One thing that has come up on occasion in my work with clients is the concept of a ‘mancave’. Obviously, it feels that only the affluent parts of society can afford to have a space that is limited to be used by the man of the house only. However, a ‘mancave’ can come in the shape of ‘the Shed’ or ‘the Garage’ (with capital letters). The term is indicative of a male space, where women won’t (or shan’t) go on threat of repercussions.
What is the image we conjure up of such spaces? No cleaning beyond the absolutely necessary. Only men are allowed in. It’s all steeped in a sense of debauchery. The reality is often very different. Those spaces can be extremely organised, and filled to the brim with items dear to the man’s heart, be it a miniature railway set, a wall of tools, a tiki bar, a pool table, comfortable sofas and maybe a large screen tv to watch the game with mates.
The question is not really ‘why is this a thing?’ but rather ‘why do feel men the need to create a cocoon within their own homes?’
The answer to the question could be very simply that the man’s partner does not suffer most of that stuff in their shared home! I suspect it also has to do with very traditional distribution of tasks. While men and women – in the best of worlds – manage to share the tasks associated with the home, if we are painfully honest there is still a lingering sense of separation. In fact, each part of the house is still intrinsically associated with one of the partners.
Traditionally, women have been responsible for the home – and been in charge of anything related to the home, including how the man behaves in it. This may have been based on them staying at home and taking care of house and family to start with, but it’s clearly still engrained in everyone’s minds.
The way I see it, men have felt ‘not in charge’ of the home, and while the majority of the house was the domain of the female part of a couple, it stands to reason that men were trying to carve out a space of their own in the home, in other words: a mancave. Incidentally, I have yet to come across a gay couple with a mancave: the dynamics appear to be slightly different in that case.
Where does that leave us with the idea of a ‘womancave’?
It’s obvious: there is no need for one because technically, the whole home is a ‘womancave’. That space may not be quite as strongly defended against the menfolk as the mancave is a no-go zone for women, but there is clearly a lingering element of ‘I better do what the wife says at home or I’ll be in the doghouse’.
And here we thought that this traditional separation is a thing of the past. I encourage you to review your home with this concept in mind, and I bet you’ll come to similar conclusions!
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.