Craft Me Visible

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Eddy, Deborah
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2020
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Abstract

Getting old affects women in different ways to men. Aging men become elder statesmen while aging women are exhorted to hold back aging at all costs. Everyone, young and old, needs to care about this discrimination that drives aging women to the margins making them invisible. As an older woman artist and researcher ageism is central to my feminist Craftivist (craft + activism) research and art. This paper addresses why aging women are not more vocal about ageist discrimination and stereotyping. Ageism ensures that the visual clues that mark a woman as aging such as grey hair and wrinkles are desperately covered up with dyes and creams rather than accepted with pride. Yet women who defiantly go grey find this small act liberating. While younger people might dismiss stereotyping aging people as detrimental they fail to realise that they too are aging. Research on ageism and feminist gerontology demonstrates the harm that discriminatory treatment has on aging women’s mental health and self-esteem. Feminist activist art has historically challenged patriarchal treatment of women and is well placed to educate young people and give a platform to women who are angry about ageism. Craftivist practices are thought to be occurring on the margins of society; however, artists are disseminating their work through marches and via social media making this art powerful. Activism generates discussions, forums and research and this can only help the fight against ageism. This will bring older women out from the margins and give them the visibility they deserve.

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Activism @ the Margins
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Visual arts
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Eddy, D, Craft Me Visible, 2020