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Gendered Spaces - Essay Example

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In this essay, we will critically examine the correlation between gender and space as applied to modern house design, taking a closer look into the current situation in Australia where the remnants of this methodology simply cannot be wished away. Right since the beginning of civilisation, disparities in spatial arrangements arose out of a need to illustrate the status differences between men and women (Spain, 1992)…
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Download file to see previous pages It is believed many of the ills of contemporary home environment can be traced to these historic developments which should be easily rectifiable by incorporating "feminine" aspects of space design (Roberts, 1991).
The case for a feminine urban theory can be built on an obvious assumption that women were historically "oppressed" by a system of patriarchy which denied them an active voice in matters dealing with not only urban planning but also other aspects of life such as politics, civic participation, games and sports, trade etc. (McDowell, 1984, Francke, 1985). Rendell, Penner & Borden (2000) criticise this theory for its ignoring of the histories surrounding matriarchal civilisations such as Ancient Egypt and Samoa.
The authors suggest that the theory of "oppression" is at best, an oversimplification of any historical legacy conferred by gendered spaces. In order to study this problem in detail, one must place higher focus on technical aspects of gender spaces phenomenon (Rendell, Penner & Borden, 2000). This would be made clear by unique gender displays which affect spatial dynamics in an actual interaction.
1. Relative size: Men occupy more space than women in terms of body size and posture (Umiker-Sebeok, 1985). This automatically translates into a male obsession for large size for example, preferences as in phallus-shaped skyscrapers or large limousines.
2. Psychological withdrawal from the social context: Men are fiercely territorial and prepare for potential threats to their control of the situation whereas women are more inclusive about differing arrangements (Umiker-Sebeok, 1985).
3. Ritualised subordination: Women show signs of being controlled by others and have more appeasing behaviour such as smiling which leads to a curvi-linear pattern in design which can be seen in traditional kitchens (Umiker-Sebeok, 1985; Spain, 1992). Men, in contrast, are more dominant and unyielding which can be seen in their preference for bold lines manifesting in rectilinear patterns (90) (Umiker-Sebeok, 1985; Spain, 1992).
4. Functional Ranking: Men like to control the actions of others whereas women are more concerned with being at a gentle ease about themselves (Umiker-Sebeok, 1985).
5. Locations: Women are generally found in domestic locations such as kitchens and nursery whereas men are found in lot more diverse locations (Umiker-Sebeok, 1985).
6. Touch/Manipulation: It has been repeatedly observed that when it comes to touching and manipulating objects, men choose to manoeuvre them whereas women tend to gently caress/examine them (Umiker-Sebeok, 1985).
7. Movement: Men usually make movements which are both faster and farther from the central object (Umiker-Sebeok, 1985). Women, in contrast, are set at a more leisurely pace which is seen in the way they manipulate things (Umiker-Sebeok, 1985).
In an Australian context, according to an experiment conducted on the US print and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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