Thursday, January 31, 2008

Whose sisterhood is it anyway?

In my last post, I mentioned coming across a rather negative online discussion of a crochet pattern. I said I had no problem with that, and I want to elaborate on why, because I think it's an important issue. And because I feel like ranting.

I've said in the past that there seems to be an attitude in the yarnosphere of "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." To a certain extent, I think that's a lovely idea. After all, what can really be gained from snarking on a brand-new crocheter's first lumpy finished object? Nothing. It just leads to hurt feelings, and I can see how in a worst-case scenario it could turn someone off the fiber arts and/or blogging. We all have made projects that didn't turn out like they were supposed to -- that's why Ravelry has UGHs! Saying someone is smelly and fat just for shits and giggles may fly on some parts of teh intarwubz -- that's the main reason I've never started an NBA blog. But it isn't acceptable in the yarnosphere, and I think that's a good thing.

However, I am extremely skeptical of people -- who often also happen to be designers -- who carry on about how fiber artists shouldn't say anything bad about anyone or anything because fiber arts are a "sisterhood." If you are going to put a pattern out there and charge people money for it, then you should know that people will discuss it, up to and including "OMG this pattern sucks I cannot believe anyone would have the gall to charge money for this." If designers cannot deal with this, then IMNSHO, designers should not charge for their patterns. Or at least should not go looking for criticism and then get bent out of shape about it (I know, easier said than done, but there's a reason they tell the American Idol contestants not to go on the message boards). As for designers who rely on the "sisterhood" claim to avoid criticism, all I want to know is, if fiber arts are such a sisterhood, then why are you trying to make a buck off your sisters?

5 comments:

Diane said...

Oh I hear you on this subject. I'm knitting a free pattern, got it on that big R place, and I hate the instructions. I keep thinking I shouldn't complain, it was free, but I hate it (the pattern that is, not the knitted item). I may or may not make a comment about this when I post it in my finished objects, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but the pattern is written terribly.

Kim said...

Preach it, sister!

Anne said...

hear hear! I would rather have someone tell me if my pattern doesn't work. If my feelings get hurt, well, I should probably make better patterns!

Tracie said...

I agree. I would much much rather hear that "Hey, your pattern? It sucks" than go on blissfully believing that it's going to be good. Now, I'd much rather have constructive criticism on it, but I'll take whatever feedback I can get. I actually tell my testers to feel free to tell me that it sucks, doesn't make sense, turned out ugly, whatever. :)

Carpenoctem said...

Yeah. I don't understand the big deal. Some things are more beautiful graceful or easy than others. Saying so shouldn't be a crime. One can be respectful and still say, 'that doesn't really look good'. I think it's because most people nowadays have to emotionalize everything. If they hear a criticism they see it as a personal attack and a blow to their self-esteem. Critiquing work is one of helping a person improve, and it can be done from a loving place.