I’ve cared about stuff pretty much my whole life, but I was compelled to start this site – this movement – because lately I’ve found myself increasingly angry.
I get angry when I hear minimalists say that stuff doesn’t matter. I get mad when I read Pinterest dismissed as trivial. I get frustrated when I see good people made to feel guilty because they have a desire to make (or own) things.
But I wasn’t quite sure why I was so angry.
And today I figured it out.
It starts with what I feel is a trivialization and marginalization of a whole gender. And it comes down to the meaning of a life.
As I was working on my graduate thesis, I read an amazing book called As Long as It’s Pink: The Sexual Politics of Taste. This book became the basis for my entire project, and it still influences my thinking to this day. And as I work to champion the value of stuff, I find myself turning to it more and more.
In the book, author Penny Sparke goes through the history of modern culture to examine how certain domestic activities first became associated with feminine culture and then became trivialized and marginalized. She shows how many of the stigmas we have about what is “real work” and what is “valuable” came to be and persist to this day.
And that is part of the reason I’m so angry. I see attacks on stuff (and on sites that help us share images of stuff, like Pinterest) as just another in a long line of attacks against certain activities that have come to be viewed predominantly as feminine.
Ultimately, I see them as attacks on some of the things I hold most dear.
I’m not the world’s best cook. And my house is usually a mess. But I’m a maker. And someone who sees the value in the creation of visual culture and personal style. And I’m willing to fight to make people see that value.
I’m frustrated by the trivialization of so much of what I value in life.
And I’m angry because I see this trivialization as a direct affront to the life of an incredible person, my mother.
My mother passed away in March of this year after a 2 1/2 year battle with ovarian cancer. And like so many people, this experience led me to examine what was valuable in my life.
My mother was an artist. A painter. A crafter.
She spent my entire life making things.
And more importantly, she spent my entire life helping me understand the importance of stuff.
In the month that she died, I visited twelve different museums in three different countries. As I was reflecting on what mattered to me, I viewed these visits not as random, but as a testament to just how much I value stuff. These trips were just some of the many times that I went out in search of inspiring objects. To be in the presence of amazing stuff. To connect with it. And that desire to connect with stuff, that was instilled in me by my mother.
And now that my mom is gone, what’s left is her stuff. Stuff that she made. Stuff that she collected. Stuff that she valued.
And more importantly, stuff that helps me connect to her. Stuff that I will eventually share with my own (not yet born) children to help them connect to their grandmother.
And I REFUSE to believe that this stuff doesn’t matter.
And I REFUSE to see a life of making and collecting and loving be trivialized by anyone because they don’t understand. Because it’s not the life they chose.
This may be what frustrates me the most.
Isn’t there space for all of us to value whatever it is we value? Why can’t I value stuff and you value travel, or leisure time, or whatever it is you value? Why is your way better than my way?
One way isn’t better than another. They are just different.
Just because your way is different than mine doesn’t mean it deserves to be dismissed or trivialized.
Just because something isn’t right for you, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable.
And I refuse to stand for it anymore.