April 6, 2007, - 2:52 pm
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:
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.
Tags: actor, agricultural researcher, al-Qaeda, America, archivist ", Atlanta, Axiom Automotive, Brendan Fraser, Brett Ratner, Canada, car-parts maker, Chief Executive, consultant, Craft & Hobby Association, Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Palmer, Debbie Schlussel Readers, Design store owner, die-cutting scrapbook tools, director, football, Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg Croppin, Hobby Lobby, Mark Twain, Mike Blanc, Mike Cargill, Mormon Church, Nascar, Nebraska, New Orleans, Newcomb College Center for Research, North Carolina, Oakland, Patrick Piette, Phoenix, product manager, Riverton, Rodney King, Savannah, scrapbook historian and archivist, Seattle, Shelli Gardner, soccer, Stampin, Stephen Webb, Susan Tucker, Thomas Jefferson, Tiffany Adams, Toronto, Tulane, Tulane University in New Orleans, USD, Utah, Wall Street Journal