April 6, 2007, - 2:52 pm

Girlie-Man Nation: Men & Scrapbooking (“Man Books”)

By Debbie Schlussel
Readers of this site know that I document the frequent attempts in America to feminize America’s men and blur the genders.
Today’s Wall Street Journal has a hilarious (though it wasn’t meant to be funny) article about how the scrapbooking industry is trying to appeal to men to shore up its sagging (in many ways) female customer base. In case you didn’t know, scrapbooking is a Rosie O’Donnell hobby (not mentioned in the article, but it is illustrative of scrapbooking–it ain’t for real men). They’re calling it a “man book” instead of a scrapbook in order to euphemize and sanitize it for men. Ain’t gonna work.
Best part of the article, “Wanted: A Few Good Men (With Scissors),” hands down:

scrapbookingformen.jpg

Scrapbooking For Men?

Mike Cargill, a product manager for car-parts maker Axiom Automotive in Phoenix, says he enjoys sitting down with his 10-year-old daughter and flipping through the scrapbooks his wife makes, but he’s not about to start laying out new pages. “Working in the automotive industry, you’re never going to see me walk into work with a scrapbook under my arm,” Mr. Cargill says. “I would probably have to cash in my Man Card.”

Right on, Mike. Also:

“Men have got to have a place in this hobby,” says Shelli Gardner, chief executive of Stampin’ Up in Riverton, Utah. “They may not be begging for it, but we need them.”

Uh, no they don’t. And no, you don’t. If you don’t believe me that the women’s and scrapbooking industry’s are deliberately and aggressively attempting to get men to become “more sensitive,” wimpy, and girly, this says it all:

For some men, the emotions are easier to embrace than the crafting world.

I can just hear Rodney King: Can’t we all just scrapbook, er . . . “man book” along?
I learned from the Journal article that:
* Actor Brendan Fraser and director Brett Ratner are girlie-men–they scrapbook, er . . . “man book.”
* Canadian men are more girlie-manish than American ones, with a lot more of them scrapbooking. (FYI, actor Fraser is a Canadian, which the article doesn’t note.)
* Scrapbooking started with the Mormon Church, and most scrapbooking suppliers are in Utah.
* Thank Heaven for small favors: Women generally ban men from “scrapbooking” weekends, so they can openly talk about sex. Hey, where’re the ACLU and the DoJ Civil Rights attorneys? FYI, if you’re a man who goes on a “scrapbooking” weekend, you’re really not a man.
* Scrapbooking is the domain of the feminist movement. Women’s studies departments at universities have the most BS academic position I’ve ever heard of: “scrapbook historian and archivist.” Hello, they are books with stickers and ribbons and pictures of ugly babies and when Susie skinned her knee.
Suddenly, this is the stuff of “history” and “archives”? Apparently so. Susan Tucker is the “scrapbook historian and archivist” at Newcomb College Center for Research on Women at Tulane University in New Orleans. Attention Tulane alums: your alma mater doesn’t need your donations, as it apparently has money to burn on womens’ scrapbook historians.
* Scrapbook feminists are trying to claim that some of America’s great men–Thomas Jefferson and Mark Twain–were scrapbookers. I don’t think so. Jefferson had volumes of “commonplace books,” quotations, letters, event programs and pressed flowers. Not sure about the flowers thing, but the rest doesn’t sound the same as putting stickers, lace and ribbons in books at chick paties. Twain is even more of a stretch. He pasted reviews of his writing into books. Again, not the same.
Some other interesting and funny excerpts from the piece:

With an armful of keepsake photos, $300 worth of colored paper and a leather album, a would-be scrapbooker recently headed to a Friday night class hoping for practical tips on assembling a memory book.
But once Stephen Webb stepped into the “crop party” at a store in Savannah, Ga., his courage faltered. “It’s all these young soccer moms sitting around, giggling,” says the 27-year-old firefighter in Atlanta. All he wanted was to organize five baskets of baby photos, shots of him playing for his state championship high-school football team and snaps of his life at Station 8. He spent the next two hours sitting with 15 women at long tables overflowing with frilly paper, packages of ornate stickers and neat piles of photos. “It was just really awkward,” he says. . . .
With sales tailing off, the industry has a new plan: Get a few of the nation’s 138 million men to pick up a pair of zigzag scissors.
This year, direct-seller Stampin’ Up rolled out scrapbook goods aimed at men, including papers that look like rusty tractors and weathered barn doors and $17 stamp sets of lifelike deer and war medals. David Palmer, a Seattle consultant for scrapbook heavyweight Creative Memories, organizes scrapbooking events for single fathers and a few years ago started selling his $89 die-cutting scrapbook tools at home-improvement conventions. Even the sister of Nascar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. created a line of macho merchandise, called Speed Scrap Design, in 2004. Supplies range from a $2.49 pack of lug-nut stickers to papers dotted with wrenches, checkered flags or mugs of foaming beer.

Just ‘cuz her bro is in NASCAR, doesn’t mean her hobby is for men or “macho” in any way.

The marketing push is finding a few takers. Just over one million men made scrapbooks in their spare time last year, according to the Craft & Hobby Association. . . .
But for men, the decision to “scrap” can be fraught with complications. . . . Few want to be caught hanging out in a craft store. . . .
The campaign is achieving some success [DS: In CANADA!]. In Toronto, Scrapbooks by Design store owner Patrick Piette says 18% of his shoppers are now men, up from “zero” three years ago. (Bachelor-themed books made by the best man are newly popular gifts for grooms, he says.) Mr. Palmer, the Seattle scrapbook pro, has a roster of 80 male scrapbook clients, up from 12 three years ago. He encourages men to try embellishment-free layouts with darker papers, and recommends handwritten captions to tell stories. Can’t come up with the right words? He tells them to paste favorite song lyrics. . . .
Meanwhile, women aren’t uniformly thrilled by the scrapping-man movement. Men are still largely banned from the country’s 20-odd scrapbook retreats — where women gather for catered meals, manicures and lots of “cropping” — because those retreats typically sleep six to a bedroom and have communal bathrooms. And groups like the 30 women who gather regularly as the Fort Bragg Croppin’ Mamas of Fort Bragg, N.C., worry that their conversational camaraderie will suffer if men join in. “The women wouldn’t talk about sex if there was a man around,” says Tiffany Adams, a Croppin’ Mama. “And we’d need a new name.” . . .
At first the guys at the station called me Hobby Lobby,” Mr. Webb says, referring to the chain of craft stores. “But everything I’ve done — all the hard work — it’s in these books.” . . .
Some men have an altogether different word for their newfound hobby: romantic. After Mike Blanc got divorced a few years ago, the agricultural researcher from Oakland, Neb., sifted through photo negatives and decided to create a scrapbook featuring only him with his seven children. His search for supplies and help reconnected him to his high-school sweetheart, who happened to sell scrapbook goods. Two years ago, the couple married, and now they occasionally scrap on “date night” Wednesdays, he says. “It’s a real aphrodisiac.”

Aw . . . . Sure it is.
Men and scrapbooking. Al-Qaeda and the rest of the world are training their men to destroy us and we’re training our men to . . . be women.

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15 Responses

If there is nothing wrong with men having a diary to write in with then what would be the problem with men owning a scrapbook? I have to admit it is a bit pathetic but then again we do happen to live in a transgender society where men can be househusbands and women can assume the role as breadwinners. If women can mudwrestle then why can’t men get manicures?

Jew Chick on April 6, 2007 at 4:59 pm

Reminds me of the revival of knitting circles, including efforts to make it trendy for men to take it up. (There are web sites about this.)
Of oourse things like keeping a journal are essential personal and intellectual efforts. But this “softening” of the age-old practice is revolting.
GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE. I THOUGHT OF THE MEN’S KNITTING CIRCLES WHEN I READ THIS.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

Jeremiah on April 6, 2007 at 5:42 pm

I don’t know what to think about this. I was divorced 15 years ago. I missed most of my first born sons life because of it. When my ex wife gave a a huge box of old photos showing him at the age of 0 to four I made a, so called, scrap book. Its all I have of his early life. Anyone who thinks I am a girly man because of this doesn’t know me. I made one book about a part of my life that I was excluded from. Since when does a man having an emotion or two equal him being feminized? As for going to a convention or some such, I think that is silly. Give the women the resources they need to be happy even if that does mean calling something a scrapbook retreat when its really just a sex chat. I dont understand why people have to have preconcieved notions about what defines a Man. At my daughters wedding reception I presented my wife with a photo album with every picture we had taken in ten years arranged in chronoligical order. It took me, and my sister, three days to do it. Does it make me a girly man if I want to do something that makes my wife cry with joy? One other thing. My anniversary is the same as my daughters. At the reception I was the only one who remembered that it was our anniversary. I made huge brownie points there. Does this make me a girly man?
DO YOU USE STICKERS AND RIBBON AND OTHER FRILLY THINGS TO SURROUND THE PHOTOS? I’D BET NOT, WHICH MAKES THIS NOT APPLICABLE TO YOU.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

Will on April 6, 2007 at 9:00 pm

“Supplies range from a $2.49 pack of lug-nut stickers to papers dotted with wrenches, checkered flags or mugs of foaming beer.”
But for a couple bucks more I can get a real beer.
But seriously, I get much more enjoyment out of using real wrenches on real lug nuts. There’s something about men that makes us prefer to fix things instead of decorate things.

louisvillaescusa on April 6, 2007 at 9:54 pm

louisvillaescusa said
But seriously, I get much more enjoyment out of using real wrenches on real lug nuts. There’s something about men that makes us prefer to fix things instead of decorate things.
That reminds of a pet peeve.
Why is it ok to give a man a socket set for christmas but give a woman a vacuum and you will die?

Will on April 7, 2007 at 12:39 am

As a man, I will never ever be a scrapbbooker, or whatever they’re called. You ladies want to make scrapbooks- knock yourselves out, but don’t hold your breath waiting for me to join your hobby.
In return, I will never insist that you share in the joys of The Oil Change or The Brake Job. In fact, I wouldn’t allow it.
I guess that makes me, in the eyes of some, one of those Neanderthals who thinks there are some things guys do, and some things girls do.
Caveman and proud.

Barry in CO on April 7, 2007 at 7:57 am

Debbie, I think you should make a scrapbook. It could be of illegal immigrants and Islamic terrorists. You could put frilly stickers and junk around them. And don’t forget that Mexican guy grabbing his crotch!

Dan on April 7, 2007 at 4:48 pm

I’m inclined to agree with the idea that scrapbooking isn’t exactly manly. There are exceptions.
I went to a Peter Beard show a few years ago and his scrapbooks are definately manly. They chronicle his African Safaris with fashion models, David Bowie (maybe not so manly), and local tribesman.
Several of them are bound in the skins of animals he shot himself.

chad Lott on April 8, 2007 at 2:27 pm

In 1926 Rudolf Valentino, at the height of his fame, went to see H.L.Mencken in New York and asked Mencken to be his “second” in a duel that he had challenged a prominent NYTimes reporter to.
What was the cause of the duel?
Well the reporter had gone to the toilet at the Algonquin a short while before and after washing his hands he had sprinkled on some Talcum Powder from a free dispenser in the toilet. The Talcum powder was PINK!
It being summer, and there being no other news around, our journalist friend had written a “Hot Air” puff-piece (plus ca change on Grub St.!) about the “effeminization of American men” as evidenced by the Pink Talc and believed that he knew the culprit–Rudolf Valentino–whose shimmying around with roses between his teeth was causing American manhood to lose its virility!
Valentino promptly challenged the man to a duel, and the man, a cowardly pressman without the courage of his convictions, refused to fight the “effeminate” star on the grounds that duelling was unlawful!
So little has changed in the attitudes and convictions of the hacks who work for the Times! They still insult their betters but beg off when called out!
THAT’S A FUNNY STORY, BUT I DON’T WORK FOR THE TIMES, AND THIS STORY IS FROM THE WALL ST. JOURNAL. AND PINK POWDER BEING THE ONLY AVAILABLE KIND IN A BATHROOM IS HARDLY THE SAME AS MARKETING TO AMERICA’S MEN TO MAKE THEM ENGAGE IN FEMININE AND WOMEN’S ACTIVITIES. STILL, THAT IS AN INTERESTING STORY YOU POST. WHAT WAS MENCKEN’S RESPONSE? I LOVE MENCKEN.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

eliXelx on April 8, 2007 at 7:49 pm

I am the Mike Cargill that you excerpted from the WSJ article on Men and Scrapbooking.
Your blog is hilarious and RIGHT ON THE MONEY. I must say that I found it pitiable and hilarious that the scrapbooking industry has tried to target me as a “new market”. I can understand men needing to connect to their kids, document hobbies, or single dads trying to find ways to build bridges to their daughters….but, seriously…SCRAPBOOKING???
I think I speak for the vast majority of men who are not “testicularly challenged” when I say that there is no way that I would be caught or “not-caught” dipping into any estrogen-laden hobbies anytime soon. It is the hazing of traditional boundaries that has caused men to stop being men. It may even be the reason why some women have started BECOMING men.
I can’t create an egg, and you can’t fertilize one. And from there the boundaries begin and should not end. Men did just fine existing in most ways (except for taking out the trash and wiping our feet on the doormat) until somebody decided our job was to be male but not manly. Testosterone is God’s gift to me and I will use it in judiciously massive doses until the day my creator ceases to find me amusing to Him.
Now I have to go start my motorcycle, hit the road, and scare some screams out of the effeminate male commuters in their hybrid SUV’s.

rapeller on April 10, 2007 at 5:39 pm

I probably could not find this more funny. Story, post, and comments alike. What a mess we’re getting ourselves into. Men need to be men if we’re going to be able to continue to stand up to the world-wide threats on America and the family. Feminizing our men– must be terrorists. Really smart ones.

Northampton House on July 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I completely disagree with the article. There is nothing inherently feminine or masculine about scrap-booking. Rather, it is whatever you make it to be. If it wasn’t for the hard societal expectations for ways men are to behave, there would be a considerable amount of men scrap booking. How this article is found to be amusing is quite baffling. It holds onto various stereotypes that contains each gender into a certain framework. Gender cannot be put in a box, just so much as people cannot be caged. Please let go of this ideological framework that inhibits the potential abilities of individuals and steers them on courses that are not in there best interests. If men want to scrap book, let them. If women want to be pilots, let them.

Joel on August 4, 2010 at 12:59 am

Haha! I don’t think that would ever work. There are very few men in this world that are even relatively interested scrapbooking.

Wedding Reception Utah on November 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Debbie,
You are entitled to your opinion, but I think you are rather ignorant. I don’t see a manual anywhere that says scrapbooking has a ‘gender’. How do you feel about women that work on cars, or other ‘traditionally masculine’ hobbies? Is it that you are so bitter and resentful towards men who are artistic because your husband/boyfriend came out as gay (a la Michelle Bachman… I bet you just LOVE her!) or are you just a closet carpet muncher?

Christophe on September 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm

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