But hasn’t the instinct gotten a little out of hand? Video games, for instance, take time away from other, probably more worthwhile activities, like homework and socializing. “I’d hate to see a push to market more and more games to girls,” says Judith Shulevitz, senior editor at The New Republic (and co-author of TNR’s recent referendum on the future of feminism).
“No one bemoans the gender gap in female dominated activities,” points out journalist Jessica Grose in an email. “Where are the men in knitting or flower arranging?” Or, for that matter, where are the men in Soul Cycle? Marcotte admits that indoor cycling is dominated by women; she estimates that women make up “80 to 100 percent” of most spin classes. Yet she sees no problem. She doesn’t ask whether men feel unwelcome at Soul Cycle, or consider the implications: Are men missing out on the safe exercise of indoor cycling, forced to take their riding to the street, where they risk getting caught in inclement weather or hit by cars?
It’s possible that in a totally gender-equal society, every activity—from gardening and crocheting to taxi-driving and construction work—would have an equal number of male and female practitioners. But combatting each and every gender gap just does not seem productive. Grose, for her part, says she has “zero interest in bicycle commuting in NYC. It’s fucking cold in the winter and I would get run over in a hot minute.” She can stay indoors—at no cost to feminism.