What Is A Woman’s Space?

Space, at first, can seem like an obvious concept that we can all understand and agree on. However, as Nealon and Giroux point out in the chapter “Space/Time”, space is actually more than “a mere stage” but a framework for life experiences that determine where we belong socially. Nealon and Giroux focus on how space can be gendered, and on this point I fully agree. Space can be seen as masculine or feminine, and the feminine space is often perceived as “at the home”, or sometimes more specifically in the kitchen. As the Hardee’s ad below shows, a woman should always be found in the kitchen, cooking a meal for her husband and child. This space is dignified by men, and perhaps other “house-wife” women through social pressure, as being the proper place for them in life.



Although this ad is quite outdated, the concept of a woman’s “place” is still questioned today. The example in the Theory Toolbox is that a working mother is blamed for her child’s transgressions, as if somehow her working rather than staying at home could have prevented her child’s actions. I read this and immediately thought of things I’ve seen on social media, like the Meninist twitter account that believes anyone who identifies as a feminist is in reality a “man-hater”. This is just another example of the space of woman; if she isn’t at home, docile and in the kitchen, then she is an angry version who wishes to extract revenge on men. The book talks about how space is “constructed in ways that promote particular kinds of social relationships, creating the conditions for…isolation…and exclusion” and I believe it can also create, in this case, conditions for misrepresentation. Now this is not to say that women can’t find their “place” in the space of the home, or vice versa. I’m just trying to point out that a woman can find a space for herself that is beyond what society expects or approves, an idea that I think is perfectly shown in this short Progressive ad. Space can be confining, but I believe that it can also be enlightening.


One Response to What Is A Woman’s Space?

  1. Prof VZ February 7, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

    It’s always interesting when advertisements play on out-dated stereotypes that the ad industry itself did so much to help instantiate in the first place (as in this relation between the early Hardee’s ad and the aptly named “Progressive” ad. Great reflection on gendered space!

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes