do-it-herselfer
(doo-it-hur.SELF.ur) n. A woman who performs some or all of her home‘s repair, maintenance, and construction jobs.
do-it-herself adj.

Example Citation:
On their first anniversary, LeShaun Williams's husband gave her a cordless drill. For Christmas, he bought her a circular saw. For her birthday in June, she got a RotoZip, a power tool designed to spin through tile, laminate, wood and drywall.

He knows what makes her happy: tearing into the house. Williams is one of a growing number of dedicated do-it-herselfers. Women now tackle repair and remodeling projects in half of American households, according to information from RotoZip, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer. (By the way, in case you hadn't noticed, Ace Hardware has changed its motto from "The Helpful Hardware Man" to the "Helpful Hardware Folks.")
—Patricia Dane Rogers, "The Thrill of the Drill," The Washington Post, September 20, 2001

Earliest Citation:
Little girls raised in the traditions of the 1950s have had to overcome not just cultural stereotypes but their own fears of the demons under the woodwork to become the handywomen of the '90s.
—Alice Kahn, "Do-it-herselfers: Women are invading the male turf beneath the sink and in the workshop," The San Francisco Chronicle, January 1, 1992

Also:

It's Oscar night tomorrow and the big draw isn't about who's winning what. Admit it, you watch to see who's wearing what...Here's a sneak preview of the Academy Award finery, courtesy of Women's Wear Daily:...Accidental Tourist's Geena Davis, up for Best Supporting Actress, is a do-it-herselfer who designed her own gown and had someone else execute the design.
—Rita Zekas, "A sneak look at who'll be wearing what to the Oscars," The Toronto Star, March 28, 1989

Notes:
A recent flurry of media stories about do-it-herselfers seems to have been caused by the September release of a book called Dare to Repair: A Do-It-Herself Guide to Fixing (Almost) Anything in the Home, by Julie Sussman and Stephanie Glakas-Tenet. (Interestingly, Ms. Glakas-Tenet is the wife of George Tenet, the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.) Headline writers are always playing wth words, but there's something about the topic of the do-it-herselfer (also called a handywoman) that brings the punsters out of the woodwork(ing). Here's a sampling from the various do-it-herselfer citations that I found:

"Doing Their Nails With a Hammer," The New York Times, October 27, 2002

"Do-it-herselfer gives it her awl," Fort Wayne News Sentinel, October 23, 2002

"Power tools: Women are learning the drill," The Dallas Morning News, August 3, 1995

"More woman hammer out own niche in world of tools," The Dayton Daily News, June 30, 1995

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