Each Wednesday, I write a post from my dissertation.
There are aspects of the scrapbooking industry that really only work as long as the hobby remains the domain of women, and men remain marginalized. For example, scrapbook retreats involve communal bathrooms and shared sleeping quarters (Crow 2007). Even crops that do not require an overnight stay (i.e., in-store crops) are typically women’s only spaces (Crow 2007). At scrapbooking conventions, the assumption that men do not participate is such a given that men’s bathrooms are typically renamed women’s bathrooms for the duration of the convention. Despite scrapbooking’s reputation of being a women-only domain, approximately one million men completed a scrapbook in 2006 (Crow 2007).
Because crop attendees are primarily women, they are often called modern day quilting bees. (In contrast, they could be referred to as a barn-raising.) Industry workers comment that women’s participation in quilting bees in the past is a reason women are drawn to scrapbooking today—quilting bees and crops fill a need women seem to have that men do not. Not only do women get something tangible out of a crop (a finished scrapbook) or a quilting bee (a quilt), but according to one industry worker, these spaces give women the opportunity to complain about their husbands, their children, or their work. These “women’s only” spaces serve a purpose for women. Only one of the men respondents had actively attended crops. He talks about how he would be the only man at a crop among 500 women scrapbookers. What he finds is that women are especially interested in his scrapbooks because they wonder what exactly a man might scrapbook. He says:
I think they expect it to be like all hammers and screwdrivers and you know I have probably more ribbon than a lot of women have in their scrapbooks and I have flower embellishments and I based it on the layout and the event, not on my gender.
On the lack of men involved in the hobby, another respondent who is a man states:
It’s a shame that more men aren’t involved in the stories of their lives and maybe that’s just a syndrome of many men that aren’t involved in their stories of their lives as much as they should be, as much as they could be.
This respondent sees scrapbooking as a way to tell a story about your life and thinks more men should be scrapbooking. Moreover, he sees the lack of men scrapbooking as a symptom of men not being involved in their own lives.
Do you know men who scrapbook? Do they attend crops? Why do you think there are few men actively involved in scrapbooking (i.e., attending crops, blogging their layouts)? Comment below or join the conversation on facebook or twitter.
- The Family Album is Like a Resume for a Man
- Scrapbooking Gender
- Men and Women Scrapbooking
- The Scrapbook Industry Depends on Women Doing Gender
Crow, Kelly. 2007. “Wanted: A Few Good Men (With Scissors); As Scrapbook Sales Slow, Industry Woos Males; Lug-Nut Stickers, $2.49” The Wall Street Journal“, April 6. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
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