An online knitting and crochet platform has banned patterns for MAGA hats. Could this be an example of craftivism?
Donald Trump, we learned this week, has now extended his clammy tentacles into the traditionally sedate world of handmade woollens. The online knitting and crochet platform Ravelry banned patterns for MAGA hats and other pro-Trump creations that, it said, promote white supremacy. Could this be an example of what is known as craftivism: the use of crafts to advance a political agenda?
Craftivism is a portmanteau of craft and activism, like the more familiar hacktivism (politically engaged computer hacking) and slacktivism (supporting a cause in a way that involves minimal effort, simply to parade ones virtue). The political sense of activism itself is first recorded in 1915 with the specific meaning of supporting Germany during the first world war, before it happily widened to describe any kind of political agitation.
Some craftivists, perhaps, are not immune from backtivism, short for pat-yourself-on-the-backtivism, a sneering name for the act of declaring that one is now woke to some issue. And while craftivism might seem among the least persuasive of such constructions, it has been around since at least 2005. To the extent that writing itself is a craft, lets hope it sticks around a while longer.