Why I Demand A Woman Cave

The idea of a Man Cave is problematic. But all that goes away if we can also create Woman Caves (or something more clever-sounding).


The library from Beauty and the Beast…aka, my dream Woman Cave.

I assumed everyone already understood why “Man Caves” are lame and sexist. But it turns out I’m wrong.

I just discovered a Pinterest board (created by Pinterest themselves) called Man Cave Essentials. Here’s the description: “Every man needs a place to unwind and hang out with friends. From chilled pint glasses to fancy remote controls, we’ve got all the tricks to help customize your own man cave.”

I get it, Pinterest. You’re trying to prove that there’s a space for men on your site, which I agree with and which we can talk about later. But I want a board called “Woman Cave” (or, you know, something more clever-sounding).

Why the Man Cave is sexist
Here’s the big reason that the Man Cave is problematic, from Unapologetically Female:

“The concept of a man cave in a home is a sexist concept in itself…its perceived necessity derives from the traditional notion that the home (and all the work within it) is entirely the woman’s domain.”

Agreed. But then someone commented on that post and said this:

“I think women are missing the point that in most relationships the woman takes over and delegates design and decoration choices for the entire house. Supposed Frat-boy items and decorations end up in storage while frilly girly crap fills their former spaces. Also, given the choice a woman would be satisfied with 19 inch Tube TV.”

First of all, heck no I would not be satisfied with some crappy TV. I want to watch my Scandal in high def, son. Or whatever. Pixels? Look, I may not know that much about TV specs, but that doesn’t mean I’d be happy with an old TV. It just means I would need to do research before I buy my next one.

But I actually agree with you, Anonymous commenter, that sometimes women take over the decoration of their house and choose a bunch of “frilly, girly crap” their partner doesn’t like. I personally admit that our home has a few things that are too girly for Joe (my wrought iron phase was very real and it was very intense, let’s leave it at that). But we try. In my opinion, if you don’t feel like your home is yours, that’s a problem. That being said, it’s both people’s responsibility to make sure a place feels right for them as a couple, so if you’re leaving all the decoration work to your partner, it’s not their fault when their style works its way in.

Saying a man needs his own space because the rest of the house “belongs to the woman” is horrible. You mean I get stuck with boring practical things like curtains and silverware, and Joe gets a giant TV and a keg? I don’t thinks so. As you already know, I refuse to let the practical decision be my desire while the fun things are his.

Women need to recharge, too.
If one person has their own space but the other doesn’t, that’s bad for both people. It means she has to share everything, without a space to call her own. And despite conventional wisdom, women need to be alone and recharge, too. Sure, lots of us work through our problems by talking to other people and that can make us seem more needy. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve quiet time. Even Shosh needs quiet time. And a woman who never has any time or space to recharge is not a fun woman to be around—trust me, I’ve been that woman. Wide-eyed and on edge, oh yes. I’m a ball of gas at that point. But having a space for retreat could be a great way to feel refreshed and come back ready to be a better, more supportive partner.

So what’s the solution?
Let me be clear: there’s nothing wrong with a man wanting his own personal space. I just ask for equal opportunity alone time. I need to unwind, too. I have friends, too. That’s why I demand a Man Cave and Woman Cave.

In case you’re still confused and can’t imagine what a woman’s solitary space might look like (“Isn’t that called a kitchen? Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.”) (Ugh), here is what I’d put in my Woman Cave:

1. Wall-to-wall books, Beauty and the Beast style.

2. A giant TV, with surround sound please and thank you. I want to hear Betty Draper sigh from every corner of the room.

3. Soundproof wall panels, so I can listen to whatever song I want on full blast—including the times I listen to one song on repeat all day. It happens.

4. One of those window nooks like all the imaginary princesses have for reading and drinking tea and looking longingly out the window when it rains.

5. Since I don’t care about sports, I’ll have shrines to the things I do root for: a framed jersey for Team Meryl, a video loop of Jennifer Lawrence meeting Jack Nicholson, and a pennant that just says, “Christina Yang.

6. A whiskey bar. As Ron Swanson says, “Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets” and he is not wrong and I am not on a diet. Speaking of which:

7. Cheese. Lots of cheese. Just…constantly there is cheese somehow.

The downside to a Woman Cave
The problem with my demand for equal alone space is obvious: who has the money for two extra rooms in their home? Not many. Not me, currently. So what do you do if you don’t have two extra rooms? Do you give up? (“NO!!!” yells the enraged mob I’ve assembled in the town square) Do you use only one extra room as a place you could take turns in? (“MAYBE!!” yells the mob.) If you have no extra rooms, do you just—gasp!—both try and be aware of the other when you decorate your co-spaces? (“THAT SOUNDS REASONABLE ALTHOUGH NOT NEARLY AS FUN AS THE TWO ROOM CONCEPT!”)

Okay but now I’m seriously asking. What can you do? How can you make sure you both have your little spaces? What kinds of spaces do you have already? Or, ladies, if you have a Woman Cave (real or imaginary), what’s in it? Oh no, I just realized how dirty the phrase “Woman Cave” is. Ugh, it’s a stupid phrase anyway. Anyone have a better suggestion? Lady Space? Woman Domain?

18 thoughts on “Why I Demand A Woman Cave

  1. My husband wants a man cave once we get into our own place. I never really considered a “woman cave” but I did play with actually dedicating an entire room to an actual home office… which I guess would also serve as my own space.

  2. Currently my husband and I don’t have kids so we have a spare room and an office. Then we have our living room with all of our gaming systems. For now we usually can unwind together through TV or video games. Then the office is great when we need to get other things done and not be distracted.

  3. Mr. Gamer and I have both a cave and a craft room. We joke about the basement being the “man cave” but it is where we both game, watch tv, play music. My “office” is wall to wall books and yarn, but that is where we sit quietly and read, draw, or knit.

    • That is good and well, BUT, my husband needs his own space. He is retired and smokes all day, play his wee games and has surround sound. Try coming home to fight smoke and noise. He needs to be sealed off in his own space ASAP.

  4. I have written a very similar post about craving my own “She Shed” despite being female. After writing it, one of the rooms in our house became available and I seized it with gusto. I am still in the process of kitting it out, but the best thing of all is that my stuff is in there and it stays in the same place I leave it. Now, that’s luxury. Great post.

  5. Reblogged this on Rose B Fischer and commented:
    I was going to include this in “interesting post round up” but my thoughts ran too long for that too.

    I always opt for inclusion and unity over segregation. Maybe a better solution to the issue with the Pinterest board would be to suggest that it gets re-named to something gender neutral? Or just start making our own boards if that doesn’t work for people? I don’t know.

    While I agree that everyone needs personal space and men shouldn’t get all the “toys,” I don’t think there’s anything inherently sexist about a man cave as long as everyone in the relationship is comfortable with it.

    Personally, I don’t want anybody messing with my electronics or my books. I’d want my partner to feel comfortable and have their own space as well. With that said, why make broad generalizations and assume that everything is an attempt to marginalize women?

    I know a guy who re-did his basement and made a room for all his geeky stuff, toys, and music equipment. The wife had her own space upstairs. If she wanted to go down and play, she could, but he pretty much was never allowed to go in her hallowed girly crafts-and-whatever-else room. The rest of the house was her domain as far as decorations went. They were married in the early 70s. She also had her own business and has on the side since retiring , so this isn’t an “old fashioned” couple who doesn’t understand equal rights. An argument could be made for sexism on the woman’s part, but whatever. They don’t see it that way, and it’s their business. It works for them. Every family unit is different; people figure out how to cohabitate in all kinds of ways. What works for one family might not work for another.

    Maybe I just don’t understand why this needs to be a sexism issue because I’m A.) single, B.) not financially able to afford the concept of a “spare room”, and C.) secure and grown-up enough to be like, “Look, I want purple flowers, glitter, my computer, my DVDs, my games, and a bookshelf over here. It’s my spot. You can have space for your stuff too.” If a woman can’t ask for space in her own house, it’s not automatically the problem of society (or Pinterest.) We need to take responsibility for our wants and needs.

  6. I really like the phrase I saw in a HuffPo column: “Lady Lair.” Either way, I really like the idea. I also like purlgamer’s idea above in which they both really use both spaces. That said, where would I have to live to be able to afford that much empty space? And who’s going to clean it all, haha?

  7. I have been trying to convince my husband to pull some money out of thin air and build me a gazebo in the yard. That way it is away from the messy house altogether.
    During my flight attendant days the male pilots referred to the “cockpit”as a “box office” when there was a female pilot or engineer in there.

    • First of all, I love the idea of a gazebo! Of course, I grew up DESPERATE for a treehouse/fort so I’m pretty sure gazebos are the adult version of that.

      Secondly, I tried to approve this comment from my phone, and WordPress’ mobile site is a shit show…so I might have accidentally flagged it or unapproved it or both? Sorry about that.

  8. Let’s just dump the “cave” and let the men have it. Let’s just call our own space The Castle. No “woman” or “lady” or anything like that, just The Castle. How about it?

    But on a more serious note, we have only one extra room but we have found a way to share it. It’s practically a library with book shelves on every wall (oh, I’m so happy about that alone, it’s already a dream come true!). Most of the book shelves are shared but we both have our owns for our own personal stuff. And we both have our own desks right next to each other, not facing, so that we don’t have to stare each other which makes it easier to get lost in the privacy of out own inner worlds. He plays his computer games, I draw or what ever. We are in the same room, but both have our own space. It’s really nice and comfy and it works for us. But if one of us would have a messier, more space demanding hobby like wood work or snooker, well then I guess we would have to find a bigger apartment.

    All in all, I totally agree with you on this man/woman cave thing. It’s hard to find a more sexist everyday concept. I want solitude too! I want to read my book in utter silence every now and again. And I too want that hi-fi HD telly too just like I want to work on a good quality computer with programs that meet my high technical standards. I want enough RAM and speed. And I want a car with suitable engine, good design and excellent road-handling.

  9. I totally want in on your “woman cave”. Floor to ceiling books, great sound system, the t.v., the cheese, the whiskey (I’m a bourbon girl, but close enough). Sounds like heaven to me. If I had such a place I’m sure nothing else would ever get done (besides writing). My children would go hungry, my house would be a mess. But hey, they’ve got to learn to be more independent anyways!

  10. I need my own space. I sew, I need my office space and I recline to read or watch what I want to watch on my TV. I also have some exercise equipment that I use occasionally. I just like looking at it all in my own space. HELLO.

  11. I’m a guy who wholeheartedly agrees it’s important for women as well as men and kids to have “A room of one’s own”. I think everybody should have one. People have always had those. A place to get away to. The boudoir, that women have had for centuries. Men had boudoirs too, they were called cabinets. Studies, libraries, offices, studios. The drawing room (a place to withdraw to) was for both husband and wife. I think the ideas I’ve seen on this discussion are fantastic, and John Grey is a sexist crumb with his “man cave” and all his other BS.

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