Friday, 12 October 2007

exploitation, choice, artistic expression

Unlike many bloggers, I rarely enjoy the writing process. I struggle to translate my inner monologue into intelligible prose that meets my satisfaction. But now seems an appropriate time for me to make an effort to try and put some of my thoughts about current goings on in the blogosphere. I don't feel that I'm necessarily doing my thoughts justice as I get frustrated that I can't follow every thought through to some sort of logical conclusion, but this will have to do.

Three things today - they are related.

1. Until recently I'd never really given any thought to the political correctness or incorrectness of the new vogue of "pr0ns" such as Gastro-pr0n and, in the crafting world, "yarn-pr0n" and the newly-coined(?) "pinnie-pr0n". I thought that they seemed to be neat terms for what is perhaps a relatively new phenomena, or at least a relatively recently observed phenomena, of people gaining pleasure and enjoyment just from viewing beautiful pictures of food or yarn.

I'm not that fussed by pr0n - or so I thought. [I realise that some people view it as an exploitative industry, but I guess I make a distinction between the concept (whatever floats your boat) and the practitioners (consenting adults versus legal or illegal exploitation).] But a week or so ago, a Flickr member added me as a contact. When I looked at her profile (as you do when contacts are made) I discovered that she was a sock fetishist (in a sexual way) and was a member of various "adult only" sounding groups. Flickr warned me that her photos were beyond my comfort zone and so I didn't go any further. I toyed with the idea of blocking her so that she couldn't make any comments on my photos, but didn't. I can't stop her looking unless I make my photos private and I deliberately keep my photos relatively anonymous so that I'm happy for them to be out for all to see. I guess I just couldn't work out whether to be grossed out or just perplexed that anyone would be turned on by my pictures of hand-knitted socks. In the end I guess that it's not doing me any harm. If she starts leaving comments that I don't like then I will reconsider.

2. Jane from Yarnstorm is on the publicity trail for her book The Gentle Art of Domesticity. Pop over to her blog to catch up on the goss. She has received some negative reactions from women in the "mainstream" press.
"Women are back in the kitchen doing "women's stuff". How dare they put that pressure on the rest of us? How dare they create illusions of unattainable ideals? Oh the irony of the post-feminist generation taking up all these things that their mothers fought to be free of! "
Women judging women. Women criticizing women. Is this another feminist backlash? I don't think the men give a shit if we're icing cupcakes and knitting dishcloths or not. They'd enjoy the fruits of this craft when it is there, but they are highly unlikely to criticize their partner for not crocheting enough doilies for the house. So women are either doing this because they want to, or because they feel obligated by some "imposed ideal" or expectation put on them by other women. I'd like to think that we are liberated enough that it is the former, but perhaps the critics of Jane's book argue that nobody could possibly want to do these things unless it was under some "misguided" obligation. I guess they're just not interested in baking and knitting and it makes better radio or press-copy to play devil's advocate. The storm in a teacup of controversy will do no harm to Jane's sales as people who are not interested in the "gentle arts" were never going to buy the book in the first instance. I plan to buy a copy.

3. Jane is not the only blogger with a book deal that has arisen out of her online presence. I've noticed the odd instance of comments on other blogs such as "oh... not another blogger publishing a book". I say "good on them". They wouldn't get the deal if the publisher didn't think it was a financially worthwhile exercise. And I have a great of admiration for those with the application and the skill with words to write a whole book. I don't think it is an easy thing to do well.

That's my ramble done for now.


Rachael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachael said...

In Nursing we use a term "Horizontal Violence", I didn't think I'd ever need to use it in relation to a craft book, but it seems Jane is up against it, hey?
I now want to go and delate every p0rn reference form my blog/flickr/ravelry accounts!