Shopping for Lenses: The Implications and Potential of “Sex,” “Gender,” and “Feminist” Approaches on Design Principles and Practices

By Isabel Prochner and Pierre De Coninck.

Published by Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal — Annual Review

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This paper describes the intellectual journey of the first author—a doctoral student in a design program. The goal is to identify the implications and potential of sex, gender, and feminist approaches of design principles and practices through a literature review of 256 journal articles and books about relationships between women and design. The literature is situated and analysed according to key concepts and perspectives: sex, gender, and feminism. Major theoretical arguments, themes, approaches, and understandings of sex, gender, and feminism in design literature are identified. Few texts explore sex and design exclusively; most literature explores gender and design. Cultural and social conditions impact gendering of design practices, movements, and artifacts, and they impact women’s roles as both designers and consumers. Feminist design literature, or feminist subject matter, is identified by its critical approach and reaction. The overarching theme in feminist design literature is empowerment. Texts are organized into six categories distinguished by approach and level of reaction.

Keywords: Design Principles, Design Practices, Women, Sex, Gender, Feminism

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal — Annual Review, Volume 7, 2013, pp.69-78. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 293.593KB).

Isabel Prochner

Doctoral Candidate, Faculté de l'aménagement, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Pierre De Coninck

Professor, École de Design Industriel, Faculté de l'Aménagement, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada