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Anthropological Concepts: Gendered Space

Set of tools

In many places of the world, space is divided by gender. This is called gendered space. This basically means that there are spaces the culture has said are meant for men and spaces meant for women.  

Let’s think about a few examples in the United States. In the U.S., we think of certain parts of a store as being “for men” or “for women.” Consider the tool & hardware department and the sewing department in a big store like Walmart. The tool and hardware department is thought to be “for men,” while the sewing department is thought to be “for women.” This is an example of gendered space. 

Gendered Space. Image of 4 spools of thread of different colors.

Another gendered space in the United States is public bathrooms. There are usually men’s public bathrooms and women’s public bathrooms, and people get very upset when someone from another gender enters the wrong bathroom.  

However, in other cultures, things can be different. For example, in Belgium the public bathrooms are unisex and both men and women use the bathroom at the same time. That may seem strange to us in the USA because bathrooms are a gendered space in the USA, but in Belgium, they aren’t. Gendered spaces are different in different cultures.  

Want to learn more? 

Just take my Udemy course, “Exploring Gender Through Cultural Anthropology.”

Thanks for reading!