Tick, Suzanne. “His & Hers.” Metropolis Magazine. Horace Havemeyer III, Mar. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.
In her article His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society Suzanne Tick argues that most architecture and interior décor is in accordance to Modernism; and Modernism is from the masculine perspective. Therefore, most architecture and interior décor is not accommodating to women and the transgendered. She contrasts this with what she believes we’re presently going through: the gender revolution! According to Tick, contemporary society is redefining what it means to be a man or a woman, and so architects should facilitate and promote this revolution by making their designs more universal or neutral.
While I do not agree with some of the content of the article it is nevertheless a different perspective, which I welcome. With respect to the article’s objectivity, I look at it as an opinion piece. However, the article does help me better understand how powerful the built environment is—and how it could be used to promote certain ideologies.
The two main arguments Suzanne Tick makes in her article “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society” are we’re living in a so-called gender revolution and architects and interior designers should jump on board by creating gender neutral or universal interior and architectural designs.
By gender revolution Tick means we’re living in a time when men dress like women, go through surgery to appear like women, or merely identify themselves as women—and vice-versa. In other words, according to Tick, people are no longer confined by their biological sex, but by how they express and present themselves.
Consequently, Tick believes that architects and interior decorators should encompass this gender revolution by changing the way in which buildings are designed and decorated. Tick believes that because it was mostly men that headed Modernism, she thinks the movement is from the male perspective, as well as the designs and such that sprang from it. Further, she claims that we’re still living in a male centered society and that this is especially true in regard to technology. She argues that it’s the amalgamation of all these elements that shapes the design of places and that this needs to be combated for the sake of gender neutrality and inclusiveness. Her solution is to encourage designers to introduce what she thinks are more feminine qualities to interior and architectural design like more windows, soft corners, light, hospitality, and textural materials. If this masculine design isn’t combated Tick fears that it will lead to more unsafe and exclusive areas which may offend or discourage women or people who may identify themselves as women.
There are a few other points that Tick brings up. One of these is with respect to fashion and beauty. She writes that the fashion and beauty sectors are more susceptible to cultural changes (and it occurs faster) than architectural and interior design. The other is we should adopt gender-neutral bathrooms in an effort to make these areas more inclusive and safe for those who may identify as the sex that they weren’t born as. To illustrate this point she brings up an example of an employee who underwent sex reassignment surgery during a vacation and when this person came back to work there was a conflict with this person and his/her coworkers about bathrooms in which both men and women went to human resources asking that this person not use their bathroom. Tick argues that if there were gender-neutral bathrooms or bathrooms that catered to more identities, then this wouldn’t have happened.