The point is to finally acknowledge that the category of gender is also important in the context of design: every product, sign and service we encounter in everyday life, be it by necessity or by choice, will always speak to us also in a gendered way. In our culture, in all areas of our everyday life and all the time, we are shaped by projections of femininity and masculinity. Our everyday life is full of designed artefacts and spaces, of which gender is a part as an essential constitutive and reactive element. Gender clichés and preconceptions may have become more subtle and, at times, less obvious in western societies today, but they have, by no means, been overcome.
Using examples from history and from design projects, my lecture will “roam” around categories such as privacy and the public realm and their specific (in)accessibility from a gender perspective: the flâneur and the passante, the phenomenon of waiting in public spaces; hotels and office desks, and, finally, the handbag as a typically female-connoted, contradictory ‘space’ between intimacy and exhibition.