Please Stop with the Man Caves

You're not an animal, you're an active member of your own household (or you should be).

Garage used as wood working or carpentry and tools area
Lesley MagnoGetty Images

Of all the interior design terms I've come across in my career as a design writer, there is none that grates me as much as that dreaded, bizarre turn of phrase for one wildly unnecessary room in the house. You know it, the one often tucked away in a basement or garage or other dark corner of the house, eschewing a dramatic moodiness and often with a conspicuous lock on its door: the "Man Cave."

At its best, laughably immature and at its worst, glaringly sexist, the "Man Cave" is the isolated room of the house born of the idea that—what, exactly?—a man can only relax in a room full of rich mahogany and leather-bound books? A man has no opinions, input, or thought whatsoever on how the rest of his house looks, let alone functions?

Friends spend weekend together watching TV
A Getty image for the search term "man cave" shows a bunch of men watching sports. Which, you know, only men do. Above: home improvement and DIY, also, obviously, a men-only activity. 🙄
svetikdGetty Images

News flash: It's not 1957. Your husband likely isn't coming home from a hard day at his 9 to 5 (lol, what's that?) while you've been whipping up a casserole in your nipped-waist day dress, eager to await him at the door of your split-level ranch (which you purchased for under 1 year's salary) with a stiff drink.

In most households in the U.S., men and women both work and both (or, at least, should ) household duties.

But those facts aside, even in a home where the male is the breadwinner and his tastes do veer more traditionally "masculine," why is the solution to give him his own room? Isn't the entire point of decorating a home with a loved one or a family that you incorporate each of your styles into a happy medium? Shouldn't any member of the family feel comfortable in most rooms of the house? And if one member does need some alone time, does it have to be in a space inherently tied to his gender?

As my colleague once pointed out in a story on the rooms for another outlet, the Swedish for man cave is the delightfully subtly snarky mansdagis, which translates to... "male kindergarten." If that doesn't make you rethink the need for that room, maybe you're not mature enough to have your own home in the first place.

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