According to the Craft & Hobby Association, a year exists in the world’s timeline where just over a million men were scrapbooking. This may come as a surprise to those who expect scrapbooking and paper crafting to be fraught with lace, pink borders and other touches traditionally viewed as feminine. But, as with all other things, gender isn’t a prohibition from taking on a particular task and doing it in the ways that suit your personal preferences.
While a female firefighter may be less likely to hang the latest calendar girl on the wall in an effort to fit in with the guys, she can, no doubt, have a great career using her athleticism in the mode which most fits her passions. And, that is the difference: just because some people in a gender, ethnic group or in a particular socioeconomic background have traditionally dominated a particular activity, job or hobby- this doesn’t necessarily mean that should stay the case.
And, importantly, the markers of that particular group, in this case plenty of frills and subtle colors, are not permanent to the task at hand. People who look discouragingly at men using scrapbooking as a particular hobby that fulfills their needs, would unfortunately be on the side of history that negates a section of people from expanding themselves and the possibilities for all of us as a collective group.
If the Williams sister’s had stopped playing tennis simply because of those who objected, minorities who came afterward would have a completely different world to face. Gender equality in the world of professional tennis would also be miles behind where it is now.
If Tiger Woods had let his differences stop him from excelling in the activity which would provide a lifelong career and fulfillment, the world would be a little to a lot less more fulfilling for a lot of people who now explore the sport for personal happiness and the sport itself would not have advanced to the level that it is now. And that is a very important point; getting more perspectives and more contributions towards an activity, career or hobby naturally provides an expansion of that activity, career or hobby. After excelling through adversity, Tiger developed a mode of discipline and innovative strategies that would later become teaching strategies to improve the games of all types of people, including industry professionals. Excelling through challenges creates expansive opportunity for all races and genders and, in this case, is responsible for improving many golf games the world over.
As a second example: After fighting through racial inequality, the eldest of the Williams sisters saw no reason why she should bow to gender inequality either; She was the spearhead for improving women’s salaries in tennis. Because of her adversity, the history books can leave her name not only as a champion but also as the person responsible for the raise in women’s salaries in professional tennis, causing the eradication of one very public form of gender inequality on the international level that was maintained by what we’ve assumed are the advanced societies in the world.
Though the accomplishments of a man who contributes to the scrapbooking world may not have the Guinness World Record status (though this too is possible), that does not mean it will not be life changing, for that man and for the activity itself. There are many benefits to artistic expression. And no art form requires gender identification through the use of color or materials. There is a natural proclivity to certain attributes because of the ways we are gender identified and raised; we develop affinities for certain characteristics largely because of our culture’s perception of genders.
And we have lace in the scrapbooking world largely because of those associations, which in and of themselves are just fine- just not mandatory. As the once stringent nature of those subtle gender associations are currently breaking, more people find themselves able to express themselves in unlimited ways which benefit and heal. If the world needs more of something, it’s definitely people who are in touch with their emotions, their lessons and their healing. And that’s not a gift that should be gender exclusive.