Feature

Manland: IKEA's day-care for husbands

The Scandinavian furniture maker tries to put men (and women) in their place

The video: An IKEA store in Australia has come up with an idea to lure in retail-phobic men — it set up a man cave with video games and free hot dogs, where guys can hang out while their wives and girlfriends shop (see the video below). The space looks like one of the Swedish furniture giant's living room displays, with sports playing nonstop on flat-screen TVs. It also has a pinball machine and a foosball table. Inspired by the child-care room, Smaland, found in every IKEA, the Sydney store calls its manly day-care Manland. To make sure the men don't get abandoned, their mates get a buzzer that goes off after 30 minutes, announcing it's time to pick them up. Manland was a four-day experiment, meant to offer women a spending reprieve from "whining husbands" over Father's Day weekend, says a sales associate. "We're expecting the scheme to be a real success with both sexes."

The reaction: This is pathetic, says Irin Carmon at Jezebel. Of course guys prefer playing video games to buying sofas — "women probably would rather do a lot of other things, too." Treating men like "whining children" only makes them act that way, and reinforces the notion that "only women can do stuff like laundry." Have a heart, says Kris Matheson at Artisan Complete. It's torture for men to get "dragged through the labyrinth" at IKEA and asked about whether they prefer "the peach or fuschia sofa." The only problem is that Manland is not a permanent part of IKEAs everywhere. Actually, there are a number of "loopholes," says Sarah Firshein at Curbed. What about gay couples, and who can navigate IKEA in 30 minutes? But the real question is whether Manland has "set retail shopping forward by three decades or set gender equality back by three decades — you decide." Take a look at a news report on Manland: 

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