Gender Fluidity and Design

Suzanne Tick’s His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society addresses gender roles are applicable to our modern society. She notes that sexuality is the trademark of “male and female” especially perpetuated through technology and media. As we watch this transition, Tick believes that designers from fashion to architecture should be mindful of the social implications they sustain.

She believes the problem with design lies in the cultural and artistic movement of Modernism which relied so heavily on male standpoints as men were in more powerful roles. However, the new age third wave feminists have been working to create an all encompassing and intersectional feminism- also encouraging men to be feminists. Women have risen to higher places in the workplace and with this rise, we have seen shifts in design.

Tick notes that the fashion industry is the first to pick up societal change giving examples like Alexander Wang’s military inspired fits. This trickles down as boys and girls now feel more comfortable with gender fluidity- not feeling the need to to “look” one way or the other. Students from college to middle school do not want to specify gender on forms. This works vice versa, a generation that will stand up for gender equality needs designers that can keep up.

Corporations as big as Google have taken note and joined the movement in workplaces starting with “adopting gender-neutral or unisex” bathrooms. She writes that this is just the beginning in an all encompassing work environment. There are people that are not comfortable with a transgender person coming into “their” gender assigned space such a male or female designated restroom.  It is not as simple a fix as a few rule changes, but an approach to gender-neutral design.


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