of my knitting group (I didn’t want them to be self conscious as it would ruin the exercise), I scribbled down the topics of conversation at this afternoon’s group – consisting of five women of various ages and nationalities – over the course of about an hour or two. I went along with the conversation but tried not to propose topics myself or steer it in any way. Here’s what I wrote:

Work (troubles at), science, publishing, shopping, chocolate, cake, diabetes research (and irony of bake sale in aid of), knitting, hot cross buns, Italy, Wales, languages, Canada, cold (in Canada and London), emigration (to Canada), immigration (to London), knitting, cake (again), cafes near Earl’s Court, whinging (re work (troubles at)), home improvements, knitting (lengthy discussion of different bind-off methods), names (common and uncommon), rope-making (a man who had been making rope at another table came over to talk to Helly and she invited him to join our group), crochet hooks (comparison of), chocolate (again), atheism, racism, postcards, marmalade.

At this point I stopped writing, told the group what I had been doing and read out the list. They hadn’t been at all suspicious about my scribblings, they must have thought I was writing pattern notes. They all agreed the list was fairly representative of what we tend to talk about – not many highbrow philosophical discussions there, but certainly no gossiping, and no talking about men apart from a passing reference by Helly to her partner Ed (re home improvements). I know knitters are fairly preoccupied with cake but even I was surprised at the amount of time we spent speaking about food.

“You should write a blog post about this”, Helly said.

“I intend to”, I replied. “I’m going to flesh it out by talking about that test they judge films by, I can’t remember what it’s called though”

the Bechdel Test” said Jenny. “In order to satisfy the test, a film has to have at least two women in it, who talk to each other, about something other than a man”. This happens in real life all the time (as we just evidenced), but not very often in film and TV.

The conversation moved on to lectures, museums, art, the Daily Mail Oncological Ontology Project, and garden centres.

Then we all ate some cake.

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7 thoughts on “What Women Want

  1. God, I so agree with you here! I HATE the way TV and films make it look like all women do is gossip about men, and then you get the men who believe it! And the Bechdel test is genius – thanks for introducing me to it.
    PS Your knitting group sounds like fun!

  2. Pingback: knitting groups « fridica

  3. I finally made it to the knitting group last night again – it was a slower night and I have to say I enjoyed it even more than when it’s completely crowded (though that has it charms as well)… Somewhere in the middle of the evening I remembered this post and started paying attention to the topics of conversation – there was no gossip whatsoever. My favorite was the talks on the election : )

    • I had to leave at 7. The conversation near the counter was boring me, to be honest! But I kept hearing snatches of interesting-sounding talk over by the door!

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