Ms. Fix-It? Why not?

Is it really so hard to comprehend women who can do their own repairs? I can wield a caulk gun like one of the boys with no real trouble, and so can many of my female friends. Most of them are very involved in the care of their homes, beyond the traditional kitchen and cleaning roles. Among my friends, at least, this still holds true even when they’re married or otherwise paired off: women can fix things and do many of the repairs themselves.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kay Hymowitz noticed this trend in the guise of new products touting themselves as more female-friendly, from pink tool belts to pink hack-saws. As she explains:

It’s not hard to see what’s driving the fad: Women are increasingly home alone and emboldened. Perhaps the largest group eager to seize the pink hammer is single young women. Many of today’s young women are marrying well into their 20s; an increasing number are waiting until their 30s. But they often aren’t waiting for that gold band before they commit to a house or condo. The National Association of Realtors reports that in 2006 single women made up 22% of the U.S. real-estate market; the median age for first-time single female buyers was 32. It helps that having grown up with computers, cellphones and iPods, this you-go-girl! generation doesn’t look at small machinery the way Barbie looked at math. These women are not only gung-ho about buying a home on their own dime; they’re ready to lay the tile and patch the drywall too.

Well, yes, that’s true. But we don’t need special pink tools to do it. When I moved into my first apartment, my mom gave me a small toolbox filled with the basics – a couple screwdrivers, a hammer to hang pictures, basic pliers. Around each one, she had tied a pink ribbon, and the bottom of my little red toolbox was lined in pink satin. It was very cute.

Since then, most of those original tools have been replaced by sturdier versions to meet their big-girl roles. The ribbons fell off pretty quickly, and the little red box has been replaced by Big Red as new needs have merited things I would have never thought of back in that dark little studio, like an outlet tester.

But I must say, I do still use that little hammer, since its lighter weight is easier to heft, especially when up on a ladder. So perhaps there’s a market for these girly tools after all.


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