Not all equal – gender and funology

It started with balloons.  I was chatting with a young mom at Corbs party last night about Funology.  Mandy was curious about what we had learned in our quasi-scientific exploration of fun.  I talked about the balloons that her kids were playing with and how accessible they were and engaging, observing them as an effective  funological tool.  She was unimpressed by this insight.  But as we talked more, about funological event grading, about how to make events successfully multi-generational, about catalyzing romance at events and kissing workshops, Mandy got more engaged and animated.

I mentioned that our research had found that when we designing invitation lists for parties we often tilt the attendance towards are greater fraction of women.  She was curious and perhaps slightly uncomfortable about this.  I explained that part of what we do as funologists is we ask event participants afterwards what they liked about the event and what could be improved and when it comes to gender we often find that both the men at the event want more women participants and so do the women.

i get why this does not sit quite comfortably.  Shouldn’t we be striving for equality?  Aren’t men being left out?  i must confess i dont worry about these concerns much.  There are parallels to the commune which may be useful.

With some regularity we get visitors to the commune who it is clear that we are a much better fit for them culturally and socially than the mainstream is.  Oft they have found us thru a concerned family member who is looking for something that might work better for their loved one.  Rarely is it the case that these situations work out for us.  We are not a therapeutic community, tho often people who move here find some healing.  We are not principally a refuge from a dysfunctional world, tho many of us do find a peace here which is oft less available in the mainstream.

i do design parties as a partially political practice, but not with the intention of taking care of all the worlds ills by pursuing notions of gender balance.  i dont worry about what the people we dont invite will do with themselves that night.  What i hope is that we create events that inspire others to do the same and that our efforts create more celebratory social and cultural events.

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

4 responses to “Not all equal – gender and funology”

  1. Sara Tansey says :

    what i find problematic about this is not leaving out the boys but the underlying factors that lead more men to want more women at any said event. it reminds me of “ladies nights” at clubs and bars, where women get in for free until a certain hour. in this case it is easy to see that women are being brought in to draw in a male heterosexual clientele who might otherwise frequent another spot.

    but when we’re creating events with consciousness and this same tactic is used, i am disappointed with us. and i get that there’s another side to it. that there’s women wanting more women as well, and i resonate with that. but i want us to look critically at the whys.

    often as a woman at an event i want more women in attendance because it feels safer. i get a maybe false sense of security, believing i’ll have to deal with less sexual attention and can actually just enjoy myself. my cynical side assumes that men want more women at a party so they have more options romantically. if that’s the case, i want to be challenging both my sense of safety and the idea that men come to parties just to find a fun girl to hang out with.

    it would be fun to intentionally plan a gender balanced party and play with these underlying factors. something that encourages us to step out of our gender roles at a party and play with each other in different ways. wanna do it with me?

  2. paxus says :

    @Sara: You know it does not take much for me to want to organize something with you. We can do it right after canvasing around the shut reactors, and the Am*dam underground guide, and the home school game at Theas around nuclear, and the story telling/kids performance thing at Occupy Cville, and writing each other love letters – or perhaps before some of those things.

    Appreciating your insights and pushing.


  3. Mary Hall says :

    Pax, you may be interested in studying some of Morehouse’s ideas. They have done research on more pleasurable living (in community) for 40+ years, and they say “Fun is the way, Love is the goal.” My understanding of that statement is that if everyone is having fun, they are feeling love, groups that strive for love, aren’t always having fun (or feeling love), so they say Fun is higher than Love. Thought you’d like to know others are also doing the funology research. Oh, and they have of observations about men and woman that supports your research, which is why I thought of them in the first place.

  4. Erika says :


    I attended a gender-balanced Network for a New Culture event last weekend. Achieving gender-balance is unusual for this group. It was organized by a new organizer group in the DC area, headed by Raven and Amy. To the best of my knowledge, it was not intentionally gender-balanced. The invitations went to the usual New Culture email lists.

    However, I suspect the balance came from making space for several women with children to attend. Most women my age (~25-45) are caring for children, and making time/space to attend parties is difficult because someone has to take care of the kids. This time, we made some space for kids and tried to help out (although I’m afraid that moms still did most of the work).

    To the best of my knowledge, the moms had a fun, sensual experience, as did everyone else. A few people were introduced to new experiences, and many of us enjoyed re-connecting with friends. Although, the group party didn’t involve nekkid people, and the endorphins were strictly endogenous.


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