Ikea’s MANLAND reinforces stereotypes about shopping

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October 5, 2011

I hate IKEA. Their furniture’s cheaply-made — I’ve broken one of their beds from being a little too horizontally active — but mostly I detest braving the Swedish furniture emporium’s overcrowded stores.

So when IKEA recently announced MANLAND, an in-store alternative nursery for men, complete with free hot dogs and video games, I was a little irked. This sausage fest of an idea was hatched at an IKEA in Sydney, Australia in honor of Father’s Day.

What’s more, women were given buzzers that went off after half an hour, reminding them to pick up their mates. Why couldn’t Aussies just stay at home and throw some shrimp on the barbie in honor of their papas?

Sure, there’s inherent sexism in this. IKEA assumes that these poor men shouldn’t be dragged around by their nagging wives as they spend four hours vacillating between white and cream bed frames.

But men aren’t the only ones who get overwhelmed by the prospect of crooked bookshelves and beds that collapse after one-too-many romps.

I’ve been to IKEA once and that sampling of cheap furniture will last me a lifetime. I wandered through the meandering aisles and became oddly dehydrated, my head pounding while looking at Stepford-esque displays of a make-believe snotty six-year-old’s room. What kid really cares if their duvet cover’s magenta polka dots pick up the carpet’s matching hues?

But I continued on until the end, hoping to find meaning in the maze-like store. I was hoping to come up for air and grab a few Swedish meatballs at the end, but even the food line was too long. That’s about the time when the bathroom became my own personal MANLAND, which consisted of me hyperventilating on the toilet and wondering how I was going to maneuver out of the parking lot.

So here’s my solution: how about my own special daycare at IKEA known as BONLAND? The Food Network will constantly play (skipping Paula Deen, of course). There will be a free Valium dispenser, a coffee fountain and endless supplies of pizza, grilled cheese, donuts, cheesecake and ice cream, and Bob Dylan will always be blaring.

Limitless Tums wouldn’t be a terrible idea either.

Basically, the concept of MANLAND is silly. The center was recreating what men could be doing in their living rooms: vegging out and watching sports while eating cheap hot dogs. Is it really necessary to peel a man off the couch just so he can sit on a newer, more uncomfortable loveseat in IKEA?

The thing is, you’re either made to shop at IKEA or you’re not. Some people get off on maneuvering around aimless aisles and dodging entire families who block the flow of traffic with their shopping carts. I personally don’t. So until IKEA installs my coffee fountain, I’m not going anywhere near the store.

Men should get the same idea and keep their MANLAND in their beer-stained living rooms.


Ikea’s MANLAND reinforces stereotypes about shopping was published on October 5, 2011 in Column, Opinions

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