There are a number of geeky creative communities which overlap in the maker/craft/DIY space:
The term "Make" and "Maker" are closely connected to Make magazine and the Maker Faires held in various locations. Typical "Make" projects are focussed on the sorts of activities that are mostly considered masculine: robotics, electronics, casemods, steampunk, legos, etc.
The term "craft" is more commonly used for activities that are considered feminine, such as textile arts (knitting, crochet, sewing), homemaking (baking, home decoration), and child-related crafts (toys, baby gifts). The online communities around these crafts skew female. They include:
The DIY community seems to tend towards practical projects, often domestic in nature. One of the most popular websites in this category is Instructables.
Gendered nature of make/craft communities Edit
The "make" and "craft" communities are strongly gendered male and female respectively; this split is (intentionally?) strengthened by the publisher of Make magazine and CRAFT magazine (note: it is the same publisher), which clearly segregate the type of projects, the gender of project creators/participants, and the gender of reporters.
At the time of writing, the front page of Make magazine's blog had 20 articles by 7 bloggers (6 male, 1 female). Topics covered included: solar power, wind powered cars, robotics, Arduino hacking, Android OS, mobile devices, electronics, LEGO, "smart home" systems, weaponry, a Star Wars fan video, a spinning wheel made out of a cardboard box, and a mermaid tail costume (the only project made by a female -- the daughter of one of the bloggers).
Conversely, the front page of Craft magazine's blog had 20 articles by 4 bloggers (all female). Topics covered include: party games, portraits made out of jello shots, a science demonstration for children, meditation pillows, making and refashioning clothing, handbags, shoes, baby quilts, jewelry, baking, a bag for your Kindle, toys, textile art, and cute housewares. Of the projects shown, two (the Bill Cosby portrait made out of Jello Shots, and the cute stuffed cat toy) were made by men.
Livejournal user gchick comments on a post about Cory Doctorow saying:
- "I have other incoherent thoughts about the whole Maker thing, and how it privileges making stuff that's been privileged as geekboy toys all along -- lego and steampunk, anyone? -- while ignoring the kind of self-sufficiency that's traditionally been coded female, and that's been going on all along. Unless it's a cake or knitting pattern or quilt that happens to take the shape of an eight-bit video game character, that is."