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Black Men Who Scrapbook


So, I wanted to put this out there for everyone to see: hobbies don’t belong to people. Hobbies are pastimes that anyone may pick up at any time. When women game, they are not “invading” a male space. A.) Women have always been gaming. B.) People are allowed to express an interest in an activity whenever they damn well feel like it.

Though I am not a gamer, I admit to gritting my teeth whenever I see the charge that gaming is a “male space.” No, nuh-uh.  Nein. Women have always gamed. When I was a kid, my friends and I were obsessed with arcades. We killed space invaders, we gobbled ghosts, we played pinball. I was playing Atari when most gamergaters were just a glimmer in some dude’s eyes. I rescued the princess a million times. (That’s Nintendo, I know, dipshits–I had it.) And even when gaming did legitimately start catering almost exclusively to guys, women were still there, still playing (if in fewer numbers). So women haven’t invaded anything. Let’s just establish that as FACT right now.

But let’s say we *had* “invaded?” SO WHAT? Who the hell cares when a person decides to try out a new hobby? I’ve always wanted to scrapbook. I don’t ‘cuz I don’t have the time, but it’s always looked like a buttload of fun to me, a great way to get people who aren’t necessarily artists to express their creativity.

If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that most scrapbookers are white women–it’s just a guess. I’d even go so far as to say that someone who scrapbooks is pretty likely to use Pinterest. Fair enough? Now, say, for some reason a bunch of black dudes took an interest in scrapbooking and started using Pinterest to get inspiration. Here’s the thing: if I’m a white woman and I don’t like that? I can fuck right off–the hobby/site doesn’t belong to me. Scrapbooking suppliers are allowed to cater to a larger client base and Pinterest will inevitably look more like its changing demographics. In this brave new world, scrapbooking suppliers are allowed to make cool stickers and stencils and what have you that black dudes like. What won’t be allowed is whining like a pissbaby because the hobby changes slightly to look more like its participants.


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  • greennotGreen

    My first degree is in Sociology, and if I had stayed in that field, I would have liked to study avocations. What people do for work, they may love, they may not, but they usually need the paycheck. What they do for fun is often where their real passion lies.

    I sewed when I was younger and then returned to it decades later. Since I’ve started spending time in fabric stores again, I rarely go to one when there aren’t men shopping for themselves, although it’s still mostly women. Why should women be threatened by that?

    Why should anyone be threatened by someone else sharing an interest with them?

    • sparks

      I knew a truck driver who knitted for relaxation. He got quite good at it.

      • tsam

        I knew a dude who knitted. Knitted a blanket for his baby daughter. He told me about it, expecting “oh you’re a girl!”. Of course I said, “that’s cool, man. Make me a beer cozy, bro.”

        People do what they do, and like our queen says, hobbies belong to no one. Encouragement is the way to handle that.

        • Aimai

          Knitting was very much a male occupation in some places/times–knitting nets and then knitting sweaters. See also “Knitting with Balls.”

          • Lee Rudolph

            I think I’ve mentioned before that my father, while being a Horse Marine in Central America during the Second Nicaraguan Campaign, did quite a lot of crocheting in his spare time. Alas, none of his work survived by the time my mother died (30 years after he did) and I cleared out their house; I wouldn’t be surprised if she simply threw it away.

        • Katya

          My great-uncle knitted blankets for all his nieces and nephews. Absolutely no one batted an eye. I still have the blanket.

  • Nobdy

    What you don’t address here, BPspencer, is the scientific research that shows that cooties can cause serious interference in all kinds of complex electronics, from HAM radios to personal computers with advanced videocards. While an individual male can be immunized from cooties (the cooties shot remains among the least controversial of vaccines) it is impossible to shield the electronics in the same way, and once the cooties get inside them they are functionally ruined. Not only that, but cooties can also transmit themselves through fiberoptic and other communication networks and infect other machines on the network, even wirelessly, so just being on the same network as a female exposes your machine to dangerous levels of cooties.

    This is the same reason that women shouldn’t work in computer engineering, they’re just flat out dangerous for the equipment.

    The true answer is that most ‘gamers’ don’t mind and even like when women get into games. The hostile environment, which definitely exist, is caused by a combination of factors including A) 12 year olds who are, of course, incredibly immature B) Misfits and antisocials who sink into gaming because it is a hobby you can engage in by yourself, and hate women because they desire and are rejected by women and C) Guys who like women but are overeager and think that any girl who likes games would also like them, like like them like them, and become angry and bitter when this is not the case.

    Now in terms of why women joining gaming is threatening to some of these guys, it’s because they fear that women gamers will be catered to (because they perceive society as catering to women in general, these are the same guys who get really mad at ladies night at their local bar) and that the types of games they like will be censored or no longer made. Is this stupid? It is no more stupid than my cooties argument above!

    • libarbarian

      Don’t waste your time. The liberal feminists on the site are totally silent on the e-cooties epidemic. They can’t handle the fact that the existence and spread of the e-cooties completely DEBUNKS feminism and EXPOSES their entire hypocritical worldview, which in turn utterly DESTROYS it!

      As for women in gaming … what the feminists don’t like to say is that the harassment goes both ways. I logged on to play a little COD:AW yesterday and was immediately swarmed with GamerGirls telling me “Cock or GTFO!!!”. I felt so unsafe that I got off and went to play Candy Crush hoping it would help me relax. But it wasn’t long before I noticed that a lot of the candies I was crushing were shaped suspiciously like testicles. That’s when I knew they had infiltrated even that formerly safe space.

      Now I’m just depressed.

  • tsam

    One of my hobbies is playing guitar in bands. I think every person should learn the basics of at least one musical instrument. If women want to do it too, I GUESS that’s ok with me. But don’t take away my safe space.

    • Lee Rudolph

      If women want to do it too, I GUESS that’s ok with me.

      But if they’re all playing instruments, where will you get the CHICK SINGERS???

  • Malaclypse
    • gertrudesays

      Love Scalzi–hadn’t seen that one!

      I outrank you as Speaker for the Geeks.

      You are overruled.

      Your entire piece is thrown out as condescending, entitled, oblivious, sexist and obnoxious.


      Who gets to be a geek?

      Anyone who wants to be, any way they want to be one.


      • Malaclypse

        My favorite takeaway:

        Many people believe geekdom is defined by a love of a thing, but I think — and my experience of geekdom bears on this thinking — that the true sign of a geek is a delight in sharing a thing. It’s the major difference between a geek and a hipster, you know: When a hipster sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “Oh, crap, now the wrong people like the thing I love.” When a geek sees someone else grooving on the thing they love, their reaction is to say “ZOMG YOU LOVE WHAT I LOVE COME WITH ME AND LET US LOVE IT TOGETHER.”

        Gamergate as failed hipsterdom.

        • Aimai

          Very interesting–I have found that love of bringing new people into a field in sewing/quilting and gardening and now (at least from reading about it) pickling. There was just a wonderful article about a local guy who is really into fermenting and pickling (kimchi, things like that) who basically has made a personal religion out of sharing the micro biome necessary to ferment stuff.

          • Rob in CT

            I’m that way with certain computer games (mention that you like empire-building and I’ll go off on an extended ode to Civilization IV), books, beer and, to a lesser extent, cooking.

            Now, there can be snobbery involved too. If you sincerely assert that your favorite beer is Coors Light, the best I will be able to muster is “hey, to each his/her own.” But give me a glimmer of hope that you might be open to the sorts of things I like, and I’ll be rattling off various beers I think you might like, talking about hops, etc.

            During the ongoing Golden Age of American Brewing, I have never once thought “aw, shit, all these poseurs are ruining things!” On the contrary! More people liking good beer means more good beer! I love this. It’s not always great for my waistline, but we all have our crosses to bear…

          • Hogan

            OT: made me think of this.

            • sibusisodan

              Glad it wasn’t just me.

        • FridayNext

          I saw this when it was first posted and loved it. My only reservation is that too often there is a very thin, if existent, line between




          I can have fun with the first one. I have little patience with the second.

      • I think a corollary to this is what I call “instructive snobbery.” Like if I really dig something, I wanna explain to someone in a not-condescending why I dig it…so they can dig it with me!

        • gertrudesays

          Yes, though … hmmm ‘snobbery’ is more off-putting than I imagine you mean (but I don’t know!). I know people whose excitement about a thing, and excitement in explaining that thing, is contagious enough to make me want to know more about it even though it’s a thing I would not otherwise, and not afterward either, ever in my lifetime seriously be interested in.
          ETA: Like, say, scrapbooking. Though I’m now interested in the book Aimai mentioned below.

        • tsam

          That’s not snobbery, though. Snobbery would be a sincere thought that you are better than this other person because you drink subjectively better wine or whatever.

          Big difference between an eye roll and “hey, if you like that, give this a try”

  • TribalistMeathead

    Have you watched this season’s L&O:SVU Gamergate ep? Highly recommended. Even includes Ice-T growling THERE ARE NO RESET BUTTONS IN REAL LIFE!

    • tsam

      TELL ME he put on shades and The Who screamed YEEEEAAAAAHHHHH in the background.

      I’ll be really depressed if you don’t.

      • TribalistMeathead

        Unfortunately, no.

        I am discovering that there’s a separate category of Great L&O:SVU Lines Spoken By Ice-t: Great Lines Spoken By Ice-T When Ice-T Is Acting As Audience Surrogate.

  • Murc

    The whole “safe male space” thing is an attempt by GG’ers to appropriate language and terms they have a laughable understanding of.

    • tsam

      It has a connotation of being a shelter from abuse, which makes it all the more insidious and disingenuous. Those GGers are born fucking losers for sure.

    • Yup.

  • Aimai

    Actually, she said stepping out from behind a nearby sign, black men did scrapbook. Back at the origins of scrapbooking. I’ve alluded to this book before but I’ll recommend it again “Writing With Scissors” by Ellen Gruber. This is an amazing book, one of the best books I’ve ever read on any subject. The author covers the period Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance and studies the history and use of the scrapbook by both white and black Americans during and after the Civil War.

    Scrapbooking was a natural part of public life as speakers and political figures like Lincoln, Fredrick Douglass, and a famous black woman whose name I am unable to recall at the moment, all kept scrapbooks of their appearances and speeches. Both men and women also kept scrapbooks in order to fix important events and serve as an aide memoire for local or national events which might later need to be used in an essay or protest.

    Specifically black men, who in the cases she studied worked as janitors in New York Buildings, had easy access to newspapers and other ephemera which they diligently scrapbooked in order to create a kind of history not of themselves or their families but of black life and existence where it appeared in newspapers.

    • Actually, she said stepping out from behind a nearby sign, black men did scrapbook. Back at the origins of scrapbooking. I’ve alluded to this book before but I’ll recommend it again “Writing With Scissors” by Ellen Gruber.

      I’ll be damned.

      • Aimai

        Oh, I hope not.

  • TribalistMeathead

    It’s possible I knew this beforehand, knowing many geeks in life, but man, was the point ever driven home that geeks can be as insular and mean-spirited as any other group when I watched The King of Kong.

    • FridayNext

      A) That is an awesome movie and deserves wider circulation and discussion.

      B) I learned this lesson when I went to my first “Con.” I was 12-ish. It was the late 70’s and was more of a book, comic book, collectable swap in my hometown, but it was a big deal to me. I remember being laughed at about how to pronounce “Legolas.” Since then I have been condescended to by one gatekeeper after another about host of details both profound and trivial. (I know Endor is a moon, I just slipped and called it a planet!) I think of those times whenever I get the urge to go to another Con and I just read another book instead.

  • 4jkb4ia

    I am using this vaguely relevant post to express my disgust that some of the Gamergaters seem to be interested in helping the Sad Puppies slate and if there are enough of them the Hugos will probably collapse into worse acrimony than last year.

    (I agree that the Hugos are broken. But Sad Puppies is not the cure for what ails them.) (You have to be Larry Correia to think that for Best Novel you have to choose between Angsty Message Fic A and Angsty Message Fic B. Neither Redshirts nor Among Others was anything of the sort.)

  • 4jkb4ia

    And I just realized that I was writing about invading a space, which usually belonged to no more than 2000 Hugo voters. I suppose the idea is that when a space is homogeneous, it is a space to express gender or whatever other category. Once different people come into the space, they don’t necessarily invade but they change the space. They may still have enjoyment of that thing but they also have the right to have the space express category of choice as well.

  • Excellent rant, bspen….

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