December 01, 2011

On Crafting Stereotypes

As you probably guessed, this blog entry has nothing to do with stereotyping of the racial sort.  It as everything to do with gendered arena of stereotyping, particularly, what is considered women's arts and men's.  I am uncomfortable with the word, "crafter," as in, "I am a crafter; I engage in arts and crafts."  For me, the word conjures strange feelings of inadequacy, mediocrity, and intermediate-level artistry.  According to society, anyone could be a crafter...if they are female because arts and crafts are (unfortunately) considered female terrain.  What about men who create things?  Isn't that the definition of a "crafter"...a creator of sorts?

I am comfortable when the suffix is dropped from the word "crafter": its proverbial tail--the nervous ending--is severed, whisked away, and out of sight.  Someone who engages in a craft is an enthusiast, a learner of the arts over time.  Someone who has "perfected their craft" or who "engages in a craft," and enjoys what they do.  And this person, who engages in a craft, has a non-gendered connotation.  This person is not expected to be a female or a male, for that matter.  Maybe this is why I am cautious around the "crafter," while all-embracing of the "craft."

But I have not yet perfected my craft, and am wary of being defined as a crafter.  I even have an overly-healthy dose of humility over the use of the term, "artist."  "Starving artist" is even worse.

With these strange, semi-philosophical moments of questioning come a slight moment of off-kilter clarity as I laugh at myself over the use of word connotation, stereotypes, and suffix-dropping as an attempt to make everything fit nice and pretty into clear-cut categories.  Or maybe I am attempting to tear apart these categories in order to understand them better.  The water is murky on this side of the Pacific.

***

When it comes to crafting stereotypes, I prefer and try my utmost hardest not to fall into the trap of stereotyping others.  But it happens, to my disdain.  This leads me to ask: Why are we so caught up with appearance?  This person looks nice, so they must be nice.  Not always.  We categorize to make sense of the world, but what if we just felt the world--using all our senses--rather than running the images we see through our brains, relying on our biased intellect to help guide the way?

2 comments:

GoHeyJudy said...

LOL. Whenever someone calls me a crafter I look at them perplexedly and say, "I make dolls."

EmeraldCut said...

I am so happy that someone understands what I mean! Marketing, creating, generating ideas...equals more than just crafting.