In which our hero comes out as a feminist

I saw a commercial which disturbed me greatly.

Media criticism is not usually my area, but let’s just look at a couple of things here.

First of all, what kind of person completely overhauls an entire room of a shared house without lots of discussion with his/her significant other? We’re not talking simply moving furniture here.

Second, reinforce stereotypes much? The “Mom Cave” is all done up in pink and throw pillows and frilly. Look at that art! Women like art! No man likes art unless it’s dogs playing poker or Playboy centerfolds tacked to the wall! And is that a chaise lounge? No properly feminine woman would be caught in a *gasp* La-Z-Boy! It even says “Boy” right in the name! And while she’s online at that point, there’s a BOOK on the ottoman! In a room where the TV should be! How many different male/female stereotypes can we pile into one commercial?

Third, and possibly the most insidious…when the man had the room, it was the “Man Cave.” (Not a term I care for, but it seems to be the standard now.) Now that the woman has it, notice that it’s not the “Woman Cave.” Even though I see no markers of children, because the commercial shows a married/heterosexually-partnered woman of or just past childbearing age the default position is that this is a mother. The character herself confirms what we are culturally led to believe and refers to it as….the “Mom Cave.”

Not the “Woman Cave” – the “Mom Cave.”

The segregated space for the male is defined solely in terms of biological gender. The segregated space for the female is defined solely in terms of acceptable societal role. A man is a man no matter what, and thus worthy of a “cave,” but a woman is only allowed to have her own space if she first fulfills her duty and gives birth to a child.

Anyone else bothered by that?

Here’s some personal information. My wife and I have no kids. There are many reasons for this, but rest assured that this is our choice. Do not tell me that my wife, who is every bit my equal in terms of basic human-ness (as is every human being), is somehow not worthy of her own space because she has not given birth.

Yes, this is just a silly commercial, designed to sell us stuff we don’t need. But knowing how this works will help us as a species shed those ideas which only serve to separate us.