Yassification and the Future of Craft
Is the idea of "yassifying craft" a productive conversation?
In today's lesson in popular culture, "yassifying" refers to beautifying something, typically something that is heteronormative.
It also refers to formatting a photograph's subject to the extreme in terms of Facetune editing; this is a type of automated photo editing that you can do with an app on your phone.
Pejoratively, "yassification" has been used negatively against the practices of Facetuning, and, the term has created some controversy due to how rude it feels toward gay people; however, slowly, it is being acknowledged as a more neutral, popular slang term-- a verb without all the connotations, like "craft" (ha).
In terms of my own orientation, I'm heteronormative and cisgender (denoting a person whose sense of personal identity and gender corresponds with their birth sex); I am very much a "he/him"-- to the extent that some guy in the grocery store recently said to me, "Hey. What's up, white guy?", as he passed me on the way to the beer cooler. I laughed because it is true-- I was putting several bottles of Perrier into my shopping cart.
The Problem with Words
We all know all too well that words often have multiple meanings and, I'm not absolutely sure that "yassified" has completely positive connotations-- perhaps a third-person perspective could help clarify this.
What's clear to me is that if you don't know for sure, it's always a good idea to ask someone who is part of the nonbinary community; they can usually help clear things up because the limitations of language are something they often have lots of experience with.
Perhaps, more speculatively, "yassifying" is the process of turning something lackluster or subpar into something great!
Maybe, it is the relentless quest to turn your plain or mediocre life into something that is creative and artful! It is a drive that fuels the fires of ambition. Perhaps, it is the drive to bring imagination to life-- at the very least, this approach yields a more positive outlook.
Paying attention to language
The lesson here is the importance of language and the very clear reality that our knowledge of such matters should adjust over time. Craft has come a long way over the last ten to fifteen years and, in some ways, it has retreated and become stuck.
In the coming weeks, I will explain further what my experience with all this has been.
It is clear to me, that in a positive sense, there have been vigorous critiques of the art and design canons that have highlighted their lack of diversity in the representation of class, race, and gender and, this has yielded a more conscious view.
But, more nimble vocabulary is still needed because there are discourses that remain separate— I see all this as an active push-pull but, from my perspective, it feels like the craft community has retreated back into itself over the last decade and, in this process, it has, quite intentionally, cut itself off from any outside dialogue and critique; the language feels very controlled.
All this is problematic for many reasons.
If "yassification" is, in fact, the process of creating something that turns something lackluster or subpar into something great, then the prospect of “yassifying craft” is a great starting conversation to have.
I welcome your comments— expect more from me soon!