Men only ‘startup’ harks back to the past – you should actively ignore it

men-onlyA pair of Brisbane entrepreneurs have announced the establishment of Australia’s first co-working space exclusive to men. What a forward-thinking idea.

Nomadic Thinkers thought is that the World needs an “innovative way to address male related social issues” and their approach is a male-only club; because we all know the only thing holding intrepid male entrepreneurs back is the flood of women distracting them. This is not a new idea (or a good idea); it’s an idea who’s time has passed and should not be resurrected.

It’s bewildering that anyone thinks this a good idea. Perhaps the founders have hit on a great way to get good publicity – in the Trump-ian ‘any publicity is good publicity’ sense. But why would anyone back this, or sign up to be part of it? Why wouldn’t being approached by anyone part of it immediately send up red flags in the minds of any investors? Perhaps the only thing scarier than this thing existing is the idea it might work.

Sure, there are women-only and LGBTI spaces – but the key difference is that under-represented groups that are heavily discriminated against and trolled in an environment often legitimately do need exclusivity. Men do not fit that category. Men who’ll sign up for a men-only co-working space fit the category of losers who think they’ll be able to get more done if they aren’t forced to take time out of conquering the world to attack the occasional woman who has the temerity to challenge their dominant view of their position, just by being in the same space.

The founders of this abysmal idea suggest that having a men-only space will prevent domestic violence. One of them is quoted as saying:

Depression and suicide result from a lack of social support and community. Having a space where they [men] can be men is more of a preventative measure. Healthy, happy men don’t hit their wives.

How about being healthy and happy should involve being part of the real community that we all live in. The one where 50% of the population is female. Giving men an excuse of depression for domestic violence is just, well, rubbish. Being a man is not, and should never be, defined as being the sort of person who’ll hit their partner unless they get to go somewhere private and express their masculinity amongst other men.

I can’t even write any more. If you’re not disgusted by this idea, then you’ll never be persuaded. If you are disgusted, I’m preaching to the choir. But I’ll leave you with a final justification from one of the founders of this space which gives us full insight into his modern thinking:

I’m 25 and I’ve grown up in this culture where we don’t have any rites of passage. In other cultures you go out and hunt in a forest for three days. We just hit 15 and start drinking. There’s a real loss of identity for men. We used to go to war together. Girls do it better naturally, they have tea parties and stuff.

This thing shouldn’t be happening. But there’s a lease being negotiated and apparently forty applications for membership. The response should be simple. Ignore them. And I don’t mean don’t write about them or talk about them. I mean note the address and the name of the space when it’s finalised. Then don’t accept pitches from them, don’t take their calls, don’t involve them in your incubators. Anyone signing up for this sort of space clearly hasn’t the foggiest idea about the modern market and society we live in. Let them retreat to their 1850-era world and sit in lonely silence contemplating each others’ masculinity.

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