The Social Construction of Gender

Gender design, un-noticeably everything around us has become specifically gendered. Branded spaces exhibit smells, colours and even lighting adjustments to appeal to a preference of gender. The question that now arises is, what specifically is defined as male and female and who of which determine these definitions Beauvoir (1949) says “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman…  it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature… which is described as feminine”. How did gender design become so specific, how were colours like blue and pink designated to male and female respectively. There has always been a segregation between genders, an example that comes to mind when thinking of the differences in responsibilities and status is among the architectural design world itself. A title of empowerment was often suggested for men. Design was a largely male dominated industry; it become common amongst all design sectors, but was especially visible amongst architects. Zaha Hadid, a recognisable woman for her incredible, talent and shear persistence to become a successful ‘Starchitect’- a term of which refers to architects who have a critical acclaim and have become idols amongst the architect world. She was initially recognised for her fantastic original sketches which began as of what could be classed as absurd and then developed into some of the most extreme architectural builds. Hadid is one of the only women to have won as many awards within the architectural sector and was a proven fact of how women can succeed. She proved to women that they are able to make a difference among the design world, they can create their own brand and stand strong on their own two feet. It can be said that “It’s a man’s world with one women” Booth (2016). It can be thought to be thankful that women started to contribute more to the design sector as there were design flaws amongst some masculine approaches to architecture. During the modernist era, designs lacked functionality for women and children. Women were faced with large industrial stairs of which they had to manipulate with their prams, practicality of these issues were just not addressed during design development. Men designed buildings with out thinking of aspects that women will struggle to manipulate around. This lecture made me think that we segregate far too much amongst a community, we give names to areas that have no relevance. For example, what’s to say women can’t wear blue and men can’t wear pink.


Beauvoir, S.D. (1949) The Second Sex. Trans. and ed. HM Parshley. New York: Knopf.

Booth, R. (2016) Architects speak out about industry sexism in tributes to Zaha Hadid, Guardian. Available at: (Accessed: 18 April 2016)

Sparke, P. (1995) As long as it’s pink: The sexual politics of taste. United Kingdom: Pandora

Zaha Hadid Architects, (2016) Zaha Hadid Architects Available at: (Accessed: 16 April 2016)


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