Friday, March 20, 2009

What is the term for Men who Garden?

I know this will raise allot of eyebrows, but if we take a closer look there may be some benefit into defining the term for men who garden. I ask this question because there are allot of men who love the idea of "gardening" but they don't fully engulf themselves into it because there is that astigmatism that "gardening" is for women.

We all know it is not, because most of all our produce comes from farms who are owned and operated by men. But maybe that's it, if you have allot of land and you grow things you are considered a farmer, but if you have small plot with little space you are considered a gardener. I can almost bet that if you ask most people if they associate a man or women with farming, they will probably, overwhelmingly pick the guy with the straw hat and overalls instead of the girl with the sundress and straw basket. But nonetheless, gardening and farming are still one in the same, especially if you are growing vegetables. It doesn't matter if you are doing it commerically or personally, they both require the same basic fundamentals.

The term that comes to my mind and that is unisex is "homesteader." To me it seems that under this "homesteader" umbrella you pretty much do it all and gardening, farming, recycling, preserving and being self-sufficient becomes more of a lifestyle instead of a job or a hobby. So if I had a "Man term" for Gardening it would be called Homesteading, because you just don't stop at gardening. I personally don't mind being called a gardener, but I must admit I do get some weird looks from the guys when I talk about gardening instead of Homesteading.

With some thought and a little more attention to this, maybe some women who want there partners to join them out in the field can label their activities under a different title. I will almost guarantee that the increase of homophobic men who hate anything associated with girls will, without a doubt, get their hands dirty in the garden; If they are considered homesteaders or something else other than gardeners.


ChristyACB said...

I read something very similar at Casaubon's Book, only her's wasn't the man and woman thing, it was the size thing, like Hobby Farmer, Farmer, Gardener, Smallholder, etc.

Lots of people aren't sure what to call themselves anymore.

I'm pretty sure the consensus was that Gardener's get lumped into a group that is normally associated with flowers. It sounds gentle and so, female.

Smallholder is a popular choice for us modern folks, even though it is the oldest word of the group. Smallholder means someone who "tends" a smaller area of land (less than 5 acres) and does whatever they do, gardening, chickens, name it.

I think that sounds very manly and for woman it sounds strong.

You like that one?

Kenneth Moore said...

Hm, I have never really thought of "farmer" or "gardener" in terms of gender before. I started gardening when I was 4, so I never thought it was something overly feminine, and I knew a lot of women farmers when I got older.

Also, the latin word for farmer is "Agricola." It is a masculine noun, but it has "ferminine" endings. So even back thousands of years ago, the idea was a bit confused. (Professions were overwhelmingly feminine, despite being held by men--I think you are "married" to your job, basically.)

Personally? I'm the Indoor Gardener. Can we have a separate word for those who have *no* land?

What about "Grower"? I grow things; that's what I do, it's what we all do, whether it's flowers, fruit, vegetables, male, or female.

ATW said...

Christy- I read up on smallholding and I never new there was such a term. It's interesting to know that smallholding has been reserved for individuals like myself.

I got a little smarter today. My only issue is trying to combat the caveman mentality; which is how most burly men percieve things. It's almost like trying to get a Harley Rider to where a Pink shirt, NOT!

You mentioned that "Smallholder is a popular choice for us modern folk" and your right, because we tend to think outside of the box. So the challenge is to get men to play in a man garden and the real question is what term would they adopt and be comfortable with?

Im sure guys who wanted to make their own beer would eventually love to grow their own hops and growing if they grew hops they would move onto other things.

But I like the term smallholder, I just wonder how inviting that will be to a bone chewing brute:)

ATW said...

Kenneth- Your absolutley right, people like all of us don't see a gender issue when we refer to gardening. I have traveled around the world and let me tell you, women are the backbone of the family and the community.

All of us who grow things are pretty much in an inclusive club; we tend to understand things and look at the world much differently. This post is an exstention of a conversation I had with a colleague of mine and I started to think about all of those guys out there who have hit a brick wall with regards to gardening and planting things.

Growing things is awesome!! And I would love to see guys who think growing things are for sissies, turn their attitudes around, it's a challenge. But I think with a little work a way can be found.

And BTW I am impressed with your level of commitment to grow things indoor. I am a newbie at this and beleive or not most of what I am learning is from patio farmers and indoor gardeners like yourself. So keep up the good work man. Your lack of land expands to more places than you know.

Melissa ~ Wife to 1, Mom to 5 said...

I never considered gender when refering to farmer or gardener. Food for thought, I guess. My husband is from a long line of farmers - both men & women (and kids) had to help with the farm. At our house, my husband is the strongest of all and quite adept at building, so he does all the structure stuff while I grow seeds and such. But, it's not beneath him to weed or harvest. Around here, the only thing that's 100% done based on gender are: car maintenance (him) and baby feeding (me). He is a great cook, he cleans house and hangs laundry out to dry. Trust me, he is the manliest man I know and you'd never catch him wearing a pink shirt. :) Maybe it's a generational thing too - I am sure his mom (and older female relatives) would raise an eyebrow to see him doing women's work - but we both have full time jobs so we just pitch in together and get it done. Our boys can cook, clean, wash dishes, fold laundry just as well as they do car repairs and mow the grass. Oh, and mowing the grass? That's ALWAYS been MY job - I love to mow - and have done so even when 9 months pregnant.

Where I do take notice is when I say I garden, people assume I do flower gardening. I do like flowers, but I've always been a veggie gardener. I do prefer the term homesteader since we do so much more than garden, but then again, that's confusing to people who think we have plunked ourselves down on acerage and laid a claim on the land. LOL

ATW said...

Melissa- lol I love all these comments. There just seems to be a strong division with people who grow things and people who don't. Because those of us who get our hands dirty don't see any gender issues. Farming for me is something that a family does and that means everything. My dad grew up on a farm with 15 brothers and sisters and they had to farm, like, for real!! The only thing that seperated my aunts from uncles was trapping for pelts and hunting. That was strictly a guy thing equivalant to mens night out, literally.

I think it's wonderful that you raise your kids to do everything. It's so important. Definately, they wont grow up with the stigma of whats a womens job and whats a mans.

And I don't think I can wear a pink shirt either.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with urban farmer? It implies less space, comes with a gritty edge and I don't think of straw hats an coveralls.

ATW said...

snarky vegan- I like urban farmer, I have also heard city farmer. I would like to help out those people, who happen to be in a relationship with a man or women who think growing veggies are not for them come up with a name that will help them get over there fears of playing in the dirt. I honestly think if your in a relationship growing things together can be great.