Look. Craft is fine. I have no animosity toward the women of the CWA (an acronym I am reclaiming as Cunts With Attitude but more of that in a later Blog). These women are now rather elderly and are of a generation that was generally denied educational and professional opportunities and choices. They are ostensibly members of an agrarian working class – they had to work in order to ensure that their farms were successful and that their children were clothed and fed. Craft for these women was both a practical pursuit and a creative outlet.
Craft has historically – and cross culturally – enabled women to create objects of meaning and beauty in addition to practical items. Women –historically excluded from the mechanisms by which great art has been produced – have turned to the domestic arts of tapestry, weaving, lace and dress making.
The resurgence of ‘craft’ among the white female bourgeoisie of the West is of itself not necessarily concerning. But I have found in my experience that the keenest ‘re-claimers’ of craft often gather in all female groups where they delude themselves that somehow their knitting circle is actually contributing toward the advancement of women. It’s not. And the reason it’s not is that they are producing objects of no material, cultural or political value. Does knitting a scarf raise the minimum wage for working class women? No. Does crocheting squares (for a rug that will never eventuate) combat domestic violence or result in legal reforms to provide greater protection to vulnerable women? No. Does yarn bombing a tree actually increase the availability of affordable housing for single parents? No.
Women created craft in the past from necessity or because of the restrictions placed on their options for expression. Wealthy and university educated women are creating ‘craft’ in organised groups because they want attention and validation. Deeply neurotic, they are desperate for the continued validation they have received since their birth into privilege. Validation that is compromised by their lack of visibility as Stay At Home Mothers.
Many of these women promote their ‘craft’ with a shrill narcissism that I find alarming. They hawk their mediocre products to all and sundry – and promote it as ‘fabulous’ despite it being extraordinarily average and impractical. Look at me – I’ve got a market stall where I crotchet cupcakes! I’ve hand sewn a twee apron that will fall apart after several washes! I love my life!
And wouldn’t it – just wouldn’t it – be more beneficial for the white middle class women that dominate our social media and impose their diabolical offerings to us at every market opportunity – to use their (state funded) tertiary education to GET A MEANINGFUL JOB? One that actually enabled social, technological or economic change. One that mattered to society.
But whether the market stall and online shop is financially viable is of no consequence. Wealthy hubby will fund the gap (he works so hard!!). Whether these feeble offerings make money is irrelevant. They are a hobby. And hobbies are nice. But they are not an act of feminist empowerment. Not ever.