Glass Ceilings: How I Find My Voice Through Craftivism

Glass Ceilings: How I Find My Voice Through Craftivism

Last year, the phrase, “shattering the glass ceiling” became more relevant than ever before. If we hadn’t included it in the lexicon of our daily thoughts before, suddenly it was there. This was not a bad thing, because this glass ceiling seemed to be on the brink of breaking. Our awareness of this was accompanied by that shimmery quality that precedes momentous success after fruitful exertion. The hour had finally come to break through the semi-invisible barrier that had prevented women in America from getting to the top. We were ready. We were confident. It was time. And we all know the rest of that story…so far…Because that particular glass ceiling is still intact, the metaphor remains in place, too…for now…The relevance of the metaphor could actually be expanded. In addition to the blatant sexism that prohibits gender equality, we could all start to identify glass ceilings as the challenges that prevent equality for all Americans. Barriers that oppress on the basis of race, religion, socioeconomic factors and sexual orientation are glass ceilings also, and often not all that transparent. They are increasingly more distinct and prevalent as the current government digs in, scraping the bottom with lows that we thought had been left behind long ago. So that’s the bad news, in a nutshell. But the good news is that there is light on the other side, and it shines through in the power of our collective voice. It is our voice and our efforts that will succeed in breaking the glass ceilings that divide society, that fragment populations, that maintain the good old boy status quo.

So the glass ceiling may not have been shattered, but it is deeply cracked. Seriously fractured. And that is the beginning of its end. Now is the time to express and protest; the time, as individuals, to add our voices to the wedge of the collective chorus, so that the sound of shattering glass will someday, and soon, reverberate around us. We can do this in little and big ways. Just staying aware of current situations is a good start. Regular calls to governmental representatives are important. Giving support to relevant organizations goes a long way, and joining protest marches makes a strong statement, while refueling constructive energies.

In my day to day as a self-employed, work-at-home-alone craft jeweler, I vacillate at times between diving into the lows of disbelief, and determining how I can be proactive in enacting change. It is through the latter approach that I find myself channeling my dismay into craftivism, which is, for me, the intersection of work and conviction. It is from this place that I have made earrings that represent the cracked, starting-to-fall, glass ceilings. I thought long and hard about how to manifest these earrings, and, as is often the case, the answer presented itself unexpectedly one day. (I am now using this same technique to explore another interest; bioluminescence in nature.) I have come to believe that keeping reminders of what is important at hand, or on body, reaffirms its significance, and also spreads the message in subtle and maybe-less-so ways. And in the spirit of craftivism, I donate 10% of the price of earrings sold to the ACLU, whose mission is to obliterate that same discrimination that is embodied in the glass ceiling. May it shatter and fall forever.

Originally published at on May 5, 2017.

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