‘#DifferenceMakesUs’: Selling Shakespeare Online (and the Commerce Platform Etsy)
The mission statement of the online creative commerce platform Etsy declares its commitment to “using the power of business to strengthen communities and empower people”. Among the many handmade and vintage items sold on Etsy are 3,811 items quoting Helena’s description of Hermia from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (“and though she be but little, she is fierce”). This journal paper will examine the relationship between Shakespeare and the predominantly female crafts people who operate through platforms such as these as well as Shakespeare’s own depiction of female craft and handcrafted items. It seeks to explore the processes at work in Shakespeare-inspired merchandise and the relationship they claim to the play texts they adapt. The paper will continue by situating ‘female’ oriented creative work within the current political climate and exploring both the possibilities and limitations of craft as a vehicle for political resistance.
Keywords: Feminism • Women • Handcraft • Neoliberalism • Sewing • Shakespeare • Adaptation