Re: gender stereotypes (WAS Marketing question for the men on the list)
From: Margaret Porter (
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2017 11:15:22 -0700 (PDT)
Thanks, Eris, for so eloquently expressing your objection to the stereotyping 
of “how men are” and “how women are.” I could not agree more. None of us should 
be pigeonholed in that way, particularly if we are trying to live in community 
together. I think it is not only wrong but destructive of community to decide 
what a person is like based on the color of their skin or gender or sexual 
preference or race or economic status or any other of the myriad ways in which 
people are stereotyped. Whether someone is a good community member certainly 
depends in part on life experience. It also seems to me that we naturally more 
easily develop relationships with people who have similar life experiences, 
whether that may be a preference for sports or gardening or building projects 
or hiking or music or art or mediation. And those preferences can show up in 
the choices of whom we hang out with and how we participate in community. But I 
don’t think those preferences should determine the people with whom we choose 
to be in community.

 I think it’s often very hard to know whether a given person will be a good fit 
in a community. Moreover, a person’s participation and contributions will 
evolve over time.  I agree with you that the best we can do is be clear about 
the vision and values for our community—the human characteristics we want in 
the people we try to live with, and then keep looking for those qualities in 
the people who may want to live in our community or who have chosen to live 

 My experience of the people in my community is that the tendency to chose left 
-brain activities or construction work or caring for others is not dependent on 
their gender.  I know men here who will spend hours fixing something for 
another community member without expectation of reward or take another to the 
emergency room at all hours of the day and night or spend hours trying to sort 
out the best way to compassionately respond to a difficult situation in our 
community.  I know women who have a preference for analytical thinking, problem 
solving and strenuous physical activity who might also consistently reach out 
to a community member in need. Moreover, we need all kinds of 
contributions—from developing budgets to caring for our gardens to fixing our 
buildings to being a compassionate listener. A healthy community thrives on the 
diverse gifts of its members. Our challenge in community is, I think, to look 
for ways to deepen our relationships and contributions.  Judging or 
stereotyping anyone, even based on how they have lived is, in my opinion, not 
only arrogant but antithetical to community.

Margaret Porter
Silver Sage Village 
> On Jul 12, 2017, at 7:16 AM, Eris Weaver <eris [at]> wrote:
> Umm, what century are we in, folks? As a feminist and a Lesbian who has
> often straddled the gender divide, I am finding this whole conversation a
> bit disturbing. Anytime you start talking about wanting more people from one
> group or fewer from another it starts to smack of discrimination to me.
> 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 (as
> I don't fit the "woman" box is so many ways). Why do you want more men? Or
> fewer women? What's that gonna do for you? Nobody wants to be recruited to
> fill a quota. 
> 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.
> Eris Weaver
> FrogSong cohousing in Cotati, CA
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