In a Thursday story on the return of coworking spaces, the New York Times reported on how The Wing is trying to attract new and returning members at a time when there are more options than ever. According to the Times, new competition has arrived on the scene in the form of large corporations like IBM and Palantir, which are now fighting for a piece of the pie, as well as a growing number of smaller businesses, like local restaurants and homeowners who have opened their spaces to remote workers.
As a result, The Wing has had to rethink its approach. After reopening its Manhattan locations in May, the latest iteration of The Wing reportedly includes a few notable changes, including “small touches, like free tote bags and scented candles, and broader structural ones that address last year’s criticisms, including a diverse advisory board, new racial justice initiatives and diversity training,” according to the Times.
Another noticeable difference, one member told the outlet, is that there seems to be more men sharing the space. From the Times:
Bea Arthur, a mental health counselor, joined The Wing four years ago and recently returned. “I’m a tough girl, I was like ‘nuh uh,’ all the pink,” Ms. Arthur said of her initial hesitation to become a member. “But they nailed the vibe. There’s a lot of diversity. I’m very glad it’s back.” Her biggest surprise upon return? More men working there.
Perhaps not unrelatedly, it looks like The Wing has made some changes to its aesthetic—namely, its signature millennial pink decor. Recent posts on The Wing’s Instagram page show off sea-foam green—dare I say, Warren green?— and dark blue walls with more neutral furnishings. (Jezebel has reached out to The Wing for comment; we’ll update this story if we hear back.)
It is tempting to read into even the smallest of details when it comes to The Wing, since it continues to be a somewhat overdetermined signifier of contemporary feminism. Still, it’s hard not to see some of these reported changes as acknowledging the shortcomings of liberal feminism, the ideology at the heart of the belief that a women-only coworking space would automatically be a feminist one. But if anyone still held onto these fantasies of solidarity in 2020, they were shattered when Black women spoke out about the way they had been mistreated by the company and its members. More than a year later, some people remain skeptical that the reforms put in place are enough to transform The Wing’s culture. If there are indeed more men and freshly painted walls that await Wing members, it seems to be a tacit admission that it might be better if The Wing were just another coworking space.
“Makeover!” an Instagram user responded to a June post from The Wing, adding the heart eyes emoji. Another user responded: “Systemic makeover first.”