Author Archives: Stephanie

About Stephanie

Shooter of arrows, constant opinionator. Never over it.

geekiness and the reimaging of craft

I’ve recently gotten back in to cross stitching, after a twelve year break. The first thing I tried was this Firefox pattern from Radical Cross-stitch. It was not too difficult, and a good nerdy way to start.

firefox cross stitch

I have high aspirations, though. I’m really interested in gaming type cross stitches; in particular I love this cross stitch Zelda map.

My latest project is a stitching of the Melbourne tram map. I’m stitching it without a pattern, and hoping for the best, really. You may remember the London tube cross stitch. It’ll be like that, only more yellow.

There’s been a resurgence, or a growth I guess, of ‘radical’ or reinterpreted craft. No flowers and doggies and quotes from the bible, it’s all breasts and vulvas and expletives undeleted. This reimaging of craft as a feminist radical endeavour is fun and interesting, and lots of crafters talk about empowerment, but the majority of this radical craft is Western-based (I don’t have stats or references for this claim, just from what I see as I cruise around the crafting blogs, but if you’ve found a stash of non-Western-based craft blogs then hand them over), very knitting and cross-stitch focussed, and incredibly time consuming. It seems almost class-based, which I suppose is inevitable – it took me a month to do that Firefox, who has time for that, you know? So there are lots of questions for me about the feminist empowerment of this craft movement, and the appropriateness of talking about it in these terms.

I am new to the world of radical crafting, though, and am very interested to hear the thoughts of others in this area.

half hearted ethnicity in toys: japan barbie + ken

This post was originally published at 天高皇企鹅远.

There are some new Barbies doing the rounds, and they’re amazing:

barbie and ken in 'japanese style' costumes, looking mostly space age

I don’t even know what’s going on here. This toy website tells says that Japan Ken wears ‘Japanese-styled clothing and a samurai-inspired sword.’ Japan Ken, if you are Japanese, why is your clothing Japanese “styled” and your sword samuri “inspired”?

A (former doll collecting) commenter in this Racialicious post comments that apparently Mattel intentionally went with a futuristic look, which I am totally in to. I would love to know more about futuristic Ken and Barbie in a world clearly at some point heavily Japanese-influenced – but then why are they Japan Ken and Barbie?

There is definitely a whole lot of fetishisation and exotification in here, and not that I want to be all ‘hey Asian skin doesn’t look like that’ because there are light-skinned Japanese people, but I feel like it is not going out on a limb to say that those Barbies, if they were sans their Japanese-style future clothes, would look awfully Caucasian.

Just like all the others to come before (except for Geisha Barbie and Chinese New Year Barbie, of course, who were no less exotified but at least…kinda looked Asian?).

I am totally in to the idea of ethnically diverse Barbies (though I have many Barbie-related issues), but this fake ‘oh it’ll do’ is not it.