6 years, 9 months on Open Salon__________________________


New York, New York,
April 22

MAY 1, 2012 7:13PM

What, no women? Ask This Old House...

Rate: 9 Flag



Going back to 2002 Ask This Old House has been piggybacked to the long running PBS series This Old House as the second half of an hour long program on many stations. Given that it is now ten years since the show was added to the PBS line up it is worth reflecting upon Ask This Old House not including any women as part of its regular cast. It's always the four regulars yukking it up in their barn workshop that gives the appearance that a sign hangs over the entrance door stating "No girls allowed!"

Another show that I have watched over a decade and a half's period is Hometime which from its earliest days included a woman as one half of the regular team. Dean Johnson has been the guy throughout the years of the show and the female co-hosts have changed a few times, but there was always a woman present to help hang a window or raise up a framed wall!

Having spent four years in art school where I saw female students enrolled in all of the majors that were available I saw no shortage of women welding steel, building furniture, or glassblowing, which were among the more rigorous and dangerous classes. 

So, I can't help but to notice that Ask This Old House seems like a throwback to an age before gender equality and gives the appearance of being sexist!




Hometime...equal in the gender department!




From Wikipedia:

Ask This Old House began in 2002 and was spun off from a section of This Old House Magazine of the same name. Readers of the magazine or viewers of the show submit questions about various home repair or improvement projects, which are answered by the experts. It has been nominated for 5 Emmy Awards. The regulars on the show are O'Connor, Tom Silva, Richard Trethewey and Roger Cook. (This Old House veteran Norm Abram does not appear on Ask This Old House due to numerous other commitments on Abram's part, notably his involvement in The New Yankee Workshop.) Guest experts appear to answer more specialized questions. The show takes place in "the loft" of a rural barn somewhere in the Boston area. Most of the questions are answered in the loft, but one or two homeowners in each episode receive a visit from one of the show's three tradesmen (or a guest tradesman if the project is not construction, plumbing/heating or landscaping related such as electrical or painting projects), who assist in either starting or completing the task with the homeowners' help. O'Connor sometimes assists in these projects. There is also a feature entitled "What Is It?" in which three of the four regulars try to guess what an unusual tool is used for. The adjudicating fourth regular reveals the actual use. Beginning with the 2007/08 season, this program added a "useful tip" segment provided by a viewer of the show. The useful tip segment is a revival of a short-lived feature of This Old House when Vila hosted the show.

The opening credits feature a GMC van towing the blue Ask This Old House trailer around Boston and rural Massachusetts before reaching its final destination, the barn. The short, twenty-five-second version shows Silva, the passenger, picking up four coffees from a drive-through, while the driver in the longer, forty-second version is shown to be O'Connor. In both versions, after pulling into the driveway beside the barn, the footage cuts to Richard Trethewey handing out the coffees to the other three regulars.

Prior to O'Connor's installation as host, the driver was Steve Thomas, the host for the show's first year.







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I still like Tool Time with Tim Allen. What? :D
I used to love watching Joanne Liebeler on Hometime. She was spunky and competent and I think my husband found her very appealing. Then we'd watch This Old House and it was This Old Stale Show and New Yankee Workshop where we'd make fun of Norm's love of biscuits (the wooden kind).
Um, I'm thinking those fellas are really jealous of letting gals handle their power tools. What!? No, really!
Just so long as the lot of them keep their hands off my power tools I'll be a happy woman. I'd be even happier if they kept their faces off my television as well.
No special answer to your question, just an observation from some years as a developer - the only women contractors I knew and hired were landscapers. Can't say I fault that choice - breathing fiberglass, getting splinters, and spitting chew aren't my favorite activities either.
My default philosophy is that there is nothing we can't figure out if we invented it. What do the computer geeks say? RTFM.
That said, I also enjoy the premise of men doing things that I don't particularly feel like doing, and I wander away so they can frustrate themselves for hours doing it. I would probably enjoy women doing it, but due to some weird gender divide they are usually drinking wine on the porch and making fun of people with me. I am always delighted when someone from either gender decides to make the leap to the porch. There are also highly trained people who can fix things, which is my ace in the hole. I know how to change spark plugs, oil and even replace a distributer cap. But why would I take that work from the competent people who do it in five seconds compared to my three hours?
The show definitely has an old-time feel to it that is not always positive. One way to get women on the show is for women (and men) to boycott the show's sponsors. That sort of direct financial action usually works.
Old homes are like mysteries of time and place with the secrets from within that no one will ever know. Thanks for this and pointing the woman out as well.
Tink, Bellwether, CC, MrsR, Joe, Alison, Mary, and Algis ~ many, many thanks for your great comments on this issue!
Thanks for pointing this act. I don't believe I have seen either of these shows -- at least I haven't seen This Old House in some time -- but we do end up watching a lot of these "home reno" shows. It seems a little more mixed on some of the other shows we watch.
Sorry ... I meant "Thanks for pointing this out" ... whoopsy daisy.