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The Great Potholder Controversy

The Great Potholder Controversy

August 2, 2007

It happens every year that free stuff is given out. People complain.

A potholder? How dare they give me a potholder! Are they implying that I should be in the kitchen cooking?

Or for the vegans among us, Are they implying I should eat animal flesh?

Damn that patriarchy for thinking we as women are in the kitchen.

Oh wait. I am in the kitchen. A lot. See I have these kids and they oddly want to eat all the time. And sometimes they are not happy with foraging in the cabinets and want me to cook actual meals that they can then complain about. I love it.

And lord knows I spend way to much time taking stuff out of the oven, sometimes fun stuff like cookies. And I love me some meat. Mmmmmm, meat.

A few Christmases ago I bought one of my sons one of those looms that you make potholders on. Remember those? I don’t think that there is a person among us who has not made a potholder by weaving those little loops.

He loved it and totally ran with the making of potholders like there would soon be a shortage of cotton loops. And then he threw away all of the “old and yucky” potholders that we had in our kitchen. Why wouldn’t I want to use a 4″ square cotton potholder that was hand woven by my beloved son, even if it meant I burned my hand on every damn baking pan we own. I mean, duh? At least according to him.

I have tried to bring other potholders or oven mitts into the house, but my son pipes up with, “I can just make you some more! Don’t waste your money buying things I can make!” (As an aside, who is this child? And how can I learn how to make Legos?)

I am just glad that they didn’t have sewing kits or ironing supplies in the BlogHer schwag bags because at my house those are man jobs.

I would have had to become very offended and throw the sewing kit into the trash with shrieks of, “Does the patriarchy think I sew?!? Is that what they think?”

And all that being offended energy would have taken far too much time away from my ongoing quest to find out where the free drinks were being served.

Posted by Chris @ 9:19 am  

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  1. meritt says:

    So true my dear… on every point. Oh, and all those Blogher people that don’t want their potholders? Email me. I’ll give you my address. I live in my kitchen - I’ll use them!!!!!

    (www.housewifebarbie.blogspot.com) - SEE? I LIVE IN THE KITCHEN AND I AM USUALLY BAREFOOT TOO! (But not pregnant… been there, done that).

  2. Jennifer says:

    Seriously? Who ever heard of complaining about a FREE goody??? Gratefulness has just been thrown out the window!

  3. Lilly says:

    Love the make’em myself spirit of your son! Sympathize about the burnt fingers. How about sewing a couple together for a double thick potholder?
    We went to Sturbridge Village yesterday (1800s living). Have you all been there? Your son could start working on making your brooms next….

  4. Karen says:

    Yeah all the complaining about free stuff made me upset too. Maybe they should have a box where people can leave the stuff they don’t want and pick up the stuff they do - because I saw a lot of stuff thrown out that will end up in landfills - not cool.

  5. Zoot says:

    I was trying to give mine away in exchange for business cards because I felt bad for not having any cards…because I too, have TONS of potholders but not enough business cards of new bloggers. ;)

  6. Susan says:

    Chris isn’t joking about what is man’s work at her house: over the weekend she called home and her husband was getting ready to iron their daughter’s dresses. VOLUNTARILY.

    I told her that if she ever gets tired of him, she can send him to me. For the ironing, of course.

  7. Sarah says:

    I’m loving this! I knew if I gave it a few days the true stories of Blogher would surface1 :) And, yeah, I too am tired of everything in the world offending people. Gee whiz, everybody. Quit reading into every little thing.

  8. Christine says:

    Heck, take the potholders, rip out the seems and recon them into a bag or a cute skirt!

    Oh, wait … that’s sewing … never mind.

  9. Christine says:

    Um … seams!

  10. Chris says:


    That is an excellent idea. We should organize something like that for next year. A big donation box. Drop off your potholders, bliss products, towels, dildos… whatever you don’t want, and arrange for it to be donated somewhere.

  11. Katie says:

    My husband irons too. Weird world we live in…

    People get very strange over free stuff. Like at Camp Jeep (which is where I was while all you lovely ladies were getting drunk in Chicago), they began throwing out stupid little foam antenna balls. You’d think they were giving out diamonds by the way the crowd reacted. Like people had 10 of them and were going back for more. WTF?

    Ahem, potholders, I could use a few more, maybe your son should start a business.

  12. Woman with Kids says:

    I love that he threw any the old ones, how considerate!

  13. BetteJo says:

    I make those potholders. I have even sold those potholders until I got an order to do 20 of them and got cross-eyed and nauseated. Now I only make them when I need some mental health therapy. Those looms are great for that!

  14. Suburban Turmoil says:

    I was angered by the gym towel, personally. Are you saying I’m FAT?!

  15. Jenn says:

    I like to sew. Live with all boys. My youngest wanted to learn to sew - made the best quilt out of jeans and fleece. Three years later it still has a place of honor (if one exists in a 12 year olds bedroom??). I think I shall try the pot holder loam, think it can compete with video games?

  16. nabbalicious says:

    If the BlogHer whiners aren’t careful, they’re going to wind up with a bunch of NASCAR and Bass Pro Shops goodies in their gift bags next year.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Who the heck wouldn’t want something that is FREE? Some people have issues.

  18. brit says:

    You have completely captured my feelings after last years swag bag fiasco. People. Relax. It’s just free stuff. No statement being made. Calm down.

  19. Chris says:

    Suburban Turmoil,

    No. I think they are saying you are sweaty.

  20. Kristie says:

    I agree one hundred percent. Of course, I was not at blogher, so am going to turn this into a story all about me:

    A friend of mine just changed jobs and said she was happy to do so because the Christmas bonuses (boni?) that her old employer gave out were measley.

    Um … it’s a bonus! On par with something given away free …. geez, louise, people, take these things and accept gratefully, no matter the item. If you don’t like it, take it home and recycle it or give it to someone else. But for Pete’s sake, why must people complain about free stuff????

  21. sarcastic journalist says:

    Some people can’t learn to put up or shut up. Don’t want it? Don’t take it.

  22. Mary Alice says:

    I hate free stuff. No seriously, most of the things that are given out at conferences will at some point be tossed to a landfill….the same with cutesy crap in children’s party favor bags. How about enjoying a party or conference and leaving with warm memories? I get that it is a form of advertising at conferences, but geesh, enough already with the stress balls, dildos, and tee-shirts in a tube.

  23. JayMonster says:

    The part that astonished me about the “furor” about this is that it was Butterball that provided them. A food product that, oddly enough often gets cooked in a large (hot) pot, necessitating the need for pot holders.

    You know, if say Microsoft or perhaps Federated Media was giving out the potholders, well then maybe the moaners would have had a point, because their products have nothing to do with “the kitchen.”

    Some people just thrive on complaining though.

  24. Barb Cooper says:

    I have a whole different issue with the free stuff. I LOVE free stuff–to a point –and I guess I don’t have to brain cells left to put the potholder into the Subversive Anti-Feminist filter. I use potholders. So does everyone I know –male or female.

    But here’s my thing and I hope I don’t sound ungrateful: My husband travels to a LOT of conferences. He brings back the freebie stuff for the kids. The foam apples and the –hello–laser pointers, etc.–things that aren’t remotely kid-friendly. We have Had Words about this but he’s just unable to leave something free behind.

    Which would explain why I have, no kidding, at least 50 canvas bags with advertising slogans on them.

    I’ve taken to sort of, well, okay, REALLY sneakily giving stuff away as soon as it hits our doorway.

    Now if we could talk to the people who put race packets together…

    My kingdom for a potholder.

  25. peepnroosmom says:

    I used to have one of those looms when I was little! I made one and actually SOLD it for 5 cents to my old neighbor. (shaking head and hanging it in shame)

  26. kerrianne says:

    I’m actually a big fan of pot holders. And cloth napkins. I don’t really know why, but I always have been.

    And nabbalicious: Nascar garb! Yessss. I think you’re on to something there!

    (wink, wink.)

  27. Denise says:

    Can I just say thank goodness the bitching is about the butterball and not queer visibility? We’re improving! Next year I’m sure we’ll be complaining about notebooks and pens because obviously women are only able to take notes the old fashioned way…

  28. goodsandwich says:

    I can’t believe you’re not posting a photo of the pot holder. Typical woman, thinking only of yourself . . . :)

  29. Karen says:

    delurking to say: Did you know Klutz has a really cool book of potholder crafts you can make (Like a stuffed chicken and a purse…) Fairly “girly” but worth checking your library for….esp. if it avoids burnt fingers and possibly *gasp* spilled cookies!

  30. Shash says:

    For the vegans, those pot holders make great puppets. Trust me, I may never see mine again because my kids have claimed it for their own puppet making scheme.

    Now, if they could have given us free Spa treatments or free food and drink at Fogo de Chao, THAT would have been AWESOME!

    Or, maybe a free copy of Windows Vista for all who attended…yes…

    In the meantime, I’m fine with my potholder. I’m sure it will protect many a vegan hand from burning themselves on a warm dish straight from the oven. Which is what it is intended for, yes?


  31. Mrs. Chicky says:

    I gave it to my husband who is the real cook in my family. He loved it. Maybe those turkey people were on to something after all.

  32. Sueb0b says:

    As a vegetarian, I thought it would be hilarious to have a Butterball potholder, but I am trying to declutter, thus declined all swag. Except for a certain pink and shiny something I got in a very special bag…

  33. Mamacita says:

    I used to make those potholders and sell them door-to-door! As for the BlogHer potholders. . . I LOVED them! They were FREE, forcryingoutloud, and frankly, if it’s free, I don’t care WHAT it says on them.

    Besides, they’re great potholders. You can stuff it between the layers and nobody will ever know.

    Just kidding.

  34. Belinda says:

    Some people NEED to be offended, we decided. About something. Anything. But better than the Butterball potholder? The Butterball giant button that said “I *HEART* GIBLETS.” That rocked.

  35. gwendomama says:

    last year it was the weight watchers water. which was gross. mostly i think it was just the presence of weight watchers. ‘ARE YOU SAYING I AM FAT??? OF COURSE I AM, BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN, AND I MUST HAVE SOME WEIGHT ISSUES, RIGHT??’
    so sorry i missed this years hoop-lah-de-dah. hope to share in some offensive free shit with you next year.

  36. gwendomama says:

    and by the way, i am downright pissed to have missed out on that shiny pink swag.

  37. Lady M says:

    Chris - It was lovely to meet you after hearing so much about your super-packing abilities from Mir and admiring your photos all year.

    The random free stuff was way better than I get a tech conferences. How many logo pens can a girl use?

  38. Running Stitch » Actual crafting taking place…. says:

    [...] Yonder’s anniversary bash. Notes to Self’s Blogher recap Notes from the Trenches Blogher’s Swagbag recap Rancid Raves ongoing Harry Potter discussion (read at your own [...]

  39. Busy Mom says:

    I betrayed my gender by using the potholder last night.

    Oh, yes I did.

    But, before anyone gets all “power to women” on me, I wasn’t the one that did the actual cooking. That’s what mothers in law are for.

    I like free stuff. Donate it to me and shut up.

  40. elasticwaistbandlady says:

    I’ve met a few ladies who could potentially make lots and lots of homemade potholders……the silicone kind.

  41. elasticwaistbandlady says:

    Oh, and I made 6 babies. Shouldn’t that absolve me from making anything else?

  42. OMSH says:

    I commented that I really could have used a box of tampons. And I think that if Tampax visits next year, they should pay BOSSY to do her absorption test, complete with food dye.

    I wouldn’t even mind if the Keeper was there, because I have a bone to pick with them.

  43. Redneck Mommy says:

    Was that what that strange square item, with the ring attached was? A pot holder?

    Hmm…maybe I should try um, holding a pot. My kids might like it.

    But my husband, he would be confused. He’d think I suffered an injury. He associates me with a pizza box and I think the potholder may cause him mental stress…

  44. jenB says:

    Aigh! I would have killed for a sewing kit.