RE: Gender differences and filters to joining
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 12:54:58 -0700 (MST)
Here is an example of where a perceived  gender difference had a potentially
noticeable  effect on a visitor to my community. I was giving a tour to a
couple over the  summer. She had asked several questions relating to what
the woman do, with an obvious note of disappointment that there were no
woman contractors. We toured the commonhouse and she noticed that months
dinner sign ups(and this might be common I don't pay attention) that ALL the
cooks that month were women. Coupled with a notice on the adjacent bulletin
board about some kids event which was organized by women. So she got a
pretty clear idea that woman's  roles in  our community are pretty
traditional and this was not what she wanted.

There is nothing to stop men from signing up to do children's events, or
women doing contracting work (one is doing this now for her own house, but
not by choice, more by circumstance I think). But it is not the normal
pattern here currently. And at least for one visitor, this was viewed as
dissatisfactory. I gathered from her comments that she wanted women to have
more non-traditional leadership roles. (The board leadership was all men at
that time as well). Of course women here lead the gardening efforts and the
children's events, but this is too traditional. Thus my comment about how a
strongly feministic woman might be filtered by such traditional gender

I don't know what this woman wanted exactly, but I took from her comments
that Sharingwood was too middle class normal for her. I take no offense at
such things, things are what they are and there are lots of other
communities  in the NW to choose from. But the experience  opened my eyes a
bit, as tourists often do, about things I  don't see.

Rob Sandelin
Community Works!

-----Original Message-----
From: cohousing-l [at]
[mailto:cohousing-l [at]]On Behalf Of lilbert [at]
Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2000 11:44 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: Gender differences and filters to joining

Rob wrote:

> These  things of course form filters for those that will join your
> later. So a strong feministic woman would probably not be comfortable
> looking at some of how our gender roles play here at Sharingwood. And this
> may tip such people away from considering  our community.
> Rob Sandelin

I have to disagree with you about "a strong feminist" Rob. I consider myself
an ardent feminist(Strong seems very loaded, Rob. Are you picturing a
masculine looking lesbian with big muscles? Would that bother you?), and I
believe there are good reasons why men and women gravitate toward gender
role stereotypes. Lots of genetics and social conditioning, to what degree
we'll always be able to argue. But the key to equality is valuing everyone's
contribution, regardless of gender roles. Only when "women's work" is valued
as highly as men's, will we see what the true breakdown along gender lines
should be, because jobs will attract those most suited to them regardless of

In a cohousing setting, this can simply mean having a list of chores for
people to choose from, as we do. People get credit for their work in equal
measure. That's all we "strong feminists" want. You don't have to sew to
prove your manhood or anything! ;)
Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, California

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.