'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'.

It's not so much by design as evolution. But I remember some very interesting studies about testosterone in the stock markets. Testosterone drives risky behaviour which the stock market set up rewards.

scallopsrmissingAnyFucker Sat 09-Nov-13 21:38:50

The one that always springs to mind for me is drills. Heavy, cumbersome and designed for people with large hands. All pretty unnecessary. That could probably be extended to most DIY/building tools.

Parliament is another. An extended boys club. How you get there either as an MP or Peer. What happens when you are there. Hours that you work etc etc.

Well, it's OK as a slogan for selling (eg) penis-grooming kits or prostate self-examination leaflets, I suppose.

YouMakeMeWannaLaLa Sat 09-Nov-13 22:04:15

Ok, maybe just (some) workplaces (and tools), then?

I repeat, I don't think it is a deliberate conspiracy, just want to be pointed in the direction of things that exist that people presume women should be able to do/access/use but due to them being designed by/for men, they can't.

Penis-grooming kits?! I'm laying a quid on them being designed by women, for women SGB!

BasilBabyEater Sun 10-Nov-13 00:40:57

<Splutter> at penis-grooming kits. grin

Architecture. Public spaces. Public Transport. Public buildings.

Until very recently, designed only for able-bodied men. If you were in a wheelchair or had a pram or were on crutches, you couldn't get in to most public buildings. Once you got in there, the pictures etc. on the walls reminded you that white posh men had been the decision-makers in those buildings. You still can't use a huge percentage of public transport if you have a buggy (and 80% of women become mothers so that rules them out for a while when their DC's are young). Underpasses, car-parks etc., ignored women's safety fears. Decisions about street lighting (cutting them to save money - austerity etc.) affect women's mobility more than men's because they are taught to feel more scared in the dark than men. Rules about who gets to use car parks at works, so if the workplace is sited in a place where it's a half a mile walk to the bus stop through an industrial estate, women will be discouraged from working here.

Gyms is another one. Walk into most gyms and you'll find they're a male space. The machines are designed for the average man - not the average person. Car design - until very recently, designed for the average man, not the average person. Even furniture design - the height of tables, chairs, kitchen surfaces etc. - all designed for the average man.

BasilBabyEater Sun 10-Nov-13 00:44:29

Advice on heart disease from the British Heart Foundation - it was all based on male patients. Everything you know about heart attacks for women is wrong, because everything you've been told about the typical heart attack, is based on the presentation of the average male patient. Women present totally differently with a heart attack, hence the higher death rate - A&E simply weren't recognising that these women were having cardiac arrests, because they were showing the symptoms more commonly shown by women having cardiac arrests, not those shown by men.

Every time I sit on a public seat, particularly on public transport and am uncomfortable. I am tall for a woman so all seats, if they were made for the average, should be perfect for me. They are perfect for the average man. Whoever he is, the bastard.

BasilBabyEater Sun 10-Nov-13 02:04:42

Oh I think all seats made on public transport are just designed to be uncomfortable for anyone who sits on them, irrespective of size, weight etc. wink

You might be right Basil.

Meringue33 Sun 10-Nov-13 04:31:36

I suspect kitchen sinks are designed for the average woman! I'm fairly tall for a woman and always have to stoop over!

sashh Sun 10-Nov-13 10:05:57

The police force.

There used to be separate men's and women's forces. When they combined (?1976 - not sure) they actually all became the men's force.

There were things that the women's force had developed, eg a network of liaison with prostitutes / homeless people that was so good a runaway teenager could be located in a couple of days, just by talking to people. This was destroyed overnight. I don't think there should be separate forces, but they should have been joined not one stamping out the other.

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)

Not all women want to bare and raise children, not all women who want to can. But we all get lumped together and it is assumed we will want maternity leave / time off to look after the children.


Not just men, but white men. ECGs have 'normal racial variants' ie the ECG is 'abnormal' with 'racial variants' - this means that it is is actually completely normal but different from the normal in the text book because the textbook classes normal as what is normal for a white adult male.

badguider Sun 10-Nov-13 10:09:39

Why is a "full time job" 40hrs a week? Why not fewer? There's no fundamental reason you can't have four people working 30hrs a week rather than three working 40hrs to get the same work done.

FairPhyllis Sun 10-Nov-13 13:58:56

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.

Another example is how working culture can be hostile to women. If you have a working culture where workers regularly visit strip clubs etc, or male workers bond in other environments where women generally don't go, like men's sports or all male clubs, women lose out on integrating with the team, networking, and possibly also on business deals that get done off the radar in male social environments. For example, Obama has been criticised for effectively shutting women out of his decision making circle by bonding with the male staffers who can play basketball with him.

It's all about the cumulative effects of men assuming that the Real Humans are men.

GoldieMumbles Sun 10-Nov-13 16:06:56

"Why is a "full time job" 40hrs a week? Why not fewer? There's no fundamental reason you can't have four people working 30hrs a week rather than three working 40hrs to get the same work done."

That's an interesting one, really and truly. I live and work in France. The working week used to be 40 hours. It was reduced (European Working Time Directive) to 35 hours. Not because of any particular feminist issue but to generally improve standards of living and, theoretically, to do just what you suggest - increase the working population. But it isn't working and small businesses have gone to the wall.


Well, if you're used to being salaried to work 40 hours and 5 hours is chopped per week - 20 hours per month - you can not survive on the new hourly wage. So employers have to maintain the same monthly salary for less productivity. To substitute for the loss, you have to hire additional headcount. We all expect equality, so you have to pay the same rate as the existing employees. So you have to PAY for 40 hours but only get 35 hours work. The costs increase.

Add to that the need to pay for training for the additional headcount. Add to that the social contributions that the employers have to make to the government.

Big corporations can absorb most of this. Any company employing about 20 people or fewer can't make it work.

So the idea is simple. the practical application destroys economies (see France's downgrading due to its sovereign debt on the financial markets on Friday). Other coutries that applied the 35 hour week? Spain, Portugal, Greece... There's a theme here!

Basically, after the social experimentation going on in the Eurozone, it's fair to say the world has found out that the working week is 40 hours long for a reason.

BuffytheAnyAppleFucker Sun 10-Nov-13 16:13:01

It's not so much it's 40 hours for a reason, it's that because existing structures are based upon 40 hours per week, it's difficult to change it. IYSWIM.

80sMum Sun 10-Nov-13 16:19:27

I think that high-heeled shoes were/are designed by men - and only men 'benefit' from them. They are of no conceivable benefit to women, that's for sure, unless you count bunions, corns, hammer toes, calluses, back pain, knee strain, hip problems and sprained ankles as benefits!! No, they are men's invention, to keep women subdued and helpless, similar to the old Chinese tradition of foot-binding!!

maryannmarie Sun 10-Nov-13 17:00:16

"Shelves of Patriarchy" made me grin.

Basically anything that women wear that's uncomfortable e.g corsets, heels etc so that they're considered 'attractive'.

caroldecker Sun 10-Nov-13 17:13:03

The real trouble with work hours is the pay - an average 30 hour week would mean average wages fall by 25% - can people afford the pay cut?

VelvetStrider Sun 10-Nov-13 17:13:22

Wheel nuts. I'm perfectly capable of changing a tyre. I know how to do it, in theory. I can jack the car up, but then I become stuck. Several times I've found myself jumping up and down on the wrench, my 9 7 stone mass not being robust enough to shift the buggering nut! Then along comes a relatively weedy looking man and pop - the nut is released. Grrrrrrr... why do they not develop a system that allows tyres to be easily changed by female drivers. If I break down in the middle of nowhere I'm screwed!

<maybe it's a conspiracy by the RAC> hmm

LurcioLovesFrankie Sun 10-Nov-13 17:15:19

This is a fascinating piece I was pointed at (on a work course on software engineering): Why crunch mode doesn't work. It's pretty clear from this that presenteeism isn't about higher productivity. So it must be about something different. And I think it's about being asked to demonstrate loyalty to the firm above all other considerations - relationship, family, friends, life outside work. It's a form of loyalty test, and one heavily skewed towards only being passed by men (important caveat - a lot of men are realising the patriarchy screws them on this one too: I'm lucky enough to work somewhere that's very good about supporting part time work, and I have a lot of male colleagues who work shorter hours, either for family reasons or for better work-life balance).

And I'd like to see the evidence that 40 hours is the best for the economy (it happens to be the maximum, as far as the evidence from management studies suggests according to that link, you can get someone to work routinely before their performance drops off due to overwork and longer hours become counter-productive). My dad always mentions the fact that during the 70s when a lot of firms went down to 3 day weeks, productivity went up according to measurable stats. Certainly, a lot of managers in my workplace say they actually get more work for their money out of the part-timers.

VelvetStrider Sun 10-Nov-13 17:15:41

Oh, another....industrial rubber gloves. They seem to come in large, extra large and ginormous.

Marigolds, on the other hand, they come in women's sizes. Oh yes hmm.

LurcioLovesFrankie Sun 10-Nov-13 17:17:23

The wheel nuts one is a really interesting example! After all, you can't undo the nuts with your fingers, so you need a tool which exerts a certain amount of leverage to get the job done. So why (given that you have to have a tool at all) make it such that the leverage required can be applied by a man and not by a woman? (Personally I find wheel nuts ok - but the bloody stopcock under my sink? Forget it!)

CailinDana Sun 10-Nov-13 20:00:23

Kitchens are an obvious one. In older ordinary houses built when only men designed houses and only women used the kitchen, the kitchens are tiny while the sitting rooms are as big as possible. Now that more men see the value of a large kitchen and more women design houses a spacious kitchen is (sensibly) seen as much more important. In the past men's space to relax after a hard day's work was prioritised over women's need for a space they could work in. They were expected to do all the housework without adequate accommodation for it.

BasilBabyEater Sun 10-Nov-13 20:06:13

Ooh velvetstrider, gardening gloves as well.

Try getting really tough, thorn-proof gardening gloves in a really small size. I've been trying for over a decade and I can't find any.

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"


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.

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.


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.

sunbathe Wed 13-Nov-13 17:03:01

Flatpack furniture. One of my dc and I were trying to put together a bookcase. No problem reading/understanding the instructions, but we just hadn't got the physical strength necessary to finish it.

Dh did it easily. hmm

ErrolTheDragon Wed 13-Nov-13 20:29:00

In our house, assembling flatpacks tends to be my job (now with DD's help) - because of our ability to RTFI and find the screwdrivers.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 13-Nov-13 20:42:38

Wigeon - there is a British Standard relating to toilet provision which recognises that women need more loos. I think these are guidelines which relate to new facilities so we're probably stuck with the shortage in old theatres etc.

DadWasHere Wed 13-Nov-13 22:53:25

Why do you want this to be a non-issuedad, out of interest?

I dont want this be a non-issue nor do I want it to be a stupidly inflated issue with men (yet again) at the bottom of it. I made a specific observation about a specific blog complaining about a specific thing I thought was irrelevant to the topic. You wanted to widen that and for some reason felt compelled to invoke both the elderly and infirm to your side. The blogger just bought the wrong phone and even with the Nexus 4 she could have turned on video mode and pincer-held the phone above her head and it would have recorded everything. Perhaps in a press of people with tear gas raining down on her she had other concerns than thinking about the best way to do something with the tools she had on hand.

My younger daughter wants a computer gaming mouse for Christmas. She has small hands and there are not that many small gaming mice on the market- but its not like they do not exist. Amazon are currently shipping me two different ones, a Razer Orochi and a CM Strom Recon (which I mention for benefit of anyone interested in small gaming mice). There are other small gaming mice in the market but only those two are sold by Amazon itself.

Think interchangeable lens camera systems are overly large- buy a micro four thirds Olympus E-M5.

There are a lot a small solutions but people, both men and women, don’t like small because they associate it with being inadequate and weak. That poor woman with her large phone is a victim of women moving to buy larger phones, not men designing phones women do not want to use.

DadWasHere Wed 13-Nov-13 23:05:34

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".

Oh lord, you probably already DO have more toilet cubicles!

This explains why it works faster for men:

Grennie Wed 13-Nov-13 23:55:21

There are lots of reasons that women need many more toilets. Periods - you go to the toilet a lot more to deal with these, for part of the month. Women are more likely to be taking young kids into cubicles, which takes longer to deal with. And just taking down trousers and tights, and sitting on the toilet, takes longer than a quick unzip. But these differences are rarely taken into account.

DadWasHere Thu 14-Nov-13 00:17:51

There are lots of reasons that women need many more toilets.

Sorry, I was entirely wrong about saying you have more female toilets, wikipedia says the British code is a 1:1 ratio. The international code we follow in modern public places is a 2:1 ratio.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 14-Nov-13 07:42:51

The loos thing is a case where the problem has been realised and is taken into account (to some extent) in new facilities - old theatres esp some of the London ones don't have space for more.

The next thing the regs need (which afaik isn't covered yet) is Parent and Child loos.

BuffytheAnyAppleFucker Thu 14-Nov-13 09:14:09

Dad you're not listening. You're not listening to me or to the blogger. You are just dismissing us; clearly you feel you know better. <shrug>

BerstieSpotts Thu 14-Nov-13 13:28:17

Lol that women are choosing to buy the bigger phones. I'll just go and buy an imaginary phone that doesn't exist. That'll show those phone manufacturers!

BerstieSpotts Thu 14-Nov-13 13:34:28

Also the fact that "products for smaller hands do exist" but then you've actually had to go to the trouble of researching them and seeking them out and there are still hardly any compared to the reams of larger ones - er, you do realise being a woman isn't like being left-handed. Half of the population are women. It's not exactly a minority or special interest group.

I do realise that the mouse you are looking for is presumably for a young girl who has smaller hands than an average adult woman, but the point still stands that you are saying "But they exist!" as though this is a consolation, when really all it does is illustrates that, yet again, women are treated as some kind of "special interest" group.

"Bigger" may be "better" but explain to me why the most popular phones aren't just slightly too big for men to use? NOT counting phones which are designed to be oversized like the Galaxy Note.

BuffytheAnyAppleFucker Thu 14-Nov-13 13:51:43

Oh now Berstie, Dad doesn't want this to become a "stupidly inflated issue with men (yet again) at the bottom of it"

BerstieSpotts Thu 14-Nov-13 14:02:06

It's funny, because, you know, I don't recall blaming "men" but "the phone industries". smile

DixonBainbridge Wed 20-Nov-13 08:34:37

With regards to Wheel Nuts - they're all tightened by air powered drivers & a lot of men have trouble undoing them too. Bit if brains are used instead of brawn and people buy one of THESE as mentioned above, the problem goes away.

Power Tools - you can buy a small drill, jackhammer etc, but it'd only be good for minor work. If you want something that can do heavy work, it has to be large because of the size of the motor, weight needed etc. Our corded drill is fantastically heavy & cumbersome, so I've got a cordless for convenience when the power isn't needed.

As for phones - sorry but I'm with the poster above - buy a smaller one if it's too big, or think about how you're using it. There are loads of "normal" sized phones out there, just scroll past the "must have" ones. (it does depend if you're a mobile snob though).

All of these phones are really popular in the Indian and Chinese markets - and the male build/size in these countries is much slighter than the UK average, yet they love them!

As for use - I work with a 5'2" guy who has a Note 2 phone that is nearly as big as his head & he loves it - for what it's designed for. If you want to hold it above your head & take photos/videos either get a smaller phone or even use a compact camera, rather than something that isn't really designed to be used like that.... I've got a smallish phone for phone stuff, a camera for anything nicer than a snap & a tablet for anything else....

Toilets - glad they've finally started dealing with this as Mrs Bainbridge gets quite narked when all 3 of the males in the household have been, washed hands & are drinking 2nd coffee by the time she gets her ablutions completed!

WRT flatpack - Mrs B is Queen here!! Not a swear-word is uttered, things are laid out in the correct order & then calmly fixed together. I'm terrible & even the dog knows to hide when the allen keys come out!

BerstieSpotts Wed 20-Nov-13 15:32:49

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".

2. The Galaxy Note and Note II are a totally different category of phone which are too big for anybody to use. They are an ALTERNATIVE. Not THE ONLY phone with the specs it has.

3. The Indian and Chinese markets are a minority when compared to the world. Women are not a minority!

BerstieSpotts Wed 20-Nov-13 15:33:04

*to use one-handed.

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.

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 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...

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

Can't wait jess


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.

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.

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?

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

Muhahahahahahaha. Happy now?��

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?

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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?

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