I want a Republic and I’m excited about the Royal Baby

I won’t be appearing on the front cover of a ladies magazine knitting however, because I have been told not to knit by my Doctor.* Plus I’m shy and retiring not well known enough to sell magazines knitting or otherwise. But I don’t see the huge issue with our PM, Julia Gillard, being photographed knitting a kangaroo for the new Royal Baby. We know she likes knitting, she does it to relax. Many Australians, men and women, knit for fun and relaxation. I don’t have a problem with our PM being in favour of an Australian Republic, as I am, while enjoying knitting for an impending new baby.

I like babies and I am excited about seeing baby photos. I like cuddling babies too, but since Kim and Kanye are in the US and likely to be surrounded by security I can’t see me having a cuddle of baby North (if that is her real name) anytime soon. Nor the royal baby. Nor any other baby (sob) anytime soon. Unless purely by chance I am somewhere where there is a parent with their hands full needing someone to hold the baby for a few minutes. I love those times.

So I enjoy cuddling babies. Many people do. I suspect the PM might as well. She is in with a much better chance than me of having a hold of the new Royal Baby plus she likes knitting so why shouldn’t she knit a kangaroo toy for him or her? I’m sure Australia also do something symbolic like gift a koala to London Zoo or something as well.

So appearing on Women’s Weekly knitting a kangaroo in terms of the PM’s image? Not a bad thing in IMHO. I mean how many of the readers of Women’s Weekly do you think might be currently clicking away on a baby shawl, booties, caps, cardies, those cute little pants with piccies on the bum and any other knitted baby item you can think of? It is isn’t close to 90% of them I would be very surprised. I think that potentially William and Kate and the Royal Baby could be buried under an avalanche of knitted goods for the baby. They are probably still going through the ones from when Princess Di gave birth to William.

Seriously, if the PM can’t pursue a hobby she enjoys making a toy for a baby what on earth have we come to? Are people that desperate to find something to whinge about the PM? Get over it. It is a knitted toy for a baby, on the cover of a magazine aimed at women who, gasp, knit for fun.

*true story

Categories: Culture, culture wars, fun & hobbies, gender & feminism, Life, media, Politics

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8 replies

  1. It has been established that Julia Gillard is a woman.
    While some commenters have been willing to pass this as only a misdemeanour offence, if she compounds it by publically engaging in womanly activities like knitting for babies it moves immediately into a felony.
    There are only two possible responses to this situation:
    1. Gillard is acting like a politician (good grief! who’d of thunk?!) and pretending to be feminininine in order to win approval. Get rid of her immediately.
    2. Gillard is feminininine. Get rid of her even more immediately.
    We are never going to get rid of the Royals if they keep making more. They really have to stop. Not looking forward to the new baby. It’s been hard enough enduring the current generation.

  2. I was relieved to hear several callers to 774 this morning calling the ‘concern’ from the host what it is – a beat up and evidence that whatever the PM does, she’ll be bagged for it. The woman from WW saying the shoot took 6 hours was the hook that the critics eventually seemed to latch on to – couldn’t criticise the knitting without being called on their sexism; the ‘conflict’ between knitting for a royal baby vs being a Republican seemed silly to most – that leaves you able to decry the waste of time and poor priorities from our PM. Wouldn’t it be loverly if this tosh was just shut down and we could talk about policy? Dreaming, I know.

  3. I have no quarrels with the Queen getting her first great-grandchild, although the media hysteria about the subject is a bit wearing (honestly, a double-page spread about the topic in todays’ West, covering things like the hospital and trotting out photos of all the past generations, right back to HM the Q herself in her baby shots seemed like making a bit much soup out of the one onion). I do hope the Duchess of Cambridge gets through the labour without problems, and I hope the child is born healthy. But given I’m not interested in the topic, large helpings of media frenzy just exaggerate my republican spirits, to be honest.
    That said, if Julia Gillard decides the best way to deal with all the stress she’s going through at the moment is by knitting a toy kangaroo to be handed to the kid as part of Australia’s gift, more power to her. I crochet, and I’ve already turned one lot of stressors into a knee rug, and I’m working on the next lot being turned into granny squares for a blanket.

  4. Does anyone know if the requirement to declare gifts over a certain monetary value — and to treat those gifts as gifts to the realm rather than the person — applies to the royals these days?
    If it does, I’m thinking that a hand-knitted personal gift may be one of the few official gifts that the kid will actually be allowed to have possession of — because let’s face it, most countries aren’t going to give a cheap teddy bear to the royal baby. But a personal handmade gift from the PM isn’t cheap — but neither does it have a monetary value that renders it unusable for its recipient.
    Now, given that Australia seems to have shelved the republic issue for the time being, it’s quite possible that this child will spend at least a good portion of hir life believing that ze is destined to become our head of state — and ze may well be our head of state one day anyway. So it strikes me as potentially very politically prudent of Gillard to do this — if the child has a strong affection for Australia from a young age (say, because the Aussie PM gave them a knitted toy that didn’t have to be stuck in a glass cabinet somewhere), then it can only help, right?
    (Of course, the MSM would probably spin this as Gillard being a cold political manipulator, which is quite contrary to what I’m saying: it’s quite possible that this act is both motivated by warmth/affection/excitement even as it is a politically prudent move.)

  5. (Of course, the MSM would probably spin this as Gillard being a cold political manipulator,

    IMHO, there are worse things than being a “cold political manipulator.” At least it implies that you’re competent and working towards a concrete goal. Which is more than can be said for most of the politicos in our neck of the woods (USA)

  6. Just saw this in the UK Guardian (where I am at the moment). I must admit that although I am (a) a knitter (b) a supporter of the PM and (c) don’t see that there’s any difference between the PM knitting as a hobby and the Leader of the Opposition doing triathlon as a hobby (though the PM has the good sense not to wear budgie smugglers while pursuing her hobby), that I think this was a bit of a PR misstep. I don’t knit in public in a professional context, even though I’d like to – for example at academic conferences – because I think it won’t be perceived well, and I suspect this won’t either. 774 leaders might be above it all, but I’ll bet that’s not the case with some of the more usual media suspects. Textiles get a bad press as ‘women’s work’, and toys for royal babies is in a bit of dubious category too. Not that I think it’s bad, I’m just surprised that the PM thought it was a good idea. Though I seem to remember a Canadian Governor General knitting in public at some point, and it didn’t seem to end the world. Maybe it’s time to make up some “I knit and I vote” stickers.

  7. AMM5 – that works differently for women though. No time now, sorry but if you google the “Likeability and competence paradox” (or dilemma?) you should find links to studies showing that men have no decrease in “likeability” with increase in competence but women suffer a decline.

  8. AMM:

    IMHO, there are worse things than being a “cold political manipulator.”

    Oh, I agree. But I also don’t think there’s a necessary dichotomy between making astute political moves (which is more often cast as “cold” when women do it), and being motivated by affection.

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