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January 5 2017

Old Feminist Trend: Breaking Down the Door to the Boys' Club; New Feminist Trend: Starting a Club With No Boys Allowed

Charlotte Allen

Freud asked, "What does a woman want?" A better question might be: "What does a woman really want?" In contrast to what she says she wants, especially if she tells you she's busy leaning in, shattering the glass ceiling, carving out a pathway on a male-dominated career track, or whatever?

The answer, revealed in this BloombegBusinessWeek article about the latest trend in workplace feminism:

Women want...offices with pink furniture.

Also blowouts on demand and "trendy beauty products" just a few steps a way from their desks.

And also--believe it or not in these days when breaking down the door to the boys' club is supposed to be every career woman's goal--a place to work where no men are allowed--because men are so loud and competitive, you know.

Here's the Bloomberg scoop on New York City's "the Wing," one of several "female-focused spaces"--combination communal office and social clubs--that seem to be springing up everywhere for women entrepreneurs tired of working out of their homes:

[T]he Wing—so-named because, like the wing of a house, it’s a separate space—is just for women. Co-working is hardly new; industry trade magazine Deskmag estimated there would be 10,000 co-working spots worldwide by the end of 2016. But female-focused spaces have become a niche in the industry as a response to contemporary feminism and a reaction against fratty venues that advertise kegs and pingpong.

“Women are craving community, connection, and confidence, and that’s what we’re going to give them,” says Stacy Taubman, 38, founder of Rise Collaborative, which is set to open in St. Louis this month and will offer members networking events, a book club, and a chance to mentor teens. Then there’s SheWorks Collective, also in Manhattan; New Women Space, in Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Hera Hub, in Phoenix, Southern California, Washington, D.C., and Stockholm.

Here are some of the amenities at the Wing:

In addition to a pastel-and-gold-tinted communal workspace and a library with books (yes, there’s a copy of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own) arranged by color, the Wing provides its 400 members with on-demand blowouts, a lactation room, and vanities stocked with trendy beauty products from partners including Glossier, Diptyque, and Ouai Haircare.

In addition, because it's an exclusive members'-only outfit with a pricy monthly fee, the upscale working gals can savor the thrill that "those people" won't be let into their sorority:

Membership is $1,950 a year or $185 a month, plus a one-time registration fee of $100—and whatever extra you spend on hair and makeup services or soba noodles and lattes. Subscriptions have doubled since the club opened, [the Wing's co-founder Audrey] Gelman says, and the Wing’s Instagram account has more than 45,000 followers. “Part of that is having a personality and a distinct point of view,” she says, “which means not being everything to everyone.”

And indeed it's not:

A third of the Wing’s members are from Brooklyn, most are in their 20s or 30s, and pretty much all of them look like they stepped out of an Urban Outfitters ad. Original members include J.Crew President Jenna Lyons, rapper Remy Ma, and Leandra Medine, founder of fashion site Man Repeller. It’s a space for women who are already successful, not a support group for those struggling to get there. Still, the Wing is less expensive than popular co-working spaces such as WeWork, whose membership starts at $220 per month, and Gelman says she wants to make it even more accessible. When asked about scholarships, though, she replies, “I don’t think the CEO of [co-ed co-working space] WeWork”—Adam Neumann—“is being asked if he’s giving out scholarships.”

But not quite every single male on earth is barred from this community, connection, and confidence, it turns out:

A man walks through the elevator doors, and Gelman throws him a friendly wave. “That’s our AV guy,” she says. “He’s basically the only man that comes through here.”

Because when you need someone to get the viruses out of your computer--in contrast to the blow-drier onto your hair--you, um, need a man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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