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Women playing video games

You want to know something I’m tired of hearing about? The “man cave”. With the notion of the “man cave” comes the idea that men somehow deserve a “cave”, a private retreat space “just for them” to pursue “manly” activities like drinking beer, playing video games, reading books, chatting about bikini models with their buddies and watching loud action movies. This space is usually a large part of the basement, if not its entirety.

To me, the man cave harks back to the drawing rooms of the 19th century. Do you know where “drawing room” comes from? It was originally called “withdrawing room”, where women would go after dinner while the men would have their scotch and cigars and talk “serious” stuff, while their wives and daughters would do needlework waiting for them. They would “withdraw” from the presence of men to spare them silly questions and feminine cackle.

In comparison, what do women have today? Oh, the kitchen I suppose, and sometimes the laundry room. They can certainly use the living room if the man is in his man cave. Isn’t that enough? If you’re lucky (and your man didn’t take over the entire basement with his man cave), you might even get a crafts room where you can sew clothes and make sparkly scrapbooks! How awesome!

Excuse me while I go wash the cynicism off my fingers.

There.

Today, I want to introduce the idea of a “woman cave”. Because whatever men have, women can (and should) have too.

What the Woman Cave is for

The woman cave, as the name aptly captures, is a space where women can also go about their pursuits–which are not related to domestic work like cooking food, washing laundry or making sparkly things.

What do women like to do in their spare time? Well, let’s see: read books and magazines to expand their minds, drink wine (and beer too), play video games, eat sushi with their friends and chat and watch television shows and movies (and not just The Bachelor and romantic comedies: they like to watch Game of Thrones and The Avengers too!).

In short, the woman cave is pretty much the same as a man cave, except maybe minus the photos of bikini models on the walls.

wine and booksWhat to include in your Woman Cave

Here’s a list of what my ideal woman cave would include:

  • A wine rack for reds and a wine cooler for white and rosés. I love wine. But you can also have craft beer in a fridge! Adapt to your alcoholic preference.
  • A cupboard for wine glasses. We wouldn’t want to have to go upstairs to get them!
  • Bookshelves filled with books. Books are good. Read some.
  • A nice TV with a good sound system. A woman appreciates good sound and visuals just as much as a man.
  • Video games. Many women of my generation were raised with video games around, and we now include them in our own condos and homes. We like to play video games. Sometimes better than men too!
  • A nice collection of DVDs. Although in my house we prefer a well-stocked hard drive connected to the Apple TV, DVDs are good too.
  • Storage space for my knitting projects. Now that’s the only concession I will make for  “traditional womanly pursuits”… but you would be surprised at the number of men who also knit.

A sectional sofa to put my legs up and with enough space to receive friends is also a must.

What happens in the Woman Cave

When women are not cooking or cleaning or washing, they like to do stuff, you know, for themselves. Like reading a good book (omg knowledge!) or playing a racing game with someone else. Because the Woman Cave is not a space that’s exclusive to women and where only women feel comfortable (as opposed to the man cave).

No, the woman cave is open for anyone who wants to share some time with the woman in question. It’s great for building friendships or for a couple to spend some quiet time together after the kids are asleep. The woman cave is where women feel free to pursue their own interests and to spend time for themselves rather than slaving away in a kitchen.

Sure, sometimes a group of women might take it over for book club. But mister, if you read the book and have something interesting to say about it, come right in. We’re nice like that. We won’t make you feel bad because you’re a man.

Woman cave doesn’t mean “no boys allowed”

You want to know what bothers me the most about man caves? The notion that men need a space apart, away from women. If your man wants a room for himself, call it “his office” or “his room”, not a “man cave”. I’d rather have an “entertainment space” than a woman cave, to be honest. At least it doesn’t exclude anyone on the basis of gender.

Do you need a woman cave? Maybe not, but think about why men feel like they deserve to have theirs, while you have to make do with whatever’s left. I find it hard to relax in the kitchen!

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Anabelle Bernard Fournier

Anabelle is a freelance writer, writing teacher and blogger. She spends a lot of time at home, so she likes to make sure that it's cozy and nice, especially in her reading nook. In her free time, Anabelle knits, walks and learns how to write stories.