Monday, April 16, 2012

Men's Sheds: "outdated, laughable sexism"?

While we're wholehearted supporters of the Men's Sheds movement which is gaining pace around the world, it's interesting to hear another point of view. In the Taranaki Daily News, Rachel Stewart makes her case against the establishment of men's sheds in New Zealand (but by extension in other countries as well) in a very forceful manner asking herself: "Is it the outdated, laughable sexism that bothers me or the sheer effrontery?" Here's a snippet:
"Bottom line, the thing that really sticks in my craw is the fact that men, particularly white ones, are seldom aware of just how easy their life really is, and has been, by sheer virtue of the fact that they have dangly bits. The world has been their oyster but yet some of them still want their subsidised man cave to hole up in. Poor babies... Where am I going with this? Well, rather than ask the public to help fund older male wants versus needs, the very few men wanting this shed could always go out and volunteer face-to-face with the public. That would really assist with their sense of wellbeing and get them out of the house - a constant refrain of the Men's Shed."
Do have a look at the rest of the article and then let us know what you think in the comments below. -------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  1. I suspect that the issue is that if resources are limited then supporting one organisation could be to the detriment of other organisations. However I'm sure a bunch of old chaps once they get together can give something back to their community. I think there is a place for gender specific groups, for example the Women's Institute and Soroptomists have demonstrated that it works well.

  2. Luckily for women, not all men are "laughably" sexist. Luckily for men, not all women are like Ms Stewart.

  3. I believe the sign above says 'All Welcome' so not sure what she is on about. Any social group which creates community can only be good. If we looked after each other as we used to, then govt costs are likely to decrease - in fact, this may be the only way forward for all western governments which are now, essentially bankrupt.

  4. I have seen a lot of this recently. Even a linked in debate about man sheds or husband rooms sparked sexism rows. I think it's just in the genes for males, even as children we loved to build dens and hideouts. Now we adults and have real life responsibilities does this desire no longer exist. If think not, of course we still want that den, but instead of a tree house we want a 50" tv on the wall with sky sports. Although the general debate suggests we are ignoring a females need for a shed or den, this is not true, it's just fact that as garden room builders, we build more rooms for male dens than we do women. Why is that?

    1. Anonymous4:07 PM

      Social conditioning from birth.

  5. Anonymous2:35 PM

    My Sis co-ordinates the local Women's Centre and supports my quest to establish the same thing for Men in the area-a "Shed" will be the male equivalent of the Women's Centre-the article is patronizing and blatantly sexist-I thought we had moved on from this posturing in the 21st century.

  6. In Tasmania the Men's Shed movement is about mentoring and community, here's a link to a radio interview I heard on local radio

  7. Anonymous1:09 PM

    I'm not sure what ticks me off about this quotation.

    Is it the outdated, laughable sexism that bothers me or the sheer effrontery?

  8. Lu Farnsworth1:06 PM

    What the hell is she going on about? There are more groups just for women than you can shake a stick at and just like the other comment...who's the sexist one here? Is she a bit of a manhater or what? I'm a woman and I promote equality for all in my work which is supporting the most disadvantaged into learning and employment. Men historically don't participate as much as women and there are many with mental health problems who don't know how to get out of their ruts. This project is great and I would love to start one where I live in the UK.

  9. I want to learn about tools. I'm not eligible to join a mens shed (not having a y-chromosome) - is there a M&W or W equivalent?

  10. Anita, check with your local mens shed groups as some do welcome differently chromosomed members.