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Ovary Funny: Womens' Rights Project Hopes to Have Members of Congress In Stitches

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, March 30 2012

Calling itself "Government Free VJJ," a group started by three women after a conversation on Twitter is hosting an organizing initiative asking women to knit — or crochet! — a uterus for each man in Congress, so lawmakers will leave the reproductive organs of living, breathing, non-woolen American women alone.

The idea grew out of a Twitter conversation between three knitting-enthusiast women related to the uproar over Rush Limbaugh's comments about Georgetown Law Student Sandra Fluke, according to co-organizer Susan Santos.

She is helping to organize the initiative along with her friend Donna Druchunas, both of whom live in Colorado and have been working on a knitting book together.

"Right now we've had over 100 that have either been knitted or crocheted and are already sent or are about to go out," Santos said.

They have been asking those participating in the campaign to fill in an online form listing their state and their addressees. The group devoted to the campaign on Ravelry, a website for knitting enthusiasts, has 800 members, she said. A Facebook group has nearly 700 members, and the Twitter feed that launched in early March has 359 followers, while the group's creators also e-mailed out a press release.

The project, she said, shows that "you can be creative but you don't have to be mean."

"You can sit in your home and work on this and feel like you are affecting change," she added.

The campaign's website also collects news articles about proposed legislation surrounding women's health issues across the country, in addition to knitting instructions and pattern suggestions.

Santos said she herself had hand-delivered a knitted uterus to Sen. Michael Bennet's (D-Colo.) office to thank him for his support of women's issues, and an aide told her it would be personally given to him.

"It's not just liberal Democrats who've latched on to it," she said. "A lot of people who have responded list themselves as independents. I think that's a positive sign that this isn't just a one political party issue."

This seems to be just the latest example of how new networks are making it easier to become politically active, by meeting like-minded people online and quickly deciding what to do.

"Even 10 years ago I don't think that we would have gotten this much attention and would have grown this quickly without social media," Santos said.

Ravelry, which boasts around two million members over all, has had a group for off-topic conversation that has sometimes included political debate. But, to her knowledge, she said, this is the first time that members of the group have come together to send out hand-knit items with a political agenda.

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