As stated here before, I love reading blogs about minimal living, online businesses and nomadic lifestyles.  Why are these writers primarily men?

the intersection between minimal living, online business, and nomadism is pretty clear-  it’s reasonable to figure out how to support oneself in a simple lifestyle through an online business.  If the business relies purely on electronic, not physical products/ services to generate cash, then it’s practical to live anywhere or travel a lot.  So, if one lives a minimal lifestyle-  which obviously costs less and is more sustainable in both the green and the financial sense-  then you’ve got a plan.

Here are the ones I read occasionally-  not all are actually in my feed reader, some just prove the point:

ridiculously extraordinary
far beyond the stars
zen habits
tynan
the art of non-conformity
tim ferris
exile lifestyle
project mojave
lifestyle design project

I could keep compiling the list, but the point is made.  I haven’t found a woman who is writing about the intersection of these topics.  I’m sure there are, my point is only that I haven’t found her, and I’ve been following this type of conversation for a couple years.

One thing about these blogs-  they are somewhat formulaic.  That’s not a broad criticism, but an observation.  The writers mostly follow a pattern of blogging (i.e. write about x on tuesdays and y on fridays), they mostly make money through affiliate links and by selling e-books or, as popularly described, ‘manifestos.’  they frequently write guest posts on each others blogs, so it’s easy to think they are all crazy-web-famous, but you’ll start to realize you’re just reading in one pool of friends, and if you skip to the next pool…it’s a new set of co-linkers.  again, nothing wrong with this, just some perspective.

So what is it that draws men to write about this stuff?  or, frees them up more?  are men more comfortable taking the risk?  is this part of the age-old thing about sowing wild oats?-  clearly, nomadism doesn’t lend itself to stable relationships (though some of the authors above are married.)   most of the men I know are fairly obsessed with survivalism and what life will be like post-apocalypse.  is this related?  (or is that just the men I know?)

are women more attached to stuff?  is it because women are less comfortable with technology? (most online businesses rely on having decent html/css skills, at least.) do women just blog less?

Posted by:brook delorme

8 replies on “minimalism, online business, nomadism, men

  1. Simply put Brooky….Males are the roaming hunters and females strive for the nest. Much of your analysis results from feeding within the same type pool of people…Birds of a feather flock together! Go hang with a group of say meat eating, booze drinking,cigar smoking sports watching peeps and you will not only be out of your element but you will get a greatly different view.

    Times are slowly changing but much of the world stills views the female role as pregnant, in the kitchen cooking while maintaining the home (ie nest). Fact is it is a mans world and the female is here to tell the male how great he is while pleasuring him! NOW THIS IS NOT MY VIEW SO PLEASE DO NOT BLAST ME.

  2. Hey Brook!

    Funny that you should write this because this exact question was posed to me today: “Why aren’t there more women in this group?” Referring to a group similar to the one you have above.

    I would love it if more women wrote about the cross-section of business/travel/minimalism. That said, there are some awesome female vagabonds and some write about business as well.

    http://www.nerdynomad.com – Kirsty
    http://www.businessbackpacker.com – Brooke
    http://brookevstheworld.com/ – Brooke

    Last 2 have interesting first names, wouldn’t you say? ;)

    For me it has nothing to do with post-apocalyptic survivalism. And I would be happy to have a girlfriend/wife join me on my adventures. So why do I write about what I write about? I’ve already written all about that. ;)

    Cheers!
    Karol

  3. Interesting observations. I’ve noticed some of the same things. I don’t think (necessarily) it’s because women are more attached to “stuff” (I’ve got a pretty minimalist aesthetic, and so do many women I know), but rather, we are more attached to the idea of “home.” (Even if we’re working hard outside of it. And hiring someone else to clean it.)

    You can see the male-female dynamic at work in the No Impact Man movie … he’s wanting to radically minimalize, while she’s often (it appears in the movie) resenting it all.

    I think the desire for autonomy, adventure, financial freedom, etc., is as strong in men and women, but maybe women have more of a security pull (less likely to take risks with money, less likely to uproot themselves, etc.), and a harder time extricating themselves from the relational matrices (family, friends, etc.) in which their identity is constructed. We’re being socialized differently, so I’m sure those vestiges of our hunter-gatherer roles will disappear, finally.

    I don’t think it’s because women are less comfortable with technology or online business. Food bloggers seem to be mostly women, for example (even though most famous chefs are men …). As are craft bloggers (and I’m sure most of the sellers on Etsy). As for design bloggers, there’s more of a mix, but again, they are mostly women. On the other hand, it seems the personal finance conversation on the web is male-dominated (ironic as women make most of the purchasing decisions …). So I think it depends on what conversation you’re tapping into. The question is why are certain conversations (as the one you’ve honed in on) dominated by one or the other gender.

    I hope that men haven’t cornered the market on “minimalist lifestyle design”!

  4. hi Karol- thanks for the links and the thoughts! I’ve been really enjoying reading your story via your blog and newletters. That is so ironic about all the Brookes! hah. :)

    Elizabeth- I agree with what you say about ‘home’ being what women are attached to. and a sort of rhythm to the day, month, year. good point about the food & craft bloggers- so it’s really just certain conversations online that draw more men, or more women (rather, or are dominated by one gender over the other.)

  5. Hi Brook! I read a lot of the blogs you mentioned regularly and had wondered the same thing – why aren’t there more women writing about this stuff? I’m not sure what the reason is exactly. I agree with a previous commenter that women may be more attached to home, but there are plenty of us who aren’t. For someone who didn’t grow up traveling constantly like I did, I’m sure there is an element of fear – what if some creepy guy attacks me in Barcelona while I’m traveling by myself? etc. But I think living a financially independent life, owning a business, and traveling/living a nomadic life all take an incredible amount of courage and strength, so I would LOVE to see more women out there doing it and sharing their stories!

  6. Very interesting. I have just recently started reading the blogs in this sphere. As most of my reading was in crafts and design, the fact that most of them are men, and white, really stood out to me.

  7. hey Maggie- I think you are right about the fear thing. It hadn’t even occurred to me, but I think most of us walk around constantly on guard- it might be hidden, semi-conscious wariness, but it’s there (and coming from someone who lives in a safe city!)
    thanks for writing :)

    Elizabeth- yeah, I know what you mean! thank you :)

  8. Hi Brooke,

    Thanks for bringing up the topic. Maybe the answer is one of societal context. Women grow up with different expectations to men (I know we all go to work now, but at the end of the day who’s responsible for dinner, the house, the kids?). Maybe it’s not so much attachment to ‘stuff’, but attachement to approval (from family, friends, guys).

    Women are culturally (and maybe instinctively) caretakers and, by and large, ‘community glue’. A guy taking off around the world is paving the way in the New Business and pioneering. A woman contemplating doing the same thing might appear irresponsible (or she might percieve that others would see her that way). I don’t mean that men don’t have community – nomadism is a community in itself. I mean it more in a physical sense, as in ‘whos going to take care of grandma’ kind of way. Or a reluctance to not ‘be there’ for family and friends regualarly in person.

    There’s little point perpetually travelling if a part of your heart is aching for community and the connection that comes from regular hugs and chats. Maybe some women are more aware they might miss that. That said, there’s nothing wrong with regualr trips away, or even with just having the choice to bugger off if she chooses. I’m all for it. I think we women just need a bit more encouragement – we’ll be there soon.

    Thanks so much for the discussion :-)

    Fiona

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