Tags: The Internet
I came across Microsoft’s adCenter Labs today in a routine search for cool Web 2.0 things. They’ve got an automatic demographics predictor that judges someone’s gender and age based on their search queries and the websites they visit.
If you type in knitting: 78% chance you’re female, and you’re most likely between 35 and 49 years old.
If you visit my site: 53% chance you’re female, and you’re most likely under 18. I’m slightly horrified by the age judgement (do I use OMG that often?), but let’s move on.
Assuming there’s no question that the average knitter is female, is the average knitter really between 35 and 49? I suppose my experience is coloured by the fact that the people I’ve met are mostly through blogs and such and therefore most of the knitters I know are younger, mid-to-late twenties folks. But those same people who are publishing knitting blogs are also the ones who are doing the most on the web, dontcha think? Shouldn’t the age demo be skewed lower? Now that I think of it, maybe the people I’m connecting with are actually in their thirties and I’m just assuming they’re younger because they have such youthful vigour. What do you think? How old is the average knitter?
Thinking about knitting demographics brings another interesting question to mind: is there a generational knitting gap between our grandmothers and those of us (I’m speaking to the 20-somethings now) who are taking part in this “second wave” of knitting popularity? Are/were our mothers as fanatical about knitting as we are? Back in the 80s (which is rapidly approaching thirty years ago), our moms were doing the whole going-to-work thing, and couldn’t have cared less about domestic activities like knitting or crochet. Knitting was too weak, and women had to shed all previous connections to their male-oppressed lives before they could emerge from the ashes of domesticity. It’s only been in the past few years that we’ve had this re-knit-ssance (that was my attempt to mash knitting into the word “renaissance”). I still get spiteful looks from feminists when they see me knitting, as if it’s somehow beneath us all to perform such a menial, mechanical task.
I know my mom sorta crocheted, but she only knew how to dc when I asked her to show me the ropes. Will she pick up a hook in the near future? Not likely; she’s quite content to receive handknits from me, and considering the number of “I’m making this shawl for my mom” posts in the days leading up to mother’s day, my mom isn’t alone. So what happened to that generation? Is this just a dip in the trend, or will there always be this fluctuation every time someone wants to redefine knitting as “the new feminism” or “the new chauvinism?” Will we eventually stop making art that “examines gender roles” by clichÃ©dly knitting manly things? Will we ever stop describing brooklyntweed as “that boy knitter?”