Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sara Mosle: Clueless Anti-Feminist

It was bound to happen. Somebody was going to find a way to piss all over Etsy and label it "feminism". There are so many holes in this article, it might be better posted on Safeway.com as "swiss cheese".

Why am I so annoyed? Obviously, I fit the suggested demographic of the article's primary "argument". But unlike the author, I believe my choice to be a stay-at-home-mom is a perfectly valid option that doesn't violate feminist principles. I've been to college, I've traveled and lived abroad. My husband didn't tell me to stay home with the kid. He'd tell you he'd switch with me any day of the week. And his ego isn't so fragile that my making a better income would destroy his self-image. I certainly don't have an investment-banker father that expects a proper capitalist offspring to tout the ways of money. I'm an uber-liberal who believes that feminism is about the ability to make your own choices. Being pigeon-holed by a rich bitch who's big worry is her next book deal pisses me right the hell off.

Okay, so I'm ranting.

It seems a bit anti-feminist to me to suggest that men would "have evaluated the [Etsy] site on purely economic terms and found it wanting" while women could be lulled into believing they can gain meaningful income from hobbying. As many yarn dyers can tell you, their Etsy sites are nothing like a hobby. The concept that women can't evaluate pro's and con's on sheer economic merit is a numbing mind-fuck of false stereotyping being perpetuated by somebody who values money over thoughtful content.

Nothing about Etsy promises that if you sell your wares through them, you'll be magically transported to a world free of toil and unfairness. No, that belief fits more clearly into post-modern feminist canon than anywhere else. A high-power career is the only gateway to enlightenment? You've just lost me entirely. Work ethic, not sensationalism, is the ethic that enables me to reap the unique benefits of listing on Etsy.

I should probably apologize for the personal attacks on Ms. Mosle's character. I might, later. I would really have appreciated a little more of a two-sided perspective, you know, a couple good interviews with Etsy shop owners or something. But in digging around the internet on Sara Mosle, I find only things that support the idea that this woman knows nothing about real work. I can't devalue her choices in motherhood - they are her choices to make. I wish she could return that view.

3 comments:

Anne Kaelber said...

Rant on, my friend! You are preaching to the choir, in my house. :) I'm also college-educated and was originally home-by-choice (these days fibro has taken the choice from me, unfortunately!). I truly believe choice is the center of feminism. I tend to avoid anything with a feminist label because my opinion is usally the minority! Anne.

Mel said...

Check it out.

I'm not the only one who spoke up and called Sara on her crap. Of course, the author of the above link was much nicer than I.

Monika said...

Hey I just read your post and I think you're missing the point of Sara Mosle's article. She's not making personal attacks at women who are trying to make a living on Etsy, or staying at home with kids, or both. Nor is she calling you - or anyone else, a dupe. She's arguing that Etsy offers false promises for women, period. She illustrates her point with the number of women who *are* able to make a living on Etsy, also a recent NYT article highlights how difficult it is to make a decent living: http://www.nytimes.com/pages/style/index.html
Feminism isn't just about choice, but broadly, equality. In this way, Etsy doesn't offer equality, just the illusion of a superwoman who is creative and earning money and being a great mom. Is this really possible there? And as a woman, then, consider the case of the single mom who needed to make a living and rather than selling handmade crafts out of her kitchen, she sold words. As a freelance writer myself I think the allure of the "freelance writer" has a similar fantasy of a diy biz, I think; anyway she found it was exceedingly difficult. Then changed her name to James and business came rolling in
http://www.salon.com/life/broadsheet/feature/2009/12/14/male_pseudonyms/index.html
Pointing out Etsy's fantasy not about being feminist or anti-feminist - these lables are so heavy they seem worthless - but if you consider equality between men and women equality an issue then what Sara's article, as well as the case of James, just shows is there is a long way to go.