Is ceramics' stature affected by perceptions that it is a feminine medium?
In the case of pottery, I would say yes. I'm going to speaking in gross generalizations. While there are many men who collect and love pots, as a society we still hold on to the idea that the selection of dinnerware for the home is the woman's right or duty (depending on how you approach gender roles.) I've had to fight for my right to choose what goes into the kitchen cabinet.
Early in my education I perceived that male potters were more likely to be interested in form and female potters were often more interested in surface. Again, a gross generalization, but my perception nonetheless. In the last 18 years I have noticed a diversification of interests in both directions. The Santa Fe Clay shows at NCECA this year and last year were both full of pots whose maker embraced both form and surface.
I hope producers keep moving in this direction, and I hope male consumers become more involved in homemaking...and become interested in handmade ceramics.