Re: gender stereotypes (WAS Marketing question for the men on the list)
From: Beverly Jones Redekop (
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2017 11:51:21 -0700 (PDT)
I think this thread has gone a little sideways.

Yes, you could have a cohousing community that is 100% full of (say, for
example) white women in their forties. Yes, these people who are only white
and only women and only in their forties may well represent the full
spectrum of diversity in terms of who they are and what they like to do.
You certainly could get 40-something white women who want to be the
maintenance team and the caregiving team and who are very youthful and
zestful as well as very focussed on wisdom and slow process. This
homogenous group would have a heterogeneity of people who have a variety of
traits: tenderness, businessmindedness, sensitivity, creativity,
practicality, farsightedness, thoughtfulness, reliability, humility, etc...

Despite this glorious unstereotypical diversity, it would be a bit odd and
unwelcoming if all these otherwise diverse neighbours were white, female,
and in their forties. It feels nicer to live among people of more ages,
genders, and backgrounds, and I think it is thoughtful for communities to
be mindful of their missing demographics.

Because communities are demonstrating openness and vulnerability in
addressing what they lack, they may make clumsy or stereotypical guesses at
what the missing people would need to choose to join. Probably the missing
single men don't need a car workshop, probably the missing female children
don't need a ballet studio, and probably the missing queer women don't need
toaster oven storage...but initial awkward brainstorms do not invalidate
thoughtful and important questions.

Groundswell Cohousing at Yarrow Ecovillage in Yarrow, BC
60 adults and 41 children!

On Mon, Jul 17, 2017, 5:51 AM Margaret Porter <
margaret.porter [at]> wrote:

> 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 here.
>  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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> >
> >
> >
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