'Designed by men...for men'

(116 Posts)
YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Sat 09-Nov-13 21:23:36

I hear this a lot (specifically in regard to the workplace) and it does completely make sense to me. It explains that patriarchy IS society. Defined/designed by men for men.

But I was wondering if anyone could give me specific soundbites on this subject to argue my point (to my very sexist family) more coherently?

I don't necessarily think that men sat round and specifically 'designed' things to deliberately alienate women but what systems have subtley evolved to disadvantage women in favour of men?

I hope I'm being clear!

For example...the workplace: presenteeism and total dedication to a job is needed to excel which is obviously disadvantageous to women who want to bear and raise children (and men who want to be involved in child rearing). It was easy for this dedication and involvement to work equalling success to evolve because men traditionally have a woman to support their home life. So equalling up parental responsibility and what...changing working hours? increasing flexibility? in the workplace can equal this up...and what other measures?( help on this topic much appreciated...my ideas are barely half formed!).

What other aspects of society are designed 'by men, for men'.

JacqueslePeacock Mon 11-Nov-13 13:29:35

YY to bus shelter seats. Our local ones were actually removed and replaced (at vast cost to the taxpayer, if I remember correctly) because they were designed by youngish men for youngish men and thus too high and too sloping, so not very suitable for the majority of elderly people, mothers with small children, etc, who used the bus system on a daily basis.

Could they not have thought about this before spending hundreds of thousands putting them all in??

wodalingpengwin Mon 11-Nov-13 16:58:31

Late night votes in Parliament.
In many countries: the law!
Here: unequal maternity and paternity leave periods, which makes women the dodgier bet in some employers' eyes.
Too few toilets for women in public buildings.
Ridiculously heavy doors.
My tin opener.
The nuclear family? Realised all the drawbacks when I had children and no extended family support nearby, but corporations get a nice flexible workforce. And the majority of corporations are run by men.

BelleCurve Mon 11-Nov-13 20:31:18

Car park ticket machines and toll booths. My arms are never long enough to reach the ticket. Final salary pension schemes which assume a linear career progression.

Baby changing facilities up/down a flight of stairs. With no toilet facility, and no way to get a pram in the usual cubicle.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 11-Nov-13 20:42:26

Steel-capped work boots. My archaeologist friend had to have them on site, they don't come in a size 3. I think she wore 4s with lots of socks.

Not so sure about cars - my dad, who died 20 years ago, was 6ft and had to rule out a lot of cars as the driving space was too small for him to sit comfortably.

Agree on toilets - equal space for men and women results in long queues at the women's. All women know this! Probably the men know too but don't care...

Anything labelled as 'unisex' is basically designed for men, and they don't see any reason to make a separate one for women. This is not as bad as it used to be mind you. 20 years ago I tried to buy a waterproof goretex walking jacket - there were only 2 women's designs available, which I didn't like, and the many 'unisex' designs that the sales staff steered me towards were obviously made for gorillas men with low waists and long arms.

Another time DH and I wanted to hire bikes. They only had men's, parading as 'unisex', because after all why shouldn't men and women use the same bikes... hmm After a couple of hours on a man's saddle my non-unisex nether regions were none too pleased. angry

ErrolTheDragon Mon 11-Nov-13 20:50:10

Lurcio - I work in software, and a long time ago we had a project management course which said about how 'crunch mode' should only be used for very short term crises because for anything else its counter-productive - a few companies do take this sort of thing on board (and they let me work part time from home, and note that I still manage to produce as much as many full timers --or did before MN--) - software is the sort of thing where its too easy for people to work insanely in dark holes with pizza, but also easier than other industries to adapt to work sensibly.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 11-Nov-13 20:53:59

NotGood - when I started driving, in the 80s, small cars were generally OK but large cars were designed for large people. I had one for a while where I was peering through an arc between the top of the dash and the upper curve of the steering wheel - if I'd sat on cushions I couldn't have reached the pedals. That's an area which has definitely improved vastly.

rempy Mon 11-Nov-13 20:55:30

Well, this might fit. Google "women of steel". Decades after the war, there is still no public commemoration of the efforts of the women of Sheffield to keep industry going.

There are stacks and stacks of tributes, statues, benches etc to the men of the industry.

Public spaces, by men, for men, commemorating men.

wanderings Tue 12-Nov-13 08:19:12

Wheel nuts:

Get a spanner with an extending handle - this makes all the difference; I know one or two men who like it. The ones provided in a "spare wheel kit" are often useless.

funnyvalentine Tue 12-Nov-13 13:54:24

I saw this post recently, "it's a man's phone"

https://medium.com/technology-and-society/a26c6bee1b69

BerstieSpotts Tue 12-Nov-13 14:06:18

Sashh the police thing is shock and such a shame. I hadn't heard that before. It actually makes me wonder if it would be worthwhile to set up a separate women's force, with female officers being able to join either the normal force or the women's force, which caters for issues like VAW, rape and prostitution, ie, issues which affect women directly and as a result of sexism.

I don't wish to imply that men can't deal with these issues, of course, but women might feel more willing to come forward if they knew they would be faced with an all-female team.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Tue 12-Nov-13 19:18:16

Thank you for all the replies.

I had no idea about the police thing either shock Fascinating.

I had a 'mirror of patriarchy' when I used to live with my ex. I could only see my calf-lick in it! hmm

Very interesting point about house design and kitchen size. Things like that have never even occurred to me. Completely insidious and so easy to overlook or deny.

When I started the thread I specifically had the workplace in mind and I'm grateful for the suggestions brought up; presenteeism, commuting difficulties, out of hours schmoozing, childcare etc.

Am I right in thinking that radical feminism would like to change the system instead of (awkwardly) slotting into it? So what would the radfem workplace look like. Flexible working, shorter hours, cheaper childcare (subsidised so the child carers themselves had decent wages and conditions too). Sounds bliss!

caroldecker Tue 12-Nov-13 21:18:01

Flexible working, shorter hours, cheaper childcare (subsidised so the child carers themselves had decent wages and conditions too) would be great, but who pays?

BillyBanter Tue 12-Nov-13 21:25:47

Maybe prams. A lot more design seems to go into buggies now men use them more. Including the skateboard buggy I saw earlier today. Prams need to be FUN now! McLaren prams. How did McLaren suddenly get interested in prams.

Maybe this is a sort of backwards example of what you are thinking of.

BerstieSpotts Tue 12-Nov-13 21:34:36

Well, how we do it (just as in DP and I) is that we both work for companies which have a degree of flexibility. He has flexible hours so can start early and finish early, I am a teacher and just take classes around the time that I need to be there for DS, which is actually only a 2.5 hour period of the day that we don't have covered. He attends state-subsidised childcare/education which we pay for but a far lower amount than we would pay in the UK (we are in Germany) and the drop-off and pick-up times are flexible. When I get a car as well, that 2.5 hour "black spot" that we have will be covered if I have any classes near DH's work, because I can take DS to him, drop him off for an hour or an hour and a half and come and pick him up afterwards. Because of DP's flexible work he would be able to just finish an hour later.

The things that allow us to do this - working and living very close together, the state-subsidised childcare being easily available, at least one of us having a job which can be split into "chunks" of time, the flexibility which allows him to chop and change hours. And the big one - both of us being not only willing but happy and dedicated to this. We accept the inconvenience because it allows DS time at home, and it allows us BOTH to work which to us is worth it, rather than one person taking the hit so that the other could work.

For all of us, it is perfect, because DS is home for half the day regardless, we both get to go to work which we enjoy and is fulfilling alongside our home stuff, it's not horrendously destructive like it was when (in the UK) we worked opposing shifts, him nights, me days, and never got any time together (not to mention DS being in childcare for 8-10 hours at a time)

I appreciate that not all industries could accommodate working hours like this, but my gut feeling is that a lot could but don't bother, because they don't have any problem finding workers who do the hours that they have set. And of course it might cost them more in resources, heating an office for longer hours with fewer people in for example.

There was a good guest blog a few days ago saying "Men don't do childcare because they don't want to." Written by a man, saying everything that feminists have been saying about childcare for decades. It was good. I'll see if I can find the link.

BerstieSpotts Tue 12-Nov-13 21:35:53
GurlwiththeAnyFuckerCurl Tue 12-Nov-13 21:35:55

Um, Mclaren have been making pushchairs since the 1960s. Different company to the Formula 1 lot!

BerstieSpotts Tue 12-Nov-13 21:36:42

Yes that is Maclaren I believe smile

BillyBanter Tue 12-Nov-13 21:42:37

Oh, didn't know that. There is still a lot more design involved in prams it seems these days.

BerstieSpotts Tue 12-Nov-13 21:46:55

The kindergarten that we use is partly funded by the church, but there is a set rate for all state kindergartens which in our region is 91€ per month, which is fantastic, because you can access up to 5 hours a day for that price, 5 days a week, and the holidays are minimal - 2 weeks in Summer, 3 at Christmas and one at Easter. They are all the same. Some are Church-funded, some are partly run by volunteer work by the parents, and some (rare) are completely state run. There are also subsidies for childcare under 3 years but this is more expensive, but still not crippling like UK day nurseries.

It seems a much more family-friendly system, and as far as I can see, nobody is handwringing or moaning about the cost to taxpayers. Taxes work differently here I think as well. As I understand it, lower earners are taxed more but somehow you still end up with a living wage. There is no such thing as tax credits, but there are tax breaks when you have children, and also for married couples.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 12-Nov-13 23:00:12

The prams were designed by the Maclaren who invented the Spitfire undercarriage ...more important design than McLaren racing cars! (not particularly relevant to the OPs question maybe but interesting)

DadWasHere Wed 13-Nov-13 10:16:10

I saw this post recently, "it's a man's phone"

Oh Please- did she try out the phone before she bought it or did she, like me, order her Nexus 4 direct shipped from Google sight unseen only to be, unlike me, disappointed by it?

There is nothing special about her phone, its just another android. If she wanted a smaller android that was iPhone size she could have purchased a Sony Xperia M or whatever else was around at the time.

Bah and humbug.

BuffytheAnyAppleFucker Wed 13-Nov-13 10:54:13

She went to great lengths in her post to explain why she wanted that particular one.

I am not sure I entirely agree with her that it's a direct issue of sexism (unconsciously, maybe. Structurally, perhaps?) but it's a fair point she makes that if technology designers are primarily young, able bodied and male, they may not be developing products that are easy to use by older people, disabled people and women.

Unless of course that's the older people, women and disabled people's own faults for not looking for other products that meet their particular needs?

BuffytheAnyAppleFucker Wed 13-Nov-13 10:54:48

Also, what's the difference between an Android and an apple phone?

funnyvalentine Wed 13-Nov-13 11:06:59

dadwashere you might think it's a silly rant in isolation, but a huge amount of technology is designed by (young white) men, for men.

If all the technology you use is just slightly wrong, it all adds up.

Buffy - android is Google's operating system which runs on a lot of phones made by a few different manufacturers. Apple have their own called iOS that runs on iPhones.

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