11 July 2009

Etsy.com peddles a false feminist fantasy

This article argues that Etsy.com - the ebay-style site for people to buy and sell handmade crafts - has become a women's ghetto, full of hobbyists making little or no money from the site.

The proportion of male sellers on Etsy is less than 4% - smaller than in nursing.

"I think for many women the site holds out the hope of successfully combining meaningful work with motherhood in a way that more high-powered careers in the law, business, or sciences seldom allow. In other words, what Etsy is really peddling isn’t only handicrafts, but also the feminist promise that you can have a family and create hip arts and crafts from home during flexible, reasonable hours while still having a respectable, fulfilling, and remunerative career. The problem is that on Etsy, as in much of life, the promise is a fantasy. There’s little evidence that most sellers on the site make much money. This, I suspect, explains the absence of men. They are immune to the allure of this fantasy. They have evaluated the site on purely economic terms and found it wanting."