Makers Vs Crafters – Gender bias in Maker Culture

Makers Vs Crafters

At a Buzzconf 2017, a family-friendly technology festival where participants and presenters spend the weekend together in country Victoria, Australia Gil Poznanski presented a talk entitled “How Maker culture will shape the future of tomorrow”

During the questions and answer section of the presentation, Gil was asked about his thoughts and feelings about the gender bias within Maker culture, specifically, the gender pros being used about such labels as Makers Vs Crafters.

Gil thoughts were clearly expressed, about the dangers of division within the Maker community damaging the community as a whole. Using a past Makers Monday interviewee Barbie the Welder as an example, Gil was able to show how challenging gender definitions is not only creating a new path within the wider community, it is essential to the future of Maker culture and human evolution.

Gil Poznanski talks on a large range of topics, and more information can be found here.


Transcript: Makers Vs Crafters

Question: I was wondering how you felt about, um, the current debate going on between the gendered term over whether maker was a gendered term and if crafter and makers are the same?

Gil: I don’t like seeing the division between maker and crafter between the sexes within the making community and culture is to me it seems to be kind of like these boundaries that are just holding us back.

I remember making the comment, and I totally understand why I got the reaction,  that we were going through the possibilities and categories in making, saying you can you can make electronics, you can make 3D printing,  you could make with wood, you can make and I went… You can cook to make. And some people went “Ahhhhhhhh”  you can’t say that and it’s like, you know what, I cook and that’s one of the most expressive things that I can do but because there’s so much loaded stuff around it that immediately people just assumed that it was like a gender bias thing.

I see that same thing with Crafter and Maker like it doesn’t need to be in gender bias no male or female but craft the maker. If you express yourself through creativity I don’t care if you do it on a computer, we do with your hand we do cerebral, you are a Maker. 

I had this whole conversation with some people about Makers Monday. People are like – I’m a writer I’m not a Maker. Absolutely you are. You know it’s not just electronics or woodworking that is Maker Culture, it’s the ability to take a workflow and hone it to a point you don’t have to worry about the workflow you now expressing yourself.

I get challenged by this all the time people don’t go no, no, no, no, you’re not a Maker, or you’re a crafter, there are groups, and again I’m all for being able to really support people who I’m not familiar or comfortable within the traditional kind of maker crafts, because let’s be honest about it if you were a woodworker or you were a metal worker all it’s a very male traditionally male-dominated space.

This week the maker who was on (Makers Monday), no, it’ll be Monday but the last week,  was a woman called Barbie the welder and Barb is in America and she welds and she makes metal sculptures and she’s a full-time metal fabricator. In the interview, she said the reason I got into this was I was watching the movie and… I think it was Castaway…  and there’s I think there’s a scene there where people were welding full sized angels and she-she said that spoke to her soul, I had to do it. I’m like you know how many female welders do we know in the world? She’s cutting an incredible path because other people seeing it and saying “Why can’t I do it too?”

I think we kind of step back and just enable everyone to create in their own way without labels.  If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a software engineer, create something that people to interface with. Or express whatever you want to express.  We don’t have much time on this planet, we need to leave our mark and again like I was saying before, you don’t have to be the be all and end all. create something that maybe someone else will be able to take and iterate.

I don’t have all the answers in view but you know what together we probably go a lot further than we could buy ourselves.

Makers Vs Crafters – Talk at Buzzconf 20187