The decorating thing…

Hi there – I’m on vacation. woo. Owl’s passed out next to me in a big long bundle of fur. Thanks for all of the great holiday decorating comments. You guys are hilarious and ever-so-various. I just wanted to follow up, because I think a few folks got the wrong impression about where I stand on this crucial topic. That whole rant? The previous post? About the cookies and the survey and the tinsel? That wasn’t me saying that guys don’t decorate or should decorate more. That would be dumb.

What I’m saying is that asking a woman you don’t know about her holiday decorations is a Gendered Question. This is a Gendered Question because Society (not me! society!) has associated women, fairly or unfairly, with homemaking stuff. This is also a Gendered Question because it is almost exclusively asked about women (and by women).

I, personally, don’t really like being asked Gendered Questions because I would rather be associated with the things I actually care about and value like PlayStation and my Large Cat. Not that any stranger is going to realistically come up to me and ask about any of the weird shit I enjoy. Still, I can dream of a world where people greet each other with a hearty “Have you read Seamus Heaney’s new translation of Antigone?” Or thump each other on the back with a cheerful “Ever considered opening up your 802-11 G wireless network?” I can dream my little holiday dreams.

So good for all y’all decorators and non-decorators alike. Good for all you lads who make with the tinsel, and you dudes who snooze through the whole month of December. Rock on my friends, I wish you a happy break.

2 Replies to “The decorating thing…”

  1. Gendered Questions, argh bain of my existance.
    I am a somewhat accomplished woodworker, so on presenting my portfolio to people or talking about furniture production it is almost never technical or power tool driven. Not that the media helps Tool Belt Diva is the antichrist of all female woodworkers, she just bugs me to no end. Why make a point of showing that women can do home repair? That’s almost as bad as saying they can’t! I live for the day that I see a male DIY host concede that a woman could do woodworking better than he could. Ty Pennington bow down before the Goddess that is Amy Wynn!! Okay that is my rant. It’s a little telescopic in scope but, you get the general idea:

    Girls can do anything boys can do and better so don’t even mention it because its a given, duh!!

  2. I agree that asking about holiday decorating is a Gendered Question. I think it is both gendered in who gets asked, but also probably gendered in who asks.

    Thinking about it in that context makes me wonder two things — first, have I not been asked about decorating because I work in a predominantly male environment (tech), so the question mostly doesn’t come to mind for the men in my office? And second, are people less likely to ask a lesbian a feminine-gendered question?

    I think yes to both. And maybe they act as multipliers to one another.

    This is especially interesting to me, because I look pretty traditionally girly, and I’m also nearly 8 months pregnant. So I get a LOT of gendered questions and conversational starters, including from the men. Many of them are fathers, so they have some context for asking about pregnancy and baby-planning. And a surprising number have been bold enough to express curiousity about why and how I became pregnant. (My lovely wife and I can now actually hear the question formulating in the extra-long pause just before people ask.)

    But I got zero questions on the decorating theme. And when I told her about the discussion, my lovely wife indicated that she also had no one ask her about decorating.

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