Society and the media have always categorized different activities and interests as either masculine or feminine. Basketball is masculine, while volleyball is feminine. Yet the WNBA exists, and so does a men’s national volleyball team.
The line between masculine and feminine had already blurred in the 20th century. As such, men and women have been swapping gender roles long before social media. But even today, men are still afraid to be judged for liking things considered feminine. In 2017, one Reddit user asked what activities guys would do if they weren’t so “feminine” or “socially unacceptable.” The answers that stood out include quilting, saying that things are cute, enjoying a bubble bath, and saying the word “fantastic.”
It’s quite shocking to discover that even the use of certain words can make a man feel judged. That’s all but a sign that we need to change our mindset regarding gender norms. How would men venture into their passions if they’re afraid of being called feminine?
That might be a shallow problem, but addressing it can change a whole society, and maybe even an entire population. In this article, we’ll talk about a field that benefits all genders yet is associated with femininity: interior design. With bachelor pad tours being one of the most popular videos on YouTube, let’s discuss why men should feel proud of loving interior design.
Why Men Shouldn’t Be Ashamed to Love Designing Their Homes
72% of interior designers are women, while only 22% are male. However, the laborers who make designs come to life are mostly male. The people who haul furniture, install fixtures, and do all the unglamorous tasks are often men. They can even build vanity tables and luxurious walk-in closets. Yet, when it comes to liking the things they create, there seems to be a taboo. As if a man’s place is only in construction — never in design and decorating.
If a man turns out to like interior design, they tend to be mum about it. We can blame that on the fact that the media has influenced society’s way of thinking when it comes to “real man” activities. In the 20th century, liking soft furnishings was similar to an interest in cooking; it’s not something a real man would do.
That mindset was first challenged in 1959 when Playboy magazine ran its first feature on the perfect man’s home. The home was dubbed as the pad for the “urban bachelor.” Playboy’s then editor-in-chief, Hugh Hefner, described the urban bachelor as a man who enjoys good living, an expert judge of the arts, food, and drink, and a congenial companion of both sexes. He added that “he’s, very much, perhaps, like you.”
If the editor-in-chief of one of the most popular magazines in the world praised men who like interior design, then it’s high time for males to unleash the interior designer in them, in case they’re suppressing it. But even if Hefner didn’t say that, interior design should still be a field that’s approachable to men as it is to women. Thankfully, Pinterest and other home design platforms have included manly spaces too, like mancaves and bachelor pads, to attract a male audience.
Furthermore, men’s appreciation for interior design can break stereotypes that men live in dreadful conditions. It can show that a typical guy space isn’t a bare room with only a mattress and a gaming console. For instance, maybe one’s broken floors could use some new material. He can take this as an opportunity to explore interior design options, such as affordable but long-lasting vinyl flooring, to make his interests more tangible. Guys should be encouraged to spruce up their spaces, too, designing one’s space transcends gender.
Design Has No Gender Boundaries
However, a man’s interest in interior design shouldn’t be rooted in Hefner’s opinion. Meaning, they shouldn’t call a bachelor’s pad a “real man’s home” and call a quaint farmhouse “feminine.” If you think about it, family homes are often designed to suit a woman’s taste, yet it’s still the place a man would call home. So if men want to be good interior designers, they should avoid gender biases in design. So what if a Scandinavian design looks girly? If a man feels comfortable in it, they should feel proud of loving it.
While it’s totally fine to have manly tastes in interior design, they shouldn’t use their taste to justify the gender biases in design. Males can also design feminine-looking homes and call themselves real men. No guy should feel limited to industrial aesthetics.
If you think you have the makings of an interior designer, start by improving your own space. Knowing the different types of materials for various purposes is a good start. By the time you’ve remodeled your entire space and seen the results, you’ll realize that interior designing has always been for your gender, too.