This essay is written in response to my first attempt at defining Feminist Scrapbooking about a year ago.
What is Feminist Scrapbooking? That’s a still a great question — and I absolutely certain that there isn’t one answer. Feminist scrapbooking, just like real-world feminism, is a little bit different for each one of us. We come from different places, we occupy different spaces, and as such, our scrapbooking reflects the world in which we, as individuals, exist.
But for me, right now in 2016, feminist scrapbooking is about scrapbooking my stories and my adventures through the lens of me. It’s about being present in my memory-keeping. It’s about scrapbooking my life as a woman, in my home, with my work, documenting the stories of today, the themes of my right now life, and some pop culture and current events to ground my story in a greater worldly context.
I am a post-modernist. I believe that definitions of things are fluid.
My favorite part of scrapbooking is the storytelling. I love that I can sit there and create a replica of one my favorite moments; whether they’re everyday stories or bigger adventures. I like telling stories and I love being a storyteller.
It’s important that everyone knows they have the power to be their own storyteller. You are allowed to tell your story in any which way you want. I believe that you are a storyteller. No matter who else is in your story — kids, spouse, family, friends, pets, fictional characters, etc — when you’re telling the stories, you are a big part of the story. There is no omniscience narrator of life and scrapbook pages.
This is why I think it is SO important to document the right-now. Time has a way of creating filters on our stories without our even noticing it. Happy stories can become sad stories, simple events can get lost in context. When you’re documenting past events, you, as the storyteller are biased to all the history that has come along for you after that event. In some cases that can be an absolutely amazing tool, but it’s important to understand that there is an implicit bias in the passing of time and the experiences that come along with it.
Even when you’re documenting a past event. It’s still right-now scrapbooking.
As a woman, just telling your story is a radical act. The idea of putting yourself out there and taking up space in this world with your original thoughts and experiences is difficult, even brutal, at times. Taking the time to think about my stories and translating them into art with photographs and papers and art supplies isn’t easy. But honestly, I’m not really out there looking for easy hobbies, let alone easy passions.
I personally love telling my stories with pictures and pretty paper. Through scrapbooking, I continue everyday to learn more about the person I am, the person I’ve been, and the person I want to become. I’ve learned to notice and appreciate the things that I like, the things that I don’t like, and when those things change a little bit. It’s my creative introspective lens. The best part? I get to relive my favorite life stories, any time I want — it’s like Netflix for my life.
What is Feminist Scrapbooking for you?