A profile of the Wing’s cofounders has kicked up the usual back-and-forth about the women’s coworking space slash social club. The Wing’s critics, as always, have taken issue with its feminist branding and “safe space” promotional rhetoric, arguing that a safe space with cost-exclusionary membership fees—upwards of $2,700 annually—isn’t a safe space for all. Many members of the Wing have stepped in to defend the company’s services, praising the lovely, man-free spaces it provides.
I agree that the spaces are lovely—or at least the one I visited in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood is. I also agree that not hanging out with men is great, but you don’t have to spend nearly $3,000 to do it. It’s easy. Just stop. Women—like the cultural inheritors of the vintage lesbians you’ll find aestheticized all over the Wing’s Instagram—do it all the time.
I understand why one might want to hang out with men. As someone who does it all the time, I understand what kind of material rewards are bestowed upon women who maintain a close proximity to men and what’s denied of those who don’t. Working for men might earn you more money, dating men might help you build the marriage and family you want, and doing both might increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to own a house some day. In the patriarchal culture we call home, an investment in men is an investment in yourself. But hanging out with other women is priceless—something the Wing knows all too well, or else it wouldn’t try to sell you the no boys allowed experience for up to $250 a month.