Since I started on My Make Do and Mend Year, I have discovered that there are plenty of other folks out there undertaking similar challenges (a Buy Nothing New Revolution no less!).

One of the blogs I follow is from the USA and is called The Simple Year. By the time this post is published, I think they will have completed their year (HUGE congratulations to them!) but it was one of the last posts that I want to pick up on. The majority of the blog was written by Kerry, with occasional guest posts by her hubby, Chris. Chris was, apparently, not really that on board with the whole project to start with, but has done a big 360, and in this post, was congratulating his wife and family on the hugely positive effects he feels that Buying Nothing New has had on their lives.

The post come with a Programming Note from Kerry at the beginning, and she has very kindly allowed me to include it here:

Important Programming Note: With only two weeks left in our Simple Year, my husband surprised me over the weekend and sent me this guest post.  There are many people out there that have mentioned they would like to try some version of our project but they didn’t feel like their spouse would be a willing participant.  To those people, I would mention my husband was also skeptical.  He seems to have come full circle now.

I too have had similar comments from people, and the Lovely Hubby was also a little less than thrilled when I first suggested My Make Do and Mend Year. (Although to give him his due, he has since joined in with gusto, and is very proud to be Daddy-fix-it.)

So what is it about men and their reluctance to get involved in these kinds of projects..?

-Do they not care about the environment? Are more environmentalists female?

-Do they not ‘get’ blogging? The majority of the bloggers I know are female, but there must be boy ones out there!
But even if you take the whole blogging thing out of the equation, why are they less than enthusiastic at the suggestion that they Buy Nothing New?

Most blokes I know could not really be described as clothes horses, so it can’t be a fear of no new clothes for a year?
So is it gadgets? And DVDs? And technical wizardry..?

Or am I over-analysing, and is it simply a desire for an easy life…??!

Any boys out there want to give us an insight into the male psyche, and why you might be responsible for holding back a whole army of Buy Nothing New-ers..?!

21 thoughts on “Men!

  1. Good question! Of all the thousands of people I’ve spoken to (by email, twitter or blog comments) since starting my own theft project, I think I’ve only been in contact with a handful of men. Five tops.

    • Weird isn’t it? I’m sure the menfolk would tell is it is because they are far too busy doing ‘real’ work to be spending time blogging…

  2. LOL Jen remember the Ecover round table, Pete was out numbered 7:1…..I think most of the time women – who are the sex who has to do the child rearing hence more time at home, more time doing the practical domestic things and more time having to think well surely there is a better way to do this that and the other!? And once you have children then it opens up another world of wanting the best for your offspring including maybe the best earth that we can pass on??? Not that this is the way all women are hard wired as we all know everyone is different but as we are the ones to really get hard core with as close as you can get to being natural – child birth, breast feeding, we have no choice but to be aware of nature – again not every women is like this!

    Men are by their very make up the hunter gatherer and providers and my husband, brothers included they maybe are to taken up with “real work” as I have been told before (in a funny way – other wise there might have been blood spilt 🙂 and blogging or muddling in girly environmental topics might be seen as not manly enough??? It’s a difficult one to truly understand as you will get varying answers from both sexes but yes it is true that there are more women bloggers who are doing practical things to try and change their world, I wonder why? Maybe ask Pete in Ecover?!

  3. When I started my challenges (and esp. the supermarket free challenge) the hubby was very reluctant. We’re six weeks in now, and he still doesn’t like it all that much. He thinks I’m just making things overly complicated, but I think it the change that bothers him most. He doesn’t like changes. And I think that might be a major reason why a lot of guys are reluctant to get on board. They are comfortable the way they are and just don’t enjoy changes.

  4. On a similar note, I wonder how people have got on with children? I know my husband would be fully on board, but my 9 yo and 6 yo less so. They both love saving their pocket money for things they spot in the local toy shop, or going and buying something with their birthday and christmas money. We live in a semi-rural area, so trying to find charity shops on a regular(ish) basis that would satisfy them is not easy. My son asked me last Christmas ‘mummy are you going to make our presents this year again, or can we have a proper present?’ I also think my 9yo daughter would be embarrased if I made presents for her friends for their birthdays.

    I am fully aware of all the arguments in favour of getting your children on board and educating them and we need to do it for their future etc, and I totally agree, I just wonder if anyone else has had the conversation with slightly older children and if so how it went?

    • Interesting point! At what age do you have to stop foisting your values on to your kids, and allow them to start developing their own choices and their own ethical values? We are lucky that ours are too small to really have much say in what they get bought, and I have often wondered whether it would have been possible to do this challenge as a family if the Smalls were teenagers, but maybe it starts even earlier than that.
      Loving the tact and sensitivity of kids too “can I have a proper present?” Cheeky monkey!

    • I can actually field that :). I have an 8 and (almost) 10 year old and we (as Jen mentions above) are just finishing up a year of not buying. Granted we live in an area with a good number of resale shops, but one of the surprises about our year has been how well my children have done. They are often the first to tell people about our “project” and are quick to point out the things we can’t buy. We have, however, tried to replace some of the things with experiences. I took them on a three week holiday over the summer (something that is very rare in the States). As well as a couple of theme parks, musicals and weekend trips. My kids take piano and gymnastic lessons. One plays soccer and the other takes horse riding lessons. In short, their life is still rich. They have learned a few things as well (I have a handful of posts that address that). As far as gifts, for us, our relatives still bought them things (it is hard to argue with grandma), but we bought them a couple of things on Ebay and that was that. We even had sort of over the top birthday parties for each of them and asked for the participants to not bring gifts. I promise you, if you want to take on a project like this, your children will not be “scarred for life”
      Kind Regards.

      • Great to hear that your kids have been so on board Kerry. I wonder if some of it will stick, or if they will rebound the other way when the year is over?!

  5. My partner B has a flat full of random hardware which he’s rescued from skips & mates of mates etc and each thing gets turned into something new (eventually) like a table or shelves, even a bed on stilts – you can change the height according to how much more junk… I mean salvaged stuff, you want to cram underneath. But and here lies your answer maybe, he’s a sucker for new gadgets, he has more tech than Iron Man. No no buying gadgets for a year? Nah forget it!

  6. I’ve often wondered this too. It’s always me driving any sort of change and thought it was just my husband who would quite happily carry on changing nothing. I find it very frustrating when I can’t get him to see why I think these things are important. I still can’t work out whether it’s apathy, being conservative (small c) or what.

    Re: children, I do find it hardest with my eldest daughter (14), but not sure whether that’s because she’s 14 or because she’s most like my husband in personality! My 9 and 12 yr olds are usually on board for anything ‘environmental’.

  7. When I first met my husband, he loved designer labels and clothes in general. Buying second hand was anathema to him. Over the years I think I have ground him down. Now he will happily have a rummage through a charity shop. I noticed how far he has come the other day when he actually asked me if I could find a recipe for homemade dishwasher powder. Even I hadn’t gone that far yet, though it is on my to do list now.
    With regards to the blogging. He doesn’t understand it and appears to be slightly frightened of it. Maybe I should get him to guest blog, what do you think?

    • Hubby guest blogs area great idea. He could blog about why he doesn’t like blogging…!
      Dishwasher powder is one my list to try too-watch this space.. 🙂
      Hubby is not really into designer labels, but would still not set foot in a charity shop to look for clothes for himself. He is basically just having a year without ANY new clothes at all..!

  8. My husband is the spender and consumer in our house. There is no way under the sun I could get him to agree to something like this! He is happy to recycle, even though we live in a rural area where it isn’t simply putting bins out on the curb. He’s now thrilled that I buy most of our clothing second hand and am habitually frugal, even blogging about it. When we first married, those last two things he laughed at, but he’s come around. He is the one buying things constantly for hunting and fishing (I thought those were inexpensive “hobbies” that also feed your family….nuh-uh….that’s some expensive food right there!). He only buys a pair of jeans every couple of years and maybe one or two new shirts a year, plus underwear and socks when he needed it. If everyone consumed clothing like him, there’d be no secondhand stores or much need for them. lol
    Men do tend to like their habits and control over their immediate environments, and anything drastically interfering with those drives most of them nuts.

  9. My husband does blog (and tweet) but, as he’s a journalist, it’s a political/news-focused blog. I don’t think he’d ever put anything personal on it. He is also standing for the Green Party in the local elections but, again, this is more political. There’s an interesting element to the feminist movement of the 60s/70s that said ‘the personal is political’ and I wonder if this also means that women are more comfortable using their personal experiences to campaign. In one way or another we are all trying to say something in our blogs about how we live, or how we want to live, to make a better world. This may just be something that men feel more uncomfortable about.

  10. Right, let’s see now…I agree that many of the bloggers in the green/frugal niche are women and many seem to be mums too but that’s not to say that there aren’t guys out there who have taken the bulls by the horns and gone green – there’s me!

    But seriously, you raise a good point and I’m not sure why the majority of bloggers are female – maybe it’s just that the men don’t like to go out with their mates and talk about their green ideals and morals for fear of being labelled as a pansy. This translates online too so they don’t even think about blogging. Maybe women are more open and supportive of one another so it’s easier to “come out” as it were and build networks.

    I wouldn’t say it’s a desire for an easy life though, I think we men are just as prepared to get stuck into something even if it’s not always green-focused.

    Maybe there should be a Father Nature too so men can relate better 🙂

    • Thanks for sticking your neck out and commenting amongst the so far all female comments!
      You should start a Father Nature campaign…

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