Why Don’t Women Like X?

I see the “why don’t women like this too” question come up in enthusiast forums/blogs. I appreciate the thought, I really do. It takes a lot of self-awareness look around and say “we’re missing a significant part of the population here, what can we do to fix it.” That being said, I don’t asking it is particularly helpful.

Asking “why aren’t women interested in X” implies that there are no women with your particular hobby. An assertion that is false in the instances I’ve seen. What is more likely the case, is there are women. But they aren’t active in the community. A better question would be: “How can we make our community friendlier to women enthusiasts?” Turns out, I have a few ideas.

Stop speculating. When this question comes up, there’s always a lot of theories men start throwing out. “Women just don’t get obsessive about hobbies.” (Have you been around women who craft?) Or “this hobby is about gear, and women aren’t into gear.” (Ask a derby girl about wheels, and see if you still feel that way.) Or any other question that gives a gender stereotyped reason women don’t like a thing. When I read something like that, I’m just seeing all the labels put on me before I even say a word.

Don’t get defensive. You’ve guessed your reasons, and a woman comes in to tell you you’re wrong. Don’t get defensive. You asked a question and you’re getting an answer. If you disagree use it as a jumping off point of discussion. Don’t try to shut the conversation down.

Watch your language. I’m not talking cursing or anything like that. I’m talking about the way you address us as gender. Rule of thumb? Equivalent pronouns. If you say men, say women. If you say male, say female. I get called out because I call men’s derby “boy derby.” (By other women interestingly enough.) We call ourselves derby girls, the equivalent to girl is boy.
The point is, I don’t really care what pronoun you use, just don’t speak to me differently.

Ask a woman. As a woman, I’ve had different experiences than a man. Because of that, I perceive the world in a different way. I approach things differently. It’s not better or worse, just different. These experiences mean I may see things you don’t see. Find a woman who has the same hobby as you, and ask them to write about their experiences. I honestly believe the way to have more female voices on a topic is to have more female voices on a topic.

Don’t treat us “special.” A common thing I see with men trying to bring women into a hobby is to treat women differently than they treat men. It’s not malicious, but it can certainly be unintentionally offensive. Think of comic book shops that have a “girls” section. An area where they might section off titles like Black Widow, My Little Pony, and Doctor Who. Things that “girls like.” By saying those comics are “for girls” you’re saying the rest of them aren’t. And you may be keeping boys away from those titles as well because you’re saying they’re not for them either. It just creates a distinction that doesn’t need to be made.

At the end of the day, us women just want to enjoy the same things men enjoy. Sure we might enjoy it in a different way, but we all enjoy it.

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