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Is this mainly a guy hobby?


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On 6/2/2021 at 7:10 PM, Patrick_G said:

I’m my experience it’s much more balanced than my other hobbies. Mountain Biking, Fly Fishing and Boating are overwhelmingly white males. 

I laughed out loud at this… my mom loves to fish and her boat is her retirement baby. My dad has to say “no, you want to ask HER if she needs help, not me” when they are out together and she’s shopping for a boating/fishing item. Or “it’s not mine, it’s HER boat” if he goes along for a ride 😂

She has many hilarious stories of bay conversations that started with: “you drive that by yourself? you don’t see many lady fishermen out here.”  And the market is sadly lacking in high quality women’s fishing waders (apparently). 

She questions why I keep glass boxes of “bait” in my house, and has offered to stock my tanks with river findings 😂 

I think I have it easy in this hobby, compared to what the “lady anglers” go through in theirs. 

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@KentFishFanUK @Patrick_G @gjcarew I have to chuckle about gardening being an old person’s hobby because I spent my early 20’s in a hippie town, so almost all my friends loved (and still love) gardening! (I’m only in my early 30’s so I don’t think I count as old yet… 😁) Enough of us were plant geneticists, homesteaders, landscape architects, etc. that I think it just rubbed off on the rest. I grew flowers, herbs and tomatoes in pots on my fire escape. Others went the community garden route. My 24 year old sister is into nonprofit food justice and I think all her friends love gardening too 😄 I think it just depends on the circle you move in. I also think it’s picking up among the younger generation who are concerned about the environment. 

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Woman here so yes we are present.   Both my LFS's are owned by men but the one I visit the most is almost fully staffed by females. I do see more male customers then female customers when I'm in the LFS but not outrageously so.   No, I don't favor the LFS I use because of the women, I just like going into a store that is reasonably clean and the other LFS seems to struggle with maintenance.  I do see more women then men in my betta and goldfish groups.  Of course, this is all antedotal, I guess we would need a survey for a more complete picture.  

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On 6/2/2021 at 4:00 PM, CalmedByFish said:

Not that it matters, but I'm curious.

I just realized I often hear of wives who want their husband to stop getting more tanks, but not much about husbands who want their wife to stop getting tanks. (I realize not all partnerships are M/F, nor are individuals, but I'm thinking statistically here.) Is the aquarium hobby more often a guy hobby?

In my experience there’s definitely a lot more guys but weirdly that how a lot of my Hobby’s are like rc cars I couldn’t name 1 girl in that hobby 

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I think it’s also a hobby that draws people who experienced it as kids… I know it did for me. Had fish when I was ten that I of course overstocked and gave ich regularly. Got back into it last year in my 30s wanting to do it right! My wife never had that experience so doesn’t quite get it (but I will say, is more tolerant than I’d expect!)

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On 6/2/2021 at 6:00 PM, CalmedByFish said:

I just realized I often hear of wives who want their husband to stop getting more tanks, but not much about husbands who want their wife to stop getting tanks.

In my experience, no matter the hobby, barring those deeply, culturally, categorized as feminine, men seem to be the more obsessed/dedicated depending on your outlook.  Like all things, this is not an absolute, but a generalization.  Somewhere back I read a few psychological studies trying to figure out why that is.  The answers, from what I can recall, ranged from men having more free time than women in most societies, to a male drive to "excel" at something.  I came away from those readings no more sure of the drivers of this pattern than I was before, but even more confident of why psychology is not science. 

Locally, this manifests itself for me in the plant growing clubs I am a part of.  I know that from an economic perspective most gardening and plant purchase dollars are spent by women.  But nearly all of the plant specific clubs in the area (from succulents to bonsai) are predominantly men.  Men are the officers in the clubs, and make up most of the membership.  They just seem to get more obsessed with their hobbies.  This forum seems a more balanced mix of the hobby than other places.  That alone speaks well for this forum IMO. 

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On 8/21/2021 at 9:25 AM, Patrick_G said:

it’s interesting  that your plant clubs are predominantly men. I have the opposite experience

Agreed.  Garden clubs tend to be female dominated in the States.  Indeed our two largest around here are restricted to female members.  Also, the clubs for African violets and roses are largely older ladies.  But even things like the hosta club here seem to have a bit of a male bias (note, I am not a member of all of these clubs, but run into them at the State Fair, which is a big deal in Minnesota!). 

Some of it is how it's presented as well.  "Gardening" around here tends to be about making a nice looking yard and female dominated, where as folks doing "permaculture" are more male, despite the fact they are both doing gardening in their yards.  A great deal of this is likely cultural.  I'm given to understand that in the UK allotment gardening tends to be more male dominated, especially for those with the largest plots (though I'd love to learn if my understanding of this is off!). 

My crux of my prior point is that I think there is likely an apparency issue even if the breakdown is fairly even between the sexes; with males tending to get more over the top in their efforts, leading to greater involvement, and creating the impression of greater male participation.  But importantly, I don't have data to back me up.  And I have little interest in going back through psych literature again.  So in my view, if anyone disagrees with me, they are just as correct as I might be.  😁

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On 8/21/2021 at 5:47 AM, ChemBob said:

In my other hobby, the large hobby organizations does an annual survey to see a number of thing about the hobbyists, including demographics. Its anonymous, and i always find the results interesting. Maybe thats something the Aquarium Coop club can do? @Zenzo

One thing that we often look at is the viewership on YouTube. We have analytics on YouTube that breaks viewership down by gender, age, country, viewing device, etc. As an example, on my channel, over the last 90 days, 85.5% of my viewers are male. On the Aquarium Co-Op channel, viewers over the last 90 days were 81.9% male. 

I know that Cory and I both would like to see more females involved in the hobby.

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I would also really like to see more women featured as speakers at aquatic and fishkeeping events. I really appreciated that the first speaker for Aquarium Coop's club was a young women. I was looking at the lineup of speakers at the ALA convention in Florida in October, and it's literally all older white men. I work at an organization where we are responsible for organizing a number of panels and events, and we have made it a company policy to avoid "manels" - all-male panel discussions - by featuring at least one woman as a speaker on all panels. We also try to feature at least one non-white speaker as well. If we want this hobby to feel open and welcoming to everyone, large conventions and even local clubs should work to have a more diverse representation in the speakers and experts that they bring in. Aquarium Coop does a great job with this, and I would love to see it use its influence to encourage other businesses and organizations to do the same.

On that note, I would be interested in seeing statistics on the racial makeup of this hobby. I have to say, I have seen an overwhelming number of white faces representing the hobby in various venues.

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On 8/21/2021 at 12:27 PM, Ragnarok1200 said:

I would also really like to see more women featured as speakers at aquatic and fishkeeping events. I really appreciated that the first speaker for Aquarium Coop's club was a young women. I was looking at the lineup of speakers at the ALA convention in Florida in October, and it's literally all older white men. I work at an organization where we are responsible for organizing a number of panels and events, and we have made it a company policy to avoid "manels" - all-male panel discussions - by featuring at least one woman as a speaker on all panels. We also try to feature at least one non-white speaker as well. If we want this hobby to feel open and welcoming to everyone, large conventions and even local clubs should work to have a more diverse representation in the speakers and experts that they bring in. Aquarium Coop does a great job with this, and I would love to see it use its influence to encourage other businesses and organizations to do the same.

On that note, I would be interested in seeing statistics on the racial makeup of this hobby. I have to say, I have seen an overwhelming number of white faces representing the hobby in various venues.

Right on! I’m a mostly German old white guy and I agree 100%. 

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On 8/21/2021 at 10:20 AM, Zenzo said:

One thing that we often look at is the viewership on YouTube. We have analytics on YouTube that breaks viewership down by gender, age, country, viewing device, etc. As an example, on my channel, over the last 90 days, 85.5% of my viewers are male. On the Aquarium Co-Op channel, viewers over the last 90 days were 81.9% male. 

I know that Cory and I both would like to see more females involved in the hobby.

@Zenzo knows this for sure,  but it bears pointing out that the trends of "cord cutting" and increased proliferation of actually usable "smart TVs" mean that self produced content is being  consumed more and more on "big screens" with multiple viewers.  Are YouTube's analytics way off...no...but in my household there's frequently females viewing content under my (sure to be attributed to a male) login- either solo or along with me.

A couple of my general observations and thoughts:

*  Trying to keep this positive,  so here it goes.  It seems like many of the female content producers spend *a lot* of time, money, and focus on their personal appearance when creating content.  I would hope that this is because they want to do this rather than feel that they feel pressured that they have to do this....but given that most male content producers seem comfortable appearing in t-shirts, shorts, and varying days worth of facial hair growth,  the disparity is hard to miss.  I know that at the end of the day it's all about subscribers and views,  but I hope that content sponsors make sure that everyone they sponsor feels equally as empowered to have the appearance and grooming that they're comfortable with.

* Nearly all of the female content producers out there seem to be either solo or part of a wife-husband duo.  Seems like the doors are wide open for someone to come in as two or more female team as something unique (would potentially help split the costs and work load too).  

* Building on the solo part again.  I see old "masters" producing content about the deep "never do this/always do that" knowledge that they've learned over decades while I see women simultaneously producing content where they're showing themselves make basic beginner/intermediate mistakes.  There's obviously opportunity here to create some partnerships that would both accelerate knowledge and make for engaging content.

 

Edited by NanoNano
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It's taken me over half and hour to decide if I want to send this because the backlash in this area can be so swift and reflexive.  Crossing my fingers that won't be the case.  I decided to do so because I believe that this forum specifically is a welcoming place, and I have concerns that trying to focus on everyone's identity could undermine what I think is such a refreshingly open and generous place on the internet. 

On 8/21/2021 at 2:27 PM, Ragnarok1200 said:

I work at an organization where we are responsible for organizing a number of panels and events, and we have made it a company policy to avoid "manels" - all-male panel discussions - by featuring at least one woman as a speaker on all panels. We also try to feature at least one non-white speaker as well.

Without trying to be controversial here, I'd say that it in my view depends a bit.  If the white male panel is representative of the members (or group, or whatever association we are talking about here) then a "manel" should be viewed as potentially appropriate, or at least not anathema.  Contriving one to fit a view of "representation" that is not reflective of the group is not...  Well, representative, assuming that is the goal. 

On 8/21/2021 at 2:27 PM, Ragnarok1200 said:

If we want this hobby to feel open and welcoming to everyone, large conventions and even local clubs should work to have a more diverse representation in the speakers and experts that they bring in.

So, I'd push back against this assertion a bit too, as common as it is.  Does a Renaissance Fair need to have a properly "repetitive" group of "knights" jousting for people of all background to feel welcome?  I would hope not as that type of event is likely to attract people of European ancestry.  Not exclusively, but perhaps in a non-representative way in relation to the broader population.  I can't even imagine how the Tibetan folk festival I've attended would accomplish this constructed "representative" ratio of faces. 

My point is this,  Yes, I believe groups should be welcoming to all those who are interested, and that probably takes a bit of going out of the way to make those who are not currently well represented in that group see that they are welcome there.  But I believe it is also just as easy to go too far with this effort in crafting "proper" proportions of exactly the "right" diversity.  In some cases, certain interests may not lend themselves to that for reasons that aren't at all obvious.  I'm not suggesting that is the case for aquariums.  Nor that being inclusive isn't a good thing.  Simply that extensive efforts to craft the "correct" proportion of representation is a fraught arena.  You can be as open and welcoming as is possible and never achieve an outcome that reflects the broader societal proportions, but that doesn't mean the group hasn't been welcoming and open.  It's a case where the outcome doesn't necessarily tell you the driver of that result.  It can.  But it is by no means a 100% causative. 

*I am sure I have offended people with this, though it was in no way my intention to do so.  Of late, I find I receive the harshest criticism from people with whom I fundamentally agree on goals but may disagree on details of the means to achieve those goals.  So I would ask, before you blast me (here I mean the general English "you" being anyone who felt offended, rather than the specific English "you" which would relate to a specific person), whether you think you and I disagree on the end goal that being welcoming and inclusive should be accomplished, or if we disagree on what means might be best to accomplish that goal? 

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@OnlyGenusCaps You're all good, no offense at all. It's a legit conversation, and I'm glad to be challenged on it! I'm not trying to co-opt this post and turn it into "woke" tirade or something, so apologies if this is taking away from the initial spirit of the thread.

When I say that events should be representative, I am speaking only within certain contexts. For example, I work in the field of promoting democracy around the world. I specifically supporting democracy advocacy groups in West Africa. A desire for democratic government is not tied to one particular demographic, country, or culture, so an effort should be made to bring all kinds of people into that conversation. A women from East Africa and a man from South America have extremely different experiences with democracy, and their voices should be highlighted. If we has an open democracy event and only have white American men on a panel discussing global democracy, we are missing out on A LOT.

On 8/21/2021 at 5:18 PM, OnlyGenusCaps said:

So, I'd push back against this assertion a bit too, as common as it is.  Does a Renaissance Fair need to have a properly "repetitive" group of "knights" jousting for people of all background to feel welcome?  I would hope not as that type of event is likely to attract people of European ancestry.  Not exclusively, but perhaps in a non-representative way in relation to the broader population.  I can't even imagine how the Tibetan folk festival I've attended would accomplish this constructed "representative" ratio of faces. 

Nobody is asking for people of East Asian decent to be knights at the renaissance fair, there is a logical reason for everyone to by white in an effort to be "historically accurate." IT would be really out of place. and yeah, Tibetans should take front and center at a Tibetan folk festival, no questions asked, and nobody else can claim to know their culture better than them. But would it be jarring to have a Filipino women as a speaker at ALA?

Fishkeeping is different. It isn't tied to one demographic, culture, or country. It is a hobby for everyone, and there are extremely experienced fishkeepers of all genders and races from all around the world that can each bring something unique to events like ALA. They are out there, we just need to make an effort to find them and showcase them. If you think about it, by only featuring older, white, male hobbyists, we as a community are really missing out on a whole lot of really good knowledge out there. Gianne Souza is a great example (shoutout again to the Coop). Was her presentation any less interesting than a presentation by a white man? I would argue her experience as a Show Betta judge is different as a young woman, and that is a perspective I'm really interested in hearing more from. And more so, seeing her as an Aquarium Coop featured speaker is an important message that the Coop believes that experts in this hobby come in all races and genders.

Edited by Ragnarok1200
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I think that the question is valid, and I think that there have been some thoughtful answers.

With that being said, I am going to ask that the topic steer back to fish and fish keeping, as some of the responses have been borderline which some may find offensive or inappropriate for this forum.

Thank you!

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Hopefully this is okay.  I just want to thank @Ragnarok1200 for your grace and courtesy in your reply!  Sounds like you do very important work, and it's wonderful to get your input. 

That's it.  I'm not trying to run afoul of @Zenzo or any of the other admins or the mods.  Frankly, I think their careful curation of this forum is a big reason it is such a wonderful community. 

I'm done.  I'll shut up on this now. 🤐

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I have spend the last 20 minutes reading this thread and it is very intresting. I am in my late 30's and hubby has said no more tanks. Mind you due to space there is not practical room for more. My local fish store is owned by a husband and wife team. Their daughter is the Manger and in the 9 years I have been going to them I have not seen a single male employee(other then owner). The women are all extremely knowledgeable and are amazing at what they do. My 12 year old daughter also has a tank. That is my experience. 

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