International Journal of Art & Design Education

Black Stockings and Pot Pourri: Gender Issues in Design and Technology

Volume 16.2   1997



Product designers are an integral part of bringing technology to life and it is predominantly males as designers who 'clothe' technology in the designs which utilise it. Consequently products used by and identified with women are in fact designed by men. One of the guiding precepts of design as it is taught and practised, is that people buy particular artefacts in order to express and/or confirm their identity. It has been argued that the success of gendered designs in the late nineteenth century reflected the social construct of gender difference. I argue that this has remained unchallenged to date and that the gender stereotyping of products further stereotypes technology. These theoretical debates are rarely introduced to product design students because the predominantly male lecturers are reluctant to deal with the issues themselves.