I had a color scheme rejected this week for being "too feminine." I was confused by this because the pooh poohed colors were shades of gray and yellow but I suppose I was pushing someone out of his comfort zone somehow. Ordinarily, having an idea or a plan shot down is no big deal. I mean, it comes with the territory, but what bothered me about this particular rejection was the reason. Even though he really liked it, he couldn't bring himself to commit to it because somewhere in his mind he made up a story that it was too feminine. Too feminine? What the hell does that mean anyhow? The only way that color plan was going to end up looking feminine was if someone painted a vagina on the wall.
That wasn't what my design was calling for by the way.
Anyhow, it led me back to a pet peeve of mine --this idea that there are things that are inherently masculine and other things that are inherently feminine. Colors can't have a gender and sofas aren't segregated by sex. It's just stuff. Judgments about the relative masculinity and femininity of stuff says more about the person who's describing them thus than it does the object in question.
This is feminine:
This is masculine:
Short of physical depictions of gender, anything else is cultural. It's also arbitrary and no more an inherent condition than any other cultural norm you can think of. These norms change all the time and even when they're in place they aren't at all consistent. Here's an example. Conventional wisdom holds and accepts the idea is that depictions of flowers are inherently feminine. I say even that's a load of Bull.
This is an anthurium. Is it feminine?
Here's a Hydranora africana. What would you call it?
My intention here is not to get into some debate about real gender differences and conflicts, what I'm talking about are the made up ones. Generalizations that relegate men to man caves (ugh) and women to kitchens. Moronic ideas that hold women to a standard that says they should be able to create a gracious and tasteful home single handedly. Equally moronic ideas that hold men responsible for car maintenance and outdoor grills.
It's all a load. Those cultural norms may define some people's actual preferences and skills, but I bet they don't describe most peoples'. Lord knows they don't describe mine and I'm somebody who's generally comfortable with most things expected of my gender. I know too that those norms don't define my squirrely client either. Enough stupid HGTV programming about so-called man caves have him convinced that grey and yellow is feminine and that's a shame.
I keep going back to what I always go back to. Your house should look like you live in it. Not anyone else.