Friday, December 9, 2011
Fine art vs. craft
I had to cut this from a paper because it was too tangential, but I also wanted to hold onto it. So hooray for copy/paste!
From my perspective, the bias of fine art against craft has its roots in patriarchy as well as the women’s liberation movement. In the 1950’s, the acceptance of the idea of a certain kind of domesticity as a path to personal fulfillment proved extremely harmful to the psychological health of many women. However, the feminist movement reacted by saying, “Domesticity is bad and boring. Let us into the club of things men do, those things are interesting and fulfilling.” I, however, would draw a different conclusion: that fulfillment does not come from playing the role that’s expected of you, but from from making right choices for oneself. In many ways, the role that men were expected to play in the 1950’s, that of careerist and breadwinner, has become the expectation for all individuals, instead of being rejected as a limiting and repressive aspect of our society. Indeed, the chauvinism of the 1950’s has been preserved in the idea that “masculine” fields—academia, law, business—are the fields that make the best use of a person’s intelligence, while things that women were “allowed” to do are almost uniformly a waste of human potential. In other words, put down the repressive needle and pick up the liberating paint brush!