In this current era the definition of gender has transformed, no longer does it have a clear role in separating male and female. Through todays advances in technology, traditional masculine and feminine roles are being challenged. Designers of today need recognize society’s issues in todays gender revolution, being able to work and help promote a more accepting and diverse society.
The main issue currently with gender is that the design within todays landscape is still upheld by Modernism, an architectural movement built in the male’s perspective. In the past men have seized all power in the workplace, as a result male necessities are met through Modernist design models, leaving females with subsequent accommodations. Even in today’s information age, the world of technology and web design is also a very male-dominated field, with 85 percent of tech workers at the top companies being male.
Though recently there have been events pointing to a new wave of feminism. Emma Watson, an actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, gave a speech promoting the He for She movement went viral, which promoted men to join the cause for gender equality. The LGBTQ rights movement is also gradually accepting same-sex marriage. In the workplace, woman have become more prominent, therefore today’s workplace is going through a transformation. People want mire softness in interiors with the influences of hospitality through tactile and textural materials like carpeting and textiles. The time for designers to modify gender sensitivity into their work is now.
When you are born, typically you are assigned a gender, but you can decided what gender to identify with beyond this. In this present day, college students are not putting their gender down in forms and children in middle school are asking to have their gender unspecified or changed. This is showing that the up and coming generation are taking a stand and saying they don’t want to be identified a one or the other (male or female).
Architecture and interior design are slow in the process to gender equality, compared to the world of fashion and beauty. Because of their fast cycles they are the first to embrace the trends of this new generation. For example, Alexander Wang’s women’s coat from Fall 2015 has masculine tailoring with a military look and Annemiek van der Beek’s Primal Skin makeup line has been designed to be appealing to the male buyer.
Corporations like Google have taken note of this new gender neutral revolution, and have adopted unisex bathrooms to allow all individuals in the workplace to feel comfortable, safe, and included. Martine Rothblatt, a transgender who is the CEO of United Therapeutics, defied traditional roles by becoming the highest-pad female executive in the Untied States even though she was born biologically male. But in many businesses there is still issues with sexuality. In one case, an employee underwent gender-reassignment surgery during summer break, but on his return both female and male coworkers went to human resources and complained about not wanting this person in their bathroom.
In the past, being male meant that you were the dominate force over females, but in the post-gender world of today masculine and feminine roles are being switched and obscured. This is an essential human phenomenon and in this society design needs to be respectful to every different individual. In being able to create an environment were a gender-neutral design accommodates to everyone’s need, then anybody can function and do what they need to do no matter who they are, all in a safe place.