Rebel Scrapbooking Mama
posted by Amy
If you've ever found yourself at a Creative Memories party feeling like the "one of these things that's not like the others" as you struggle to make something you actually like, rather than a clone of the perfect pages being shown to you by the sales consultant (Pages you too can make, perfectly! Just spend $200 on tools and paper, and it's a breeze! Oh. Am I revealing my bias here?), you might enjoy reading this post, via Clutter Museum, about scrapbooking and feminism.
In which I get all intellectual on scrapbooking's ass: Some time ago, Fantastic Adviser taught a course on corporate cultures, and she had a Creative Memories consultant come to her class as an illustration of how direct selling organizations work. In planning for this event, Adviser shared with me her desire to at some point write up her thoughts on scrapbooking, and as I sat at the scrapbooking party, Fantastic Adviser's brainstormings came rushing back: that because scrapbooking calls on women to crop, place, and embellish family photos, the whole exercise is really about giving women a sense of control over their families. Through this process of photo mounting and journaling, they can frame their families in any way they wish, and highlight--or even fabricate--those roles they feel they themselves should be playing as mother, sister, daughter, or aunt.
My questions, then, are these: In what ways does scrapbooking empower women as members of their families and of a larger community of women who scrapbook? And in what ways does it reinforce traditional women's roles or circumscribe opportunities for more creative expression? What is the role of the consultant? Is her influence a limiting or liberating one? And what does being a consultant for Creative Memories mean to the women who sign up? (Of course, as an academic, I'm tempted to sign on to get a sense of the experience, but the dissertation must come first.)