Tag Archives: handymen

Ikea Masculinities and Handyman Competencies

2 Dec

The other day I joined the growing ranks of men who have allowed IKEA into our homes to remodel our bedrooms and dismantle our masculine self-concepts. Real men hate IKEA, I hear. I suppose it’s fortunate I’ve always fallen short at being a real man. It’s not that I don’t fall prey to wanting to be one. It’s not that I don’t understand this hostility to IKEA, particularly their instruction manuals.

Ikea manual 1

Who exactly do they think they’re speaking to, anyway? That shapeless line-drawn androgyne there with pencil in ear and placid helper certainly isn’t me! And how dare they strike an oversized X through my manly need to build it alone. (It’s not surprising that I assumed the androgyne bent over struggling alone was male, while the star-headed helper was his female counterpart.) And how dare they make it near impossible to construct anything more complex than the BILLY bookshelf without following their step-by-step procedures, in order, and to the letter. Everyone knows instructions are for losers. Any handyman worth his salt can look at the parts and figure it out instinctively; he’ll finish the job and leave the site with two nuts and a screw to spare, always. Their quasi-opaque pictographs don’t look like me and don’t speak to me: they must be talking to somebody else… Continue reading

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