Home Theater, A/V Equipment, and Gender

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  • Chris D
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Dec 2000
    • 16877

    Home Theater, A/V Equipment, and Gender

    You know, I was thinking: The world of A/V enthusiasts and home theater freaks, of which I'm admittedly a member, is mostly populated by men. That seems to be just a fact. What I've wondered about is why. I came across an article on the Klipsch website touching on this issue from the female perspective:

    Home Audio Products for Every Lifestyle, Application & Budget. Since 1946, no compromises in Legendary Sound. Free Shipping on All Online Orders in the US.


    I find it disappointing that we don't see more women that are A/V enthusiasts, and I wonder if we just scare them away for perhaps subtle reasons. Conceptually, love of movies, good sound, and music, is something I think both genders enjoy equally. I have never seen any statistics, but I would venture to guess that men and women buy the media of music and movies in relatively equal proportions. So why do aren't there more women that participate in the equipment side of our hobbies, to make those movies and music albums look and sound better for more enjoyment? While women are certainly out there that are into A/V and home theater, they appear to be the exception, not the norm. Some possibilities I've come up with:

    1. Lots of A/V stuff is geared towards "gadgets". And when it comes to buying, tinkering with, and calibrating "gadgets", for whatever reason unknown to me, this appeals to men more than women. Could this be a stereotype that our society has perpetuated (to use some buzz words here) that technical stuff like electronics, mathematics, and physics are something for men, not being ladylike? Or is it something actually inherent in the gender? The A/V industry creating easy-to-setup-and-use equipment like Home Theater in a Box seems to appeal to women by reducing the confusion of complex setups.

    2. Women seem to instinctively appreciate more of the asthetic side of products. Thank goodness for that, too, as I wouldn't even think of a lot of the issues my wife brings up, and with few exceptions they end up making everything look better. I'm all for making things look good, but my priority is strict performance and function, regardless of how it looks. I think women may be scared off from A/V and home theater hobbies due to the stigma of big unsightly equipment. Again, I think the industry making products like small Bose speaker cubes appeals to women. I don't have a problem with that when the products maintain proper functional performance, but when they compromise picture and sound reproduction for a shiny little box (ahem... BOSE) it ticks me off because then people start thinking THAT's the ideal component without having any basis of comparison.

    3. Equipment sales. Hmmm... I feel totally comfortable putzing around A/V stores, browsing for the latest equipment. I'm not a people person, though, so I usually like to just be left alone by the sales reps and look on my own. Trying to envision what equipment shopping must be like for a woman, though, I can see that it would be somewhat intimidating, especially with some nosy salespeople. This might be akin to car buying, where women sometimes feel intimidated because they don't feel like they know technical stuff very well and are afraid they're going to be sold something they don't really need because they don't know better. Whether this is true or not is another issue, as there's certainly many guys out there that wouldn't know the difference between good and bad speakers either. The difference may be that men often THINK they know what they're doing, making them feel more comfortable in a sales environment.

    Whatcha guys think? Should we start a recruiting drive to try and bring high A/V fidelity to the sexes equally?




    CHRIS
    Luke: "Hey, I'm not such a bad pilot myself, you know"
    CHRIS

    Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
    - Pleasantville
  • Andrew Pratt
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 16507

    #2
    Interesting:T




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    • aud19
      Twin Moderator Emeritus
      • Aug 2003
      • 16706

      #3
      Very interesting article! I too am puzzled about the other half's general non-intrest in A/V. My girlfriend loves watching movies and listening to music. Just a couple weeks ago, on a Friday evening, we listened to Elton John's greatest hits for a while followed by our copy of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours DVD-A and we're constantly watching DVD's.... Yet she won't use any of the stuff on her own even though I've encouraged it and even walked through how to use the stuff.... :? I know she loves music too because she blares her music in the car even louder than me (which is saying a lot) I don't know how women in general, or my girlfriend specifically, could love movies and music so much and not want to be more involved in getting fuller enjoyment out of them? Maybe I don't understand because I'm a man? (We are really just simple creatures aren't we boys...lol)

      Jason




      Need a new display? Questions about new display technologies? Visit RPTVs, plasmas, and other monitors @ HTguide
      Jason

      Comment

      • Lex
        Moderator Emeritus
        • Apr 2001
        • 27461

        #4
        Good post Chris, and interesting article. I think there's a lot of potential out there for the women's market. The key is educate, educate, educate. But I don't know how that can be accomplished. There are a few women that post around the boards. We even had one as a moderator at one time, until she just vanished for no apparent reason. We do have Ellen that posts here some, many of you may not know it's "her" by her monikor though.

        If I had to sum up the reasons why we don't see more women in our hobby?

        1. Intimidation. Lack of knowledge contributes to an intimidating feeling when walking into an AV store. Let's face it, we have all been intimidated at one time or another. Imagine the average woman, and multiply your own "fears" by about 50 times, and we might have some clue how many of them feel inside an AV store. In a word, most are just clueless.

        2. It's just not "that important" to them in the grand scheme of things. Redbook, shopping for new dresses, shoes, tanning and other things such as that more interest many of the women. If the TV works, why do I need all that stuff attitude?

        3. Maybe many stereotype (no pun intended) stereo equipment as a guy thing? More power, big speakers, heavy stuff. Suddenly, these acromyms make them feel like they are at Sears in the hardware section looking at tool boxes and they are looking for a way out.

        I think this partially explains the success of things like the Bose lifestyles systems with women. Easy to connect, light, managable. All the things stereo equipment is to us, isn't necessarily what they want for them. Many want an easy to use, simple to setup, boombox type system. Bose knocks on their doors with infomercials, and we never see them in the stores to convince them it's not that hard and they can do it. Either that, or it's automatically classified as something for the husband in marriages, and he takes care of it.

        Lex
        Doug
        "I'm out there Jerry, and I'm loving every minute of it!" - Kramer

        Comment

        • Chris D
          Moderator Emeritus
          • Dec 2000
          • 16877

          #5
          Yeah, I think the intimidation thing is a factor when it comes down to walking into a store and actually buying equipment. But it's still different, in that I enjoy just walking into decent A/V stores and browsing around to see what's on the market and how items are set up. (sometimes I scream in fright, though, as I see or hear the store "experts" do something TOTALLY wrong, leading customers astray, usually unintentially) I would venture to say that most women have no inclination to just browse A/V stores.

          In contrast, maybe the opposite situation would be the equivalent of me buying lingerie in Victoria's Secret. I have NO inclination to just browse through VS, although there are attractive women there sometimes. :boobies: And if I went in to buy something for my wife, and a sales lady tried to help me, I would feel rather lost and intimidated, not knowing a darn thing about the subject. I'd just buy what my wife told me to get, what the sales lady helps me pick out, and then get out of there.




          CHRIS
          Luke: "Hey, I'm not such a bad pilot myself, you know"
          CHRIS

          Well, we're safe for now. Thank goodness we're in a bowling alley.
          - Pleasantville

          Comment

          • George Bellefontaine
            Moderator Emeritus
            • Jan 2001
            • 7637

            #6
            On the positive side, I have noticed that many of the home theater magazines have women editors and writers. The recent issue of Home Theater Builder Magazine had articles written by ladies who work in the A/V industry. So maybe women are catching up now that home theaters are becoming such a big thing. Heck, even La-Z-Boy chairs are now into special chairs for home theaters.




            My Homepage!
            My Homepage!

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            • Neal_C
              Senior Member
              • Feb 2003
              • 212

              #7
              My wife and I usually shop for electronics together. Its more my hobby, but she loves what we have and definitely isn't afraid to use it on her own.

              I think intimidation is a big factor, but I am happy to say that my wife has bought two pieces of equipment all by herself. First was a Monster HTS3600. She got it shortly after they came out when it was retailing for $500 (thats what the local store had it for anyway). I had been looking at them online and had found it for $350. She went into the store and asked the salesman if he would price match. He said he would if he could call the online store and talk to them to verify price. So she gave him the web page, he called, and it was hers for $350 plus tax.

              In the other instance, she stopped by the store on her way home to see if she liked the look of the Rotel 1055. (We had Pioneer Elite and she liked the glossy finish). She trusted me that it sounded good and would be better sounding than our Elite 35TX. She liked the look, negotiated 12% off, and it was ours.

              Just my experiences so far with women in the HT world.


              Neal

              Comment

              • Lex
                Moderator Emeritus
                • Apr 2001
                • 27461

                #8
                Neal, it's nice to see your wife isn't afraid to get involved!

                Next she will be saying, let me see the back panel of these two pieces and I'll make a decision.

                Lex
                Doug
                "I'm out there Jerry, and I'm loving every minute of it!" - Kramer

                Comment

                • Mats
                  Special Member
                  • Jun 2000
                  • 1326

                  #9
                  Let's face it, women are not going to be interested, generally speaking. How many men are interested in the "Martha Stewart" way of life? I'm no chauvanist (sp?), but there are clear borders of what men and women generally find interest in. There are stragglers on both sides of the line, but for the most part, we'll never really see an influx of interest from our better halves!

                  My girlfriend loves her Rush, some country and other assorted vocalists. But... she doesn't care if it's played on a Bose or on my system. That's a microcosm of how women feel about a/v.
                  Mats
                  Mats Strömberg
                  Ah! It's a profit deal! Takes the pressure off! Get your weight guessed right here! Only a buck! Actual live weight guessing! Take a chance and win some crap!
                  Navin R Johnson (alias Steve Martin)

                  Comment

                  • Neal_C
                    Senior Member
                    • Feb 2003
                    • 212

                    #10
                    Lex,

                    That would be perfectly fine with me. I actually try to gradually teach her things about hooking them up, etc, so that if I'm gone and something goes wrong, she could fix it herself, or atleast know what she is doing if I have to guide her through fixing over the phone.

                    It only seems right that she use the HT equipment when I'm not around since her paychecks flip most of the bills (well actually all the bills right now)

                    Comment

                    • LEVESQUE
                      Senior Member
                      • Oct 2002
                      • 344

                      #11
                      After reading this thread, I went to my wife and ask her the ''why?'' question.

                      She told me she's simply not interested by all this. Plain and simple. She likes listening to a good film, but she don't care for the quality of the sound or the picture.

                      She told me that a 19 inches TV would be ok for her. No need for the projector I'm planning to buy soon. :roll: She did fall asleep in the middle of X-Men 2, when it was playing well above reference level!

                      She likes to sit and enjoy listening to a good SACD or DVD-A. But she don't ''see'' or ''hear'' any difference when i change a piece of equipment, usually. :cry:

                      In a word. She's not interested. That's all. each time I want to upgrade, I always have to answer to ''do you really need to change that?''... 8O
                      To spend more $$$ on electronics without first addressing room acoustics is fruitless IMO.

                      Comment

                      • aud19
                        Twin Moderator Emeritus
                        • Aug 2003
                        • 16706

                        #12
                        We feel your pain.... I get dirty looks if my girlfriend and I even walk by an electronics area in a department store 8O Though I do have to say she was quite understanding when I did my most recent binge of "upgrading". Also, she does enjoy the big TV and the big sound of the stereo (most of the time anyway ) Though I do get reminded from her often that... "my ring better be as big as that TV and cost at least as much", whenever I do something "manly" (ie: stupid...lol) As you said I get the impression she's just not all that interested in it, sure she likes watching movies etc with all of it but unlike you or I, she could really care less how it works.

                        Jason




                        Need a new display? Questions about new display technologies? Visit RPTVs, plasmas, and other monitors @ HTguide
                        Jason

                        Comment

                        • Scarp
                          Senior Member
                          • Mar 2003
                          • 632

                          #13
                          There are quite a lot of women active in the A/V stuff. I know several members of another forum whose wifes/gf's totally support them and are just as enthousiastic about the equipment.

                          However, I think usually their interest is more towards the end result sometimes. However they can be just as nuts as many of us are, with even thinking about sound quality when buying a new couch!

                          Btw, what about the remotes some companies give. Do your wifes/gfs understand that? I'm happy with my parasound which supplies the MX700 with the little sidekick. My gf should understand that remote instead of the other big one

                          Comment

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