On gender and value in craft and blogging
Two posts from a recent Abby Glassenberg newsletter, read in parallel, serve as interesting footnotes on recent discussions of knitblogs. (And btw are you reading Abby's newsletter? You should! She serves up worthwhile links and meaty thoughts on craft entrepreneurship, among other things. And her sewn stuffie patterns are ridiculously great.)
Presented without comment (but with emphasis added), because I spent a week trying to write proper commentary, and just when I'd finally succeeded, the internet ate the entire post.
From Benjamin G Wilson on the Etsy blog (previously published in Mollie Makes):
In short, knitting is seen as women’s work because it doesn’t pay anything. Back when knitting was a commercially important activity, as it was in 15th-century Paris or 18th-century England, men knitted prodigiously. However, they dropped out when the world ceased to pay. This kind of misogyny still lingers on today in subtle ways. Carpenters, for example, aren’t asked to carve tiny chairs for smoothie bottles. Knitting for charity remains a fixture of craft culture largely because women are expected to work for free.
Making money from my blog still feels weird. Part of that weirdness stems from the fact that the vast majority of sewing blogs I follow don’t monetize. We are one of the last “pure” bastions of the web; we’re not blogging because we want to be famous or get free stuff or get sent on fancy trips. We do it because we love sewing, and we love talking about sewing. And when money enters into that love affair, it can feel compromising. It can feel like selling out.
But here’s the thing, at least for me: what we do, how we think, and who we are, has value.
And as counterpoint, we have this (the spread is from this book, in case you're wondering):