Re: gender stereotypes
From: Tiffany Lee Brown (
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2017 14:33:23 -0700 (PDT)
it's kind of tough: marketing relies on categorizing people into often unfair 
and ridiculous clumps in order to get results. gender provides a fabulous 
shortcut way to talk about that. 

but i agree that this discussion has perpetuated stereotypes in a very 
het-cis-privileged-dominant-etc way.

if one is thinking, "We need to appeal to men more," a good question to ask 
might be, "Why do I feel that our co-housing community needs more people who 
happen to identify as men?" if you're thinking, "We need more hard workers with 
creative, hands-on skills," then show off that workshop and your space will 
appeal to those workshoppy folks -- whether they skew male, female, XXY, trans, 
neither, or Other.

to get my family interested, your brochure would have a dedicated yoga space 
(for the male-born, masculine-identifying husband) and an art-and-books-making 
studio (for the male-born, mostly masculine-identifying son). the only one of 
us likely to see a shop photo and go, "Oooooh! Can't wait to get my hands on 
that!" would be me, the female-born, mostly-female-identifying wife. and i 
would be hoping for a space where all genders felt comfortable working, and, 
notably, where learning could happen. my husband and i are both pretty crappy 
with maintenance and power tools. for us, the suggestion of a workshop where 
you could take classes or learn from experienced people would be meaningful.

if "shop" is just code for "man cave", as some of the posts here have 
suggested, then maybe there is a whole other gender-oriented discussion to 
have. is the perception that men (or "most men") are reluctant to live in a 
community that doesn't have a men-only space? if that is being offered up, 
should there also be a women-only space? will there be limits on how people 
identify, gender-wise? will your community have a separate space for trans and 
questioning folks?

(who honestly shouldn't even be posting here! we have given up on community 
co-housing fantasies for the time being, and are presently closing on a house. 
a normal, one-family, boring ol' stick-built house. hoping to slide up a couple 
tiny houses for extended family and work studios.)

> On Jul 12, 2017, at 1:23 PM, Tom Smyth <tom [at]> wrote:
>>> ....Anytime people start talking about "how men are" versus "how women
>> are" I
>>> want to scream as I've spent most of my life fighting these stereotypes
>> ...
>>> Be clear about your values & vision and market that. It's more important
>>> that you attract people who resonate with those than getting some
>> arbitrary
>>> percentages based on gender/race/socioeconomic status/whatever.
> -- 
> Tom Smyth
> Worker-Owner, Sassafras Tech Collective
> Specializing in innovative, usable tech for social change
> · @sassafrastech
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.