'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'.

TheDoctrineOfSanta Thu 12-Dec-13 07:02:59

Cubicle toilets were designed a certain suze, then sanpro buns shoved in as an afterthought. Remember they used to have paper bags on the back of the door you could put your bits in and take out to the main bin?

ShreddedHoops Wed 11-Dec-13 23:34:44

Back to toilets!

Those yucky bins for tampons and towels - they are always right next to the loo so my arse is actually touching it when I sit down - or it would do if I didn't hover. And public loos everywhere are just disgusting. Women have to engage physically much more with them - men can point and shoot. There is rarely enough space to open the door, which usually opens inwards. The sanpro bins are hardly ever emptied and are usually overflowing with weeks? worth of stuff, meaning often the choice is to shove it in, touching other people's used tampons, or to leave it on top. It really is 'usually' as well. In naice shopping centres like Bluewater it has definitely improved, big cubicles, family baby-change facilities with loos, but train toilets are a whole world of disgusting which only a man with a penis could have designed.

Childrenofthestones Tue 26-Nov-13 20:36:40

Add message | Report | Message poster FairPhyllis Sun 10-Nov-13 13:58:56
page 1
" Here's a very boring example of how men design things for themselves and each other without thinking. My flatmate put up some shelves in our kitchen. He put them in a place so high only he and the other men in the house could use them easily (with no particular reason, there was a whole wall space free where they could have gone). My female flatmate and I either had to stand on a chair to use them or not use them at all.

I called them the Shelves of Patriarchy."

Here's a mad idea. Put them up yourself instead of letting a man do it.
Get in first, there's no rule saying only men can put up shelves.smile

BuffytheElfSquisher Tue 26-Nov-13 17:05:55

to be at the keyboard is for the first time to be invited to the table, and that it is a virtual table doesn't matter because this is a place where you can talk and be heard

Excellent point, I'd not thought of it like that before. I am lucky to be able to do lots of my work virtually otherwise I wouldn't be able to strike the balance of work and family that I currently manage.

youretoastmildred Tue 26-Nov-13 16:53:54

YY to the kitchen one upthread. That used to infuriate me - when you have a tiny crummy kitchen in a smallish house, you have this horrible situation where the kitchen is deliberately made to accommodate one person only because it is more important that those not cooking or washing up have the delusion of having servants, than that those who are cooking or washing up have help or company. It made me seethe in our old house (rented - it is notable that when a family buys one nowadays the first thing they do is knock the kitchen into the dining room, hurray)

This isn't just a man thing, and is more an able-bodied thing, but there is an emphasis in some contexts of the primacy of physical presence. Phone calls are better than emails, meetings are better than phone calls. Bosses advising everyone to take everything off line and do it in person as if it is automatically better.
To be fair, people banging on about this are fighting a losing battle as more and more of this stuff is happening online and I think that is a good thing. I think there is a knee-jerk harking back to a golden age of manly handshakes over lunch or dinner which excluded a lot of people and only feels like a golden age if you were one of the people who would have done well in that time: good looking, able bodied, blessed with corporate money to spend on corporate hospitality, and of course the right sex. When I was a bit temporarily disabled I was appalled to notice how disadvantaged I was at work in being suddenly not physically nifty enough to compete for my boss's time by being in the right place at the right time. Similarly people like Virilio going on about the city square are imagining a public space that has only been safe and comfortable or even physically accessible for a subset of people. For them, to be at your keyboard feels like a retreat; for others, to be at the keyboard is for the first time to be invited to the table, and that it is a virtual table doesn't matter because this is a place where you can talk and be heard.

Anonynonny Tue 26-Nov-13 16:09:03

I've got one.

I was at the dentist yesterday and she wanted to do me an x ray. I couldn't bite down on those things they put in your mouth so that they can x-ray your teeth. In the end she gave up.

Mindful of this thread, I asked her if there were different sizes. She said no, they were designed for an average mouth. I then asked her if men and women have the same size mouths and she said no, women's mouths are generally smaller and they have more difficulty biting down on those things than men do. So it looks as though it's not made for the average mouth, it's made for the average male mouth.

There are children's sizes but they tend to be too small to x ray an adult woman's mouth. So women have to put up with far more discomfort on average than men do when they need a dental x-ray. Because average doesn't mean in average human in this case, it means average male.

BasilDalekEater Tue 26-Nov-13 15:59:23

Yes there are other lawn mowers available, but a) they may be more expensive and b) they may not actually do the job as well as the one I've got.

If you're a man, you get all the features and all the choice. If you're a woman, you have to resign yourself to not being able to have everything you need on something.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Tue 26-Nov-13 14:04:49

Copy and paste because apparently people like to not read the points made in arguments.

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!

BuffytheElfSquisher Tue 26-Nov-13 11:50:07

How's work progressing on the slippery slide located under our chairs that leads down into the shark pool jess?

jess400 Tue 26-Nov-13 00:20:12

Muhahahahahahaha. Happy now?��

joanofarchitrave Mon 25-Nov-13 23:46:32

I think it's good to post some things that [I assume] have got better.

Pushchairs/prams/strollers were once built by men for women. So they're all too short. There are a lot of threads on here, including one by me, asking desperately about prams for taller people. When we bought ours, there seemed to be very few - there was an extension handle thingy, made in America costing something like £60 plus postage, which I didn't feel we could afford. My 6 foot 4 dh rarely pushed ours because his back went out quite quickly when he did. Hence I pushed, and it was pretty short for me too.

My guess would be, though, that even since we had ds, prams have become more adjustable, because more men really are pushing them.

Same for kitchen units - all too short, built for the average woman. We have had ours done with a couple of blocks under each foot - bliss - dh can comfortably prep food and wash up. I wonder if the fashion for freestanding units (easier to get taller ones?) was driven by the fact that the kitchen is no longer seen as a woman's domain?

wonderstuff Mon 25-Nov-13 23:29:50

The economy. Capitalism doesn't support families, it supports (rich, white, male) shareholders. The lack of quality part time jobs and the time commitment required by very well paid jobs leave families to favour one person working and the other taking a career hit. We value money over caring, and traditional male work over female labour.

Blistory Mon 25-Nov-13 23:17:48

Oh Jess, I'll keep it simple.

The problem is not that there are no products suitable for women, it's that they are, by default, designed to be used by Mr Average. Not Ms Average.

It means that women have to think a bit more, plan a bit more, compromise a bit more. It's just another everyday thing that is easier for men than women, on the whole.

scallopsrgreat Mon 25-Nov-13 23:12:08

Can't wait jess


BuffytheElfSquisher Mon 25-Nov-13 23:10:24

You sound like a cartoon villain. All that's missing is the Muhahahahahahaha grin

jess400 Mon 25-Nov-13 23:05:41

At least i,m pointing out the many flaws in your argument, rather than wallowing in blind faith that my way is right. I've stated my views, you've stated yours. If you wish to continue this debate then i,ll be listening tomorrow. Rally support and prepare you arguments. Goodbye, until next time.

jess400 Mon 25-Nov-13 23:00:50

Lawn mowers.

Mowing the lawn the other day, it's A) v. heavy and b) designed for someone with the height and breadth to conveniently put their hands on either side of the handle to easily shift it along. If you are not that height and breadth you cannot shift it easily, it's difficult. Sigh. Lawnmowers. Buy one that fits your build. Their are many different sizes and garden stores often have them on display for you to try. Or if a man bought your mower, unless they were buying it specifically for you, why should they buy one that's right for you. Bottom line, if its clumsy to use, its your fault.

Blistory Mon 25-Nov-13 22:57:25

That's a helpful contribution, Jess. Thanks for that.

scallopsrgreat Mon 25-Nov-13 22:56:45

As opposed to you just appearing on a random thread to tell us what's wrong with us?

Great use of time. Great purpose.

jess400 Mon 25-Nov-13 22:55:06

I feel like I'm going around in circles here, but:

1. The problem isn't that smaller phones don't exist. They do. The problem is that high end phones are ALL big. I'm not personally interested in a top range phone, but TBH, that's in part due to the size. The problem is that women are faced with the choice "Buy a phone that's too big" or "Don't buy the top range product".

iphone's of all marks, galaxys s3 and s4/mini versions, Nokia 520 through to 820. All top end, in some cases flagship phones.

jess400 Mon 25-Nov-13 22:52:04

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ChunkyPickle Thu 21-Nov-13 21:29:48

re phones - they can be big, with huge screens, they just need to adjust things like the onscreen keyboard so it doesn't take up the whole width.

In the pregnancy assessment unit the toilet cubicles all had little bumpers to stop the door banging into the wall - unfortunately that meant the door didn't open wide enough to admit a heavily pregnant woman without a lot of squeezing.

Pregnancy raises loads - peeing into a sample pot with a 2cm neck (machine needed special pots apparently), in a cubicle crowded with toilet roll dispenser and sanitary bin - you're skilled if you manage it without getting pee over yourself and the floor and without bruises from the aforementioned obstacles. I complained every time... goodness knows why such simple things can't be fixed.

BasilBabyEater Thu 21-Nov-13 18:21:07

My garden's huge. Great for kids playing, but not so good for maintaining.

I wish they'd invent extremely lightweight ones which would actually cut the grass...

DixonBainbridge Thu 21-Nov-13 15:55:48

Hi Basil, Our current lawnmower & all our previous ones have a handle that can be raised or lowered to accommodate height for the Titchmarsh-esq user, I thought they all did TBH.

A quick search online shows plenty of choice if you don't want a large one - Small Lawn Mowers so is it a case that they're not available or simply that you have the wrong one? One downside I suppose is that they're all labelled "for small gardens" so if you have a big garden it'd take longer, but they're restricted by the size & power of the motor they can fit in I would imagine.

Berstie - It's fashionable to make big phones at the moment rather than any direct attack towards smaller people in general. I remember several friends & myself complaining a couple of years ago when it was fashionable to make small phones & big old male fingers were hitting several keys at once (virtual and physical keys). It never occurred to us to blame it on women though!

I'm sure it'll even up again in the near future as they all decide to show off their miniaturization skills again....

BasilBabyEater Thu 21-Nov-13 13:45:52

Lawn mowers.

Mowing the lawn the other day, it's A) v. heavy and b) designed for someone with the height and breadth to conveniently put their hands on either side of the handle to easily shift it along. If you are not that height and breadth you cannot shift it easily, it's difficult.

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