Ikea stores in Australia have recently introduced ‘manland’ – a ‘creche’ for ‘retail weary men’.The idea is that women can shop in peace whilst their husbands and boyfriends relax in a ‘man cave’ equipped with table football, pinball machines, comfy sofas and magazines.
According to Mark Simpson (with a little help from QRG)’s Fag UP! theory of ‘manly strap-ons’ – where anything with MAN added onto it automatically becomes FAG – Manland is Fagland, where fags can be fags.
Apparently the women are given a buzzer which goes off after 30 minutes, when they are supposed to come back and collect their mates. This poses a few questions in my suspicious mind. Leaving aside any concerns I may have about the ‘regression’ this could encourage in men, what if the women are stuck in a queue? Do their partners transform into a pretty ikea rug? What if a fed up wife just walks out and leaves her fagly man in his mancave forever? What if two of the fags hit it off so well over table football, they decide to take things to the next level, and go and munch on each other’s big juicy ikea hot dogs?
The thing I don’t get is that I always thought IKea was quite ‘man friendly’. It has a ‘unisex’ vibe to it – it is after all Scandanavian, originally, where the two sexes are supposed to be quite compatible and not divided along old-fashioned lines. And men are *supposed* to enjoy flat packs and DIY and big manly furniture. I just don’t see Ikea as a ‘women’s shop’ even from a totally (hetero)sexist perspective. I think that Manland is yet another ‘retrosexual’ reaction to the metrosexualisation of society, which has ironically, in part, been hastened by shops like Ikea . And, again as Mark Simpson has pointed out, Australia as a country, has been caricatured (both from within and without) as a bastion of ‘traditional masculinity’. When in fact, cities like Sydney for example, are among the most metrosexual in the world. So both Ikea and ‘Australia’ could be suffering some kind of ‘metro-denial’ about themselves!
My metro message to Ikea, to the very fagly Australian TV co that ran the story, and to men, women and everyone else, is, as usual, quite simple. Fag UP! It’s 2011! Metrosexuality is here to stay. And to go shopping.