“His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society” by Suzanne Tick

This article focuses on gender evolution. Tick opens up discussing that “identity is no longer clearly defined as male or female, but by increasingly visible manifestations of sexuality or lack thereof”. She then says that designers are the ones who should work with the changes and evolution. Her second paragraph discuses male dominance in Modernism. She claims that “the world of technology and web design is also a very male-dominated field, with 85% of tech workers at the top companies being male”.  Following these claims pertaining to male dominance, she transitions to discussing feminism guiding gender equality in work. She mentions Emma Watson’s “He for She Movement” which encourages men to join the cause for gender equality. She says that “In the workplace, the barriers and hierarchies have started to come down as women have become more prominent”. Women are making pertinent changes already, and Tick says “The time is ripe for designers to start questioning how they incorporate gender sensitivity into their work.

The second section of this article highlights gender, fashion, and beauty. She gives the example “Alexander Wang’s women’s coat from Fall 2015 has masculine tailoring with a military look” as well as an example highlighting skin makeup designed to appeal to males. She says that because of the confusion of gender roles, outward appearances can be confusing as well. She then discusses that colleges and middle schools are letting people leave gender unspecified or even just leave it empty. Tick claims that because schools are doing it, designers shouldn’t fall too far behind as well. She talks about Martine Rothblatt, who was born a male, but transitioned to being female in 1995, and shortly after published a Manifesto called “The Apartheid of Sex”. She argues in her manifesto “there are five billion people in the world and five billion unique sexual identities”. She is the CEO of United Therapeutics and is currently the highest-paid female executive in the United States.

The last part of this article discusses changes in bathrooms and offices. She states “Big companies like Google are adopting gender-neutral or unisex bathrooms in addition to conventional ones to allow all individuals to feel comfortable, safe, and included”. She gives an example discussing an employee undergoing surgery and returning to work with coworkers complaining that they did not want that person in either bathroom. Tick says “Making people feel accommodated parallels the bigger conversation in design”. She claims that we cannot take the same action as was taken with the Disability Act. Because we are at the beginning of gender-neutral design, providing safe places for people is the proper way to start. She concludes by saying that we should be respectful to people’s needs and create the environment that provides that.