Thursday, 20 November 2008


"So," I ask my friends Michael, Matt, and Clarissa, "Is the bedroom a female space?" Earlier that day, my professor and I discussed gender and space and after determining the porch male, the kitchen female, and the living areas shared, we were left with the bedroom. 

Michael and Clarissa claimed female while Matt later recanted that it is solely such. His parents, he said, share everything. It's a his and hers house. The conversation ended and the guys proceeded to the porch while the women stayed in the kitchen. 

While they did whatever it is men do on porches (Clarissa posits that the porch is actually a shared space, and while I think she is right, it has only recently become this way), we women cooked and dished on men. 

When Matt and Michael returned, the conversation resumed. Matt pointed out how in the 1980/90s there was a change in Southern architecture that witness the den (male space) become a shared space with the kitchen. A bar often separated the two. I'm curious about the truth of his observation. When did the open floor plan take hold of the south? Was it something that the west coast or more urban areas embraced before we did? Very likely, but I'll get the facts from my architect cousin in Portland and let everyone know. 

For now, our group seemed content to interpret the bedroom as a female space. Then I remembered that my mother, in the last year or so, painted her shared bedroom pink. Not a soft pink, but a garish flamingo color. Light comes through the windows on late afternoon and it becomes for my parents what Dr. Charles Wilson calls "a sanctuary." And perhaps he's right. As I write, I am in my sanctuary. A bed with a heated blanket. 

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