They've said the same about r/c model airplane builders and model
railroaders for just as long. Both hobbies are bigger than they've
A non-scientific observation I've made in our local school is that few
of the pupils fit with the statistical norm. Many are 30 and 40
somethings, a good number aren't white, and some are not male. It's
rare to see someone over 55-60 in one of the classes.
Well you probably don't have to scratch your balls as often when the
shop gets all hot and humid. Then again, I don't have to dig clumps
of sawdust out of my bra... :)
Unless you freehand a router with your pinkies extended, I'm fairly
certain we do woodworking pretty much the same. ;>
Who thinks the magazine in question is so condescending it's an
embarrassment to the entire wwing community.
hey, everybody knows that woodworking is a guy thing. I mean it's
obvious that gurlz can't use tools. besides, aren't they supposed to
be off somewhere playing with dolls or something?
computers too. everybody knows that gurls can't use computers....
I guess it's because women who are in woodworking should be making things
like dolls and pukey ducks. When they're not fetching their husband a cold
drink while he's doing the real woodworking, that is. So, if you're making
furniture, you'd better stop right now and call your husband to take over.
If you don't have a husband, well, you'd better put the whole woodworking
thing on hold for now and get that straightened out first.
Renata, you are more unusual than you might believe. I think the
distance between women and woodworking has a lot to do with the female
mindset. She believes she can't do it more than he believes she can't.
Societally we've been led to believe we have innate roles and interests.
As a stay-at-home dad for 5 years, I've been bucking tradition - and
have read many articles on men as primary caregivers - and have felt
uncomfortable in public at times. When folks step outside their
traditional roles, it certainly doesn't hurt to have others let you know
it's an OK direction you've taken. As time passed, I become less and
less concerned about my abilities and other's perceptions about
stay-at-home dading; similarly, I'd guess that the women who continue
with woodworking will gravitate to mainstream publications and worry
less about being out of their "female" role.
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
Offering a shim for the Porter-Cable 557 type 2 fence design.
Interspersed, including a couple rants...
On Mon, 10 May 2004 09:38:46 -0700, Fly-by-Night CC
Actually, I never approached this particular hobby with that attitude.
I got interested and just kinda started doing it. Never gave a
thought to, "Gee, this is a male dominated hobby; maybe I'm in over
(or is it under) my head".
But, I do realize it is a novelty to see gals pursuing it (and there
are times when this is advantageous; & times when it isn't). The
difference is between the attitude of novelty and the attitude that
somehow, because I'm a woman, I have fewer skills, abilities, innate
knowledge about the subject.
Gravitate TO??? I've been attracted to stuff like FWW from way back,
and when I pick up one of those crafty magazines (intended for women
only or not), I usually find little that interests me (that's ME -
I like Charlie's "cash cow joining the herd" analogy. That
perspective is understandable. What I have an issue with is thinking
that particular cow is "stoopid" so we gotta gear our product to a
I do what I like and don't worry about being out of my "traditional"
female role. Sure, there are (obvious & not) differences between
guys and gals, but none of them precludes one from doing ww'g stuff.
The neighbor down the street tells me that he thinks carpentry
knowledge is genetic. Well, if it is, it sure ain't based on the x
and y chromosones. I've seen many a guy who wasn't sure about which
end of a hammer to use (ok, so I exaggerate a tad), or who ran a drill
bit (3/4" into a PT post) in reverse for literally 15 minutes, not
understanding that there might be a reason why it wasn't going thru
(started smoking and we put a stop to it; relegated him to none
See, if I were to get together w/ww'ers, I want to get together with a
group of knowledgeable folks who share the interest. Usually,
limiting it to women only eliminates a large number of folks
(especially seeing as hw this IS a male dominated hobby) who meet
those criteria. So, spare me the women-only retreats, workshops, etc.
The knowledge and expertise is splattered about fairly unevenly
here - but it's available.
I'm glad you're here. My own experience has been that men and
women (perhaps because of biases introduced in our upbringing;
but perhaps something else) frequently approach work, play, and
problems with (slight to huge) differences in perspectives.
(That effect is also visible in multi-lingual problem-solving
teams: a synergism of mental pathways - I wonder if the effects
Welcome to a forum where your knowledge, expertise, /and/
perspective will be valued.
: Actually, I never approached this particular hobby with that attitude.
: I got interested and just kinda started doing it. Never gave a
: thought to, "Gee, this is a male dominated hobby; maybe I'm in over
: (or is it under) my head".
: But, I do realize it is a novelty to see gals pursuing it (and there
: are times when this is advantageous; & times when it isn't). The
: difference is between the attitude of novelty and the attitude that
: somehow, because I'm a woman, I have fewer skills, abilities, innate
: knowledge about the subject.
But there are some MEN who feel that way about women doing woodworking.
And there's the difference.
See the letter in the current Fine Woodworking, by a woman with a lot of
experience as a woodworker, and who is now running a training
-- Andy Barss
You, my wife, and some women I hang out with are on the same page.
I'm probably gonna get hammered for this somehow, because somebody's
going to misconstrue it, but here goes. Some women STILL, in 2004,
feel intimidated to participate in certain activities if they are
outnumbered by men.
One of my woman friends, whom I mountain bike with on a regular basis,
also leads and arranges women-only rides. This woman will put an
awful lot of men to shame on the trail, as well as the ski slope. She
leads "chick rides" (her words) out of a sense of duty to the sport,
not necessarily because it's her favorite way to ride trails. She has
on several occasions described most of the women who seek these
opportunities out as having "issues", usually of an inferiority
I think they'd agree with you - albeit with some trouble on the word
"intimidation". I'd offer they'd say that women often enjoy each others
company in some situations.
And - the corollary is true to: men STILL, in 2004, feel intimidated to
participate in certain activities if they are outnumbered by women.
Well I won't hammer you - if you read my post to Renata you'll see that
I've been doing a "woman's" job for 5 years now. I can tell you that
it's certainly intimidating going into a roomful of women for some
child-centered activity. Whether it was true or not, I felt as though
everything I did and said to my daughter was scrutinized by the "moms".
I can see how a woman might feel intimidated and conspicuous in a
roomful of men, doing a "man's" activity. I give great credit to the
couple of women in the woodturning chapters I belong.
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
Offering a shim for the Porter-Cable 557 type 2 fence design.
Dunno' if Testosterone and Horsepower are really kharmically connected, in a
Tim Allen, sense or not. It would be interesting to play Jane Goodall and
watch an integrated woodworking class - as I'd suspect the XX participants
approach problem solving differently than the XY's.
Having read some of the more "he-man" type comments in this thread,
e.g., akin to the woman's place is to get cold drinks for the man in
the shop (which I somewhat graciously presume are tongue in cheek), I
don't think gender has anything to do with the development, or lack
thereof, nor execution of any of the skills used in working with wood.
Its all a function of how much energy you want to put into learning
and developing those skills. Yeah, maybe women as a class have
smaller hands, and drills and the like designed for smaller hands
would benefit estrogen-based woodworkers and not matter that much to
the testosterone-based ones, but IMHO that's about it.
I also dispute any suggestion that individuals are gender-disabled
from thinking about wwing in a way that men do; hell, my own brother
can't sharpen a stick, much less make a Townsend Secretary or
grandfather clock - he just doesn't get the
time/space/material/mechanical/technique melding into a finished
project concept, and never will. He's got X and Y chromosomes, but no
ability to conceive and execute. Some women are the same way. Others
prefer to use glue guns to make decorative items or do scroll saw
projects because it makes them feel good; just like it makes me feel
good to turn a rocking chair. A lot of men use their mechanical
skills in other ways; one guy I know does needlework, and really nice
needlework, but has no interest in wood as a raw material. He'd
likely make a pretty good furniture project if he put his mind to it.
Folks like Renata, I assume, make pretty much the same stuff that I
do, and do it pretty much the same way, and I say great.
Now, as to the mag WWing for Women, well, hey, America's a great
country, and if there is a profit in the mag, more power to 'em, but I
don't really think that FWW, WWJ, Wood or any other "traditional"
wwing magazine excludes women readership. Nor do I think W for W will
Many years ago, I read some research that flatly stated--I think based on WWII
assembly needs--that women were better at tasks that require good eye-hand
coordination on a sustained basis. Something about the way their brains were
wired. Been too long to recall details, but it does seem that IF that's true,
there are numerous areas of woodworking where women would do measurably better
than men, given similar training and interests.
Maybe 30-40 years from now, there will be a definitive answer, though I doubt
it, because I think on an overall basis it doesn't make any difference. Some
people are better at some things than at other things. Gender has something to
do with it only because of culturally determined factors like expectations and
So there should be no real, long term need for specialized publications for
women in woodworking, but the existence of such magazines may provide some
simplified methods for interesting larger numbers of women in the recreation.
It would be nice if accuracy were a criterion which tends to depend on
experience, which may mean that you can't totally staff a magazine with women.
Look, for a quick example, at Woodworker's Journal and Popular Woodworking:
Each now has at least one competent woman on staff. I don't really know what
kind of woodworking experience either of these women have, but the results in
the photography and articles have been, IMO, been favorable. Other magazines
may have female staff members, but I've paid less attention there because I
haven't met them or worked with them.
AFAIK, though, neither is relegated to crafty projects: They share editorial
"In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, intelligence
is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of
office." Ambrose Bierce
I have to agree. (I know a doctor that does needlework also) The only thing
that bothers me is the gender specific thing is tolerated for women, but not
for men. I'm not just talking ww here. A woman is welcome in my shop at any
time. I guess it is possibly a case of reverse discrimination.
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