An Analysis of “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society”
In her article, “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society”, Suzanne Tick encourages designers to look beyond modern, masculine design to create acceptance in society and the workforce for all genders. As a designer herself, Tick uses her own perspective and her influence in the world of design for the purpose of creating change. Using Emma Watson’s recent He For She movement involvement, as well as accounts from members of the transgender community, Tick creates a discussion that is not just centralized around the struggle that the transgender community has faced, but the struggle women have faced as well.
As a designer, Tick can see how modern spaces have evolved and the amount of impact they have. Arguing that historically men have dominated the workforce, Tick creates evidence of this by explaining that most spaces are designed for the benefit of the male since they have dominated the spectrum. Tick uses this observation to her advantage, explaining that since the conversation about gender has become so widespread, gender norms are changing and masculinity is no longer dominating the spectrum. Since there is a change rapidly evolving in societal gender roles as a whole, Tick calls on designers to take notice, as well as take action in supporting and supplementing the change.
While the bathroom debate and acceptance of the transgender community is large in media and politics, Tick introduces the idea the debate is only the tip of a much deeper issue. Humans with disabilities are facing the same issues with architectural design not accommodating their needs, or making them feel welcome. Making a statement that “We can not approach gender issues in the same way, with just regulations and compliance”, Tick once again validates her claim that change is waiting at the hands of designers and change in design is crucial for creating a safe place to express individuality.
For example, stating “we need to design for the accumulation of different human beings who are out there by being respectful to individual needs, and creating environments in which people can have their own individuality”, Tick is directly calling on design (Tick). In her article, Tick is not blaming society for the environment built around them, but rather exposing that designers have true power in creating, or deteriorating change. The power of design can resonate for years. For example, Tick states that “today’s design landscape is still deeply rooted in Modernism”, which started in the 20th century. Culture and society has exponentially evolved since the 20th Century, yet the same gender bias with design has remained.
With different eras of design such as Modernism, Pop Art, Minimalism, and Deconstructivism, the question becomes, what next? Tick states that “We are only at the very beginning with gender-neutral design, but having safe places for anybody to function and do what they need to do, no matter who they are, should be our first step.” Therefore, the next step in modern design is a Post-Gender Movement, which starts at the hands of the designer.
While the bathroom debate and acceptance of the transgender community is large in media and politics, Tick introduces the idea the debate is only the tip of a much deeper issue. Humans with disabilities are facing the same issues with architectural design not accommodating their needs, or making them feel welcome. Tick states that “We can not approach gender issues in the same way, with just regulations and compliance.” Change is waiting at the hands of designers and it is crucial to create a safe place for the expression of individuality.
An Analysis of “Making Bathrooms More Accommodating”
In her article, “Making Bathrooms More Accommodating” from The New York Times, Emily Bazelon analyzes the term accommodation and its positive impact in modern history, creating a voice for the transgender community by exposing the one-way accommodations it has become accustom to. Identifying cultural norms, laws, past accommodations, and a sense of belonging, Bazelon uses the attributes of these ideas to expose the struggle that comes with accommodation today in the fight for the transgender community’s rights. Bathrooms-while socially taught as personal places for specific genders-are now being re-analyzed, hence being the reason for Bazelon’s interest in writing this article. While Bazelon creates an analysis of the issues faced when it comes to accommodation, in a bigger picture she becomes part of the societal conversation that is needed for the non-controversial coexisting of genders in private places.
Instead of simply identifying issues that have direct association with the bathroom debate, Bazelon associates accommodation as something positive and historically helpful. By giving examples such as Congress’ decision for the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Right to Accommodation in the workplace, the importance of accommodation is made known and understood. However, when talking about a private area, Bazelon identifies that there is more to the struggle of accommodation due to cultural upbringing. For example, life in America is life associated with different people of different religions and different physical capabilities every day. However, the transgender community is small. Not only is the transgender community small, but it is just now being widely accepted.
Bazelon argues that the bathroom debate isn’t singular to the transgender community, as well. Even the dominating female cisgender community face a bias. Bazelon gives evidence to this through her comment about seeing the “urinal as an accommodation for the male body, but we treat them as the norm, so we don’t.” By building up through the article with past and present accommodations that social, racial, and gender groups face, Bazelon takes the idea of accommodation and associates it with something larger for the sake of a “human need” of belonging. In a larger sense, Bazelon-while using facts and hard truths- creates an article that is meant not only to give the transgender community a voice, but to also shed light on the necessity of a coexisting community.