'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'.

OrlandoWoolf Wed 13-Nov-13 11:16:21

There is a suit called an ageing suit. It lets you imagine what it is like to have limb difficulties, movement difficulties and eye issues.

It's used by car designers - apparently. Just putting yourself in someone elses shoes and seeing the world through their eyes.

agelab.mit.edu/agnes-age-gain-now-empathy-system

Grennie Wed 13-Nov-13 11:36:51

They are adjustable now, but seatbelts used to be designed for the height of the average man. The seatbelt used to sit across my neck. I always wondered how I would actually fare in a serious accident.

Grennie Wed 13-Nov-13 11:37:40

Yes radical feminism is about changing things totally, not just expecting women to fit into a male designed world.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 13-Nov-13 11:43:11

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

For instance, being left handed seems to carry significant risk of serious accident.

BerstieSpotts Wed 13-Nov-13 12:12:11

Actually the phone thing is annoying. I used to work in a phone shop and it's true that the high spec phones are all larger these days. Even the smaller versions like the Galaxy S3 Mini, marketed as a smaller more compact version of the Galaxy S3 is inferior and has lower specs and lacks the features of the higher end phones. This is the case for any phone which is smaller. The iPhone 5vis too tall for me to use comfortably. My thumb is not "this long" as stated proudly in their ad!

DP has a Galaxy S2. Outdated now, but he can easily use it one handed whereas I cannot. I don't have particularly small hands, but evidently, his are bigger despite us being roughly the same size in general.

I really want an S4 active but I think that will be too big also. Obviously there is a market for oversized phones such as the Galaxy Note which can't be used one handed by anybody, hut it would be nice if the "normal sized" high end phones could be tested on women as well as men's average hand size.

DadWasHere Wed 13-Nov-13 12:41:50

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

No, she went to great lengths to explain her needs and complain about the phone she bought. Her needs, as described, would have been better met by a smaller screen android and they never vanished from the market. The largest mobile available, a huge phablet size device by Samsung, I last saw one of those monsters being used not by a seven foot man with gorilla hands but by a petite woman no taller than 5-2.

BerstieSpotts Wed 13-Nov-13 14:16:15

I find it pretty rude that I've already answered that point and yet you have totally ignored my point.

Try looking at any of the top phone brands' current range. Even discounting the Note and the other "phablet" phone, all of the top-range phones are now, for want of a better phrase, man sized. The smaller ones have lower spec and lack advanced features included in top range models. It may well be possible to choose a smaller sized handset but then you are limited to what spec of phone you can go for. Maybe not everyone wants or needs a top of the range phone but itwould be nice to have ythe option.

(excuse my typing, I have an inferior but perfectly proportioned phone grin although in fact to illustrate the point, my phone lacks features such as a front camera and back led light/flash. Because it's small and hence ax"budget/compact" model.

BuffytheAnyAppleFucker Wed 13-Nov-13 15:09:50

She explained her needs and also said that despite looking for a phone that met them all (one of which being able to operate it one handed, others being battery life and various other features I forget) she couldn't.

Why do you want this to be a non-issue dad, out of interest? Why can't you say something like "crikey, I'd never realised that might be a problem for people with small hands who want high spec phones. Not an issue I've ever experienced but I can see why it grates". Why the need to be so dismissive? Is it because she thought she was at a disadvantage because the technology seemed to be designed for men as a default and as a woman she was disadvantaged by this? For some reason, that idea seems to really annoy some people.

BuffytheAnyAppleFucker Wed 13-Nov-13 15:10:43

Thanks for the explanation funny. I've always had apple gadgets, and know nothing about android. smile

ErrolTheDragon Wed 13-Nov-13 15:23:04

I don't know whether it applies in the case of these particular phones, but sometimes there are technological constraints in reducing physical size - for instance, longer battery life might require a larger battery. Designers have to operate within the laws of physics and current technology so there might be good reasons why higher spec phones are larger at the moment.

oscarwilde Wed 13-Nov-13 15:28:17

Some really great points on this thread.

To counter slightly, I recently hung all our pictures up in our new house. My DH pointed out afterwards that he was looking down at most of them. blush

BerstieSpotts Wed 13-Nov-13 15:37:30

True but this isn't the case for all of the specifications. Things like processing chips, RAM and internal memory are tiny these days. Most of the space is taken up by currently fashionable huge screens. Which is fine - I can see why people would prefer a big screen - but there should be a choice. It seems that the current top phones (Samsung Galaxy S4/S4 Active, HTC One, iPhone 5/5s, Sony Xperia Z/Z1) are all large phones. In fact the iPhone 5 is physically smaller and probably is usable one-handed by men and women, but it is taller and the advert centred on "Your thumb goes all the way up to here, so we made the phone go all the way up to here!" which is in fact probably true for most men but not most women, if you want to pick at it.

I agree battery life can be a problem if the battery is physically too small, but then if they didn't have 100 inch screens the battery life would be vastly extended anyway grin

BuffytheAnyAppleFucker Wed 13-Nov-13 15:38:36

"laws of physics" pffft grin

ErrolTheDragon Wed 13-Nov-13 15:52:20

I've not seen that ad but that does sound like male centric design. (the silver lining is that it does mean that one's small-handed, short-thumbed 14 yo DD actively prefers a non-top end phone)

BerstieSpotts Wed 13-Nov-13 15:55:52

Galaxy S4: 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm 85.6
Google Nexus 5: 137.9 x 69.2 x 8.6 mm 86.4
HTC One: 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm 86.8
Sony Xperia Z: 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm 86.9

iPhone 5: 123.8 x 58.6 x 7.6 mm

To massively simplify, the distance around the back and two thin edges is between 85.6mm and 86.9mm (The S4 and the Xperia Z respectively). The iPhone 5 however has a total distance around the back and two thin edges of 73.8cm. That's about 12-13 mm in size, and is a very simplified measurement because of course fingers have joints in certain places and aren't bendy all the way along, so the measurement across is probably more important but without all the phones with me and several women's hands to test, it's the best I can do grin If anybody feels like checking the measurements of their phone which they find comfortable to use as way of comparison, BTW, I used GSMArena.com for these measurements.

I would say that hand size - the author said that there is an average difference of 2cm between men's and women's average hand size - will really make the difference as to whether you can grip something securely or not. Funny, isn't it, the difference between the leading phone sizes? I wonder who tested their phones with a mixed sex audience. The iPhone 5 is as highly specified as some of those other phones, too, so the size of the components is not an issue in this case. And not everyone is a fan of the iPhone - I prefer android myself. I think it's a shame they haven't thought about this issue.

BTW on the comment about the Galaxy Note - in actual fact when I worked in the phone shop, thinking about it, this tended to be more popular with women than with men, perhaps because they have become resigned to the fact they cannot use their phone one-handed and just decided to go with the giant phone because why not. But I've deliberately excluded the Note and Note 2 from this exercise, because they aren't designed for anybody to use one-handed. But frequently, it was men who brought them back in to trade in saying "It's too big, I can't use it" "It makes me look like a bit of a tit" whereas women had bought large cases, made use of the pen attachment more regularly, and used it as more of a personal organiser than a phone.

BerstieSpotts Wed 13-Nov-13 15:58:42

I may have taken the phone comment to heart a bit blush Used to drive me mad though when all the 6 foot blokes would try out the new phones and be all "Cool, I think I might get this" and when I tried it was all unwieldy and I couldn't use it with the ease they could. Then the excitement when they brought out the mini versions and the disappointment when it turned out it wasn't "mini" for "I don't need an eleventy inch screen, you nobber" but "mini" meaning "cut-down budget edition". Grrrrrr.

OrlandoWoolf Wed 13-Nov-13 15:59:28

I just want a phone for my fat fingers when I use the keyboard. And websites which do not have links close together.

slug Wed 13-Nov-13 16:06:49

I remember, back in the 80's learning about all this stuff in a component of my psychology degree. Even then, the design of bicycle seats was used as an example. I see it hasn't got any better.

Drugs are almost always tested on men. Thamidilide is used a reason for why you should never test drugs on women (they might be pregnant and it may affect their child) but it's not not really a good excuse, especially as pregnancy testing is cheap and easy.

Ask any woman who has ever sat a 3 hour exam with a heavy period about the way the education system still favours men.

BuffytheAnyAppleFucker Wed 13-Nov-13 16:06:59

If anyone's remotely interested, my thumb is 65mm from joint to tip. So if a man's hand is on average 20mm bigger, that's a fair bit extra (or less if looked at the other way around) to take into consideration when designing a phone.

<Aside>I found hi-vis yellow waterproof jackets and trousers and steel capped wellies in my local hardware store in women's sizes! And exactly the same as the men's: just labelled xxsmall, x small and small.

Ok I live on a low-lying hurricane-prone island but I was still very happy.

funnyvalentine Wed 13-Nov-13 16:08:32

To some extent, there's a trade-off between size/design and functionality in anything technical. You could make really huge very-high spec phones and tiny low-spec ones. So what we have is a compromise. And that compromise just happens to be for a size that's slightly too big for lots of hands (including plenty of men with small hands)

I have long fingers and an iPhone 4S, which I can just about use one handed, though it'd be much easier if just 0.5cm smaller across.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 13-Nov-13 16:14:48

>Ask any woman who has ever sat a 3 hour exam with a heavy period about the way the education system still favours men.

My Eng. Lit O-level consisted of one exam, its my excuse for only getting a B.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Wed 13-Nov-13 16:18:54

Ask any woman who has ever sat a 3 hour exam with a heavy period about the way the education system still favours men

Horrible memories of my finals when all I could think about was whether I was leaking despite making a giant patchwork out of multiple sanpro hmm

Good, but depressing, point.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Wed 13-Nov-13 16:19:47

x post errol smile

Wigeon Wed 13-Nov-13 16:39:59

Why, at the theatre, are there always always long queues for the ladies' loos, but not for the gents? It's not equality to have the same number of toilets for both men and women - it would be fair to have more toilet cubicles for women. I think this is the perfect example of "designed by men, for men".

Re Parliament: the standard working hours for staff in Parliament (ie staff who are politically neutral and work for the whole of Parliament, not the individual MPs' staff) are still in theory 10am to 6pm - completely impossible for anyone who has a nursery pick up or wants to see their children in the evening and entirely designed by men, for men because Parliament itself is so male-dominated.

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