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06 February 2013

Spelunking and Debunking the "Man Cave"

We really need to stop using the term "man cave." I want to highlight just two reasons that the term is problematic.

First, the term casts men as evolutionary throwbacks (read: "cavemen"), whose behaviors are biologically determined. Women attempt to domesticate men by limiting their animalistic urges--so the logic goes--but men need an outlet, a place to indulge their masculine predispositions to violent video games and sports. This is belittling to men, and as a man, I personally find it offensive.

Second, the "man cave" as a designated masculine space implies that the rest of the home is inherently feminine. Women control the house: they cook; they clean; they decorate; it is theirs, so we tell ourselves. While at first blush, this may seem empowering, it actually reinforces patriarchy, restricting women from the public sphere to the domestic sphere. As women now make up essentially an equal proportion of the workplace as men, this also give a handy excuse for men to limit their share of the household labor.

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