In “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” Suzanne Tick brings attention to gender-neutrality in design (or the lack thereof). Tick calls this period a “gender revolution” and continuously reinforces the idea that because gender is no longer fixed, design should accommodate these changes. Environments are meant to cater to its inhabitants, and should be designed to do so. Unfortunately, things such as architecture and design do not take to social change as quickly as one would hope. People today are still surrounded by the Modernist design landscape that was created during a period of male-domination. This means that even though women are becoming more prominent, design has yet to fully change in order to accommodate this shift. Furthermore, gender itself is being redefined and no longer fits the “norm”.
The shift away from a male-dominated society is not meant to cause a separation of gender groups, but instead should unite all people under a common interest. For example, Tick gives mention to Emma Watson’s promotion of the He for She movement, stating, “This solidarity initiative implores men to join the cause for gender equality, both here in America and around the world.” The fight for gender neutral environments is a fight for everyone, as these movements are created so that all individuals can feel welcome in society regardless of their sexual identity.
This does not go to say that society has not changed to better fit gender-neutrality. Ways that society has made advancements to accommodate gender-neutrality can be seen in fashion and beauty trends. “Alexander Wang’s women’s coat from Fall 2015 has masculine tailoring with a military look, while Annemiek van der Beek’s Primal Skin makeup line has been designed to be appealing to the male buyer.” (Tick) Additionally, the adoption of gender neutral bathrooms has been an important step in ensuring that previously held gender standards do not infringe on an individual’s safety and comfort.
Tick believes these accommodations for gender-neutrality are just a start and more action needs to be taken. Whether it be at work or in public areas, the needs of the people should be met in the design landscape. Unlike the Disability Act, Tick thinks the movement towards a more “universal design” will not be gained through regulations. Groups such as the LGBTQ rally for the support of causes such as these. The needs of citizens as a whole will only be met if people are willing to take a stand for their individuality and equality.
One of the final points Tick makes is the importance of design in the fight for a more gender neutral living space. As the environment plays a large role in the behavior of its inhabitants, it may greatly influence societal views. “In our post-gender world, masculine and feminine definitions are being switched and obscured.” Tick encourages the creation of designs that are safe and accessible to all individuals because gender roles can no longer be relied on as an accurate depiction of the population as it is today.
Tick, Susan. “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Societt.” Metropolis Magazine, Mar. 2015. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.