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2.c 1/1: Gender of/in design practice and profession
Social constructionist feminist research of the last decades has shown that if we look closely enough we can see that artifacts are gendered by design. Some artifacts are gendered explicitly through their direct association with the traditional binary of women or men users; while gender is inscribed into others in more subtle ways through the normative conceptions regarding (1) their use contexts (public/private), (2) gender symbols and myths (strong/weak, rational/emotional, dirty/clean, adventurous/safe etc.) and (3) relationship with technology. This dualistic view serves as a useful strategy in design and marketing to create new segments to expand the market. Yet artifacts shaped by this view embody, represent and reproduce asymmetries in gender power relations.
11:10am - 11:35am
Queer-Sensible Designing: Challenging Normative Gender through an Industrial Design Practice
University of Twente, Netherlands, The
Conventional design practices regard gender as a given precondition defined by femininity and masculinity. To shift these strategies to include non-heteronormative or queer users, queer theory served as a source of inspiration as well as user sensitive design techniques. As a result, a co-design workshop was developed and executed. Participants supported claims that gender scripts in designed artefacts uphold gender norms. The practice did not specify a definition of a queer design style. However, the co-design practice opened up the design process to non-normative gender scripts by unmasking binary gender dichotomies in industrial design.
11:35am - 12:00pm
Towards the exploration of Gender awareness in Human-centred design
University of Brighton, United Kingdom
The primary aim of the human-centred design (HCD) approach is to identify the user needs. However, we argue that there is a lack of understanding of, and even awareness of, gender in HCD. This approach sees gender as static and stable regarding male or female such that the implication of principles in products, systems or services appeals to one gender or another linking gender differences, and stereotypes. To illustrate this, the investigation was conducted in the context of fostering sun protection behaviour in young men. Participatory design sessions were deployed to investigate the role of gender in the HCD and how it can be used to foster sun protection behaviour. We have concluded the development of a novel gender aware HCD approach and it opens avenues for design research and practice for increasing emphasis on the influence of the designer’s own gender and their gendered perceptions in their designs.
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