#47 - All Things Designed By Men, For Men
Everything from car seats to women's fashion is designed for men's desires. Men's bodies are the default template for all products, and men's desires are the primary requirements for any design, even when that design will only be used by women.
#8 - Privilege to Make the Rules
#14 - Men are the Default Gender
#15 - Privilege of Unquestioned Majority
#17 - Primacy of Men's Comfort
#43 - Men in Business
#44 - Men in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)
Exclusive to Men Because:
All "unisex" products, from sweatshirts, to the placement of gas pedals on cars, to the height of kitchen cabinets, are designed for men's body sizes and frames. Any product designed exclusively for women (such as, oh, women's fashion) is designed for the men who will interact with the woman who purchases the product. The women who actually use the product are overlooked.
Ignoring women's material needs marginalizes half of the people in a consumer culture.
Dismissing the discretionary income of female consumers cuts hugely into a company's profits. All the half-assed patronizing ad campaigns in the world will not bring half of the population around to a product that was never designed with them in mind. While many companies feel that they can afford to ignore the female market [see: #15 - Privilege of Unquestioned Majority], the opportunity costs are much higher than they realize.
The damage caused to women by harmful products, from ankle-breaking shoes to lead in lipstick, is deliberately ignored and left unaddressed.
If You are a Good Guy:
Realize that products are rarely designed with women in mind, and pay extra attention to the few companies that actually cater to women. When buying stuff for women, avoid the cheaply-made pink-coded knockoffs of products originally designed for men. In some cases, especially for tall women, the male-designated non-pink products will fit better than the cheap pink imitations.
On a similar note, don't get bent out of shape when your female relations buy unisex clothes from the guy's clothing department. It should be no surprise that women will buy the guy's stuff when it fits better and is made better.
If you're one of the few who actually design products for a living, then put down the 5'8" broad-shouldered default "average person" schematic for a moment and actually test your new product on some potential female customers.
And yes, women's public bathrooms need to have twice the square footage of men's restrooms. That's not reverse-sexism; that's biological necessity until the day that they finally make urinals socially acceptable for women to use. If you're a good guy, stop obsessing over the square footage, and instead count the number of things you can pee in. You will quickly realize that men's restrooms everywhere have double the capacity of women's restrooms. So when the foreman on your building project swaps the men's and women's restroom signs (because he enjoys watching women stand cross-legged in long lines while he strolls into a vast warehouse of urinals) fire his ass and put the signs back.
Part 1 - The Con of the Fashion Industry
All Things Designed By Men, For Men (Part 1):
Yet More Fraud in the Fashion Industry
"Before, cheap clothes looked cheap. Today, it's nearly impossible to see the difference, and that's what we are trying to prove."
~Jorgen Andersson, Brand and New Business Director, H&M
In case you didn't realize it already, not only is the entire fashion industry designed to crush women's spirits (through the constant bombardment of ads and social pressure mandating women to conform to the multitude of demeaning and contradictory archetypes assigned to the sex class by men) they're also ripping you off BIG TIME in the process!
Brands like Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton are owned by vicious moguls that make Ebenezer Scrooge look like a philanthropist. They hire scumbags from the porn industry to design their clothing, slap some calf skin together with a lot of glue using horrifically abused women and children in China, and then sell the crap to rich women at ten times the cost of manufacture.
All in a day's work for the Patriarchy.
For the full story, pick up Dana Thomas's book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. Or, get the Cliffs Notes from NPR's interview with Dana Thomas.
And when you're done, play this quick game of "What's Wrong With This Picture"! All you have to do is find 5 things that are wrong with the following picture:
Think you have it? Check your guesses against the answers below.
- Ridiculous cleavage: Shaving even a few inches of fabric from each dress can save a company millions over an entire production line. Couple that with fashion designers from the porn industry, and you have a guarantee that skimpy sexist outfits sold at ten times the cost of manufacture will be around for a long, long time.
- Bye-bye buttons: Just as removing fabric from a dress can save a company millions of dollars, removing double-stitching and "extras" like buttons and zippers saves a bundle too, all while increasing the likelihood of Dude-demanded nip-slips. Prepare youselves for the sack-with-a-rope dress in a few more years, except that rope is expensive. Maybe they'll use dental floss instead?
- Handbags! Handbags! Handbags! Handbags! Women's clothing comes in several (usually unhelpful) sizes. While the one-number clothing system is already a huge hassle for women, it still doesn't bring enough profits to the Dudes. At the end of a clothing season, designer stores have to write down unsold garments in sizes that nobody wanted. Handbags, on the other hand, come in just one size for all customers, so there is no leftover stock for stores to eat. And if you make the bag from scraps, spit, glue, and slave labor, you have a guaranteed profit maker! Except, how do you get women to obsessively buy tons of unneeded handbags? Excessive marketing!! This picture was taken in front of the Louis Vuitton store in the Prudential Mall in Boston:
You can then require a different handbag for every single outfit that you make. Then flood the market with advertisements  showing models happily frolicking about (as much as one can frolic in stilettos) with four handbags at a time. Just bury yourself up to your armpits in handbags whenever you go out! Not only will you make the fashion industry a ton of money, but you'll be a walking Christmas tree for purse snatchers!
- Stiletto Heels on a brick sidewalk: Anyone who has walked around the brick sidewalks of a college campus in heels knows that it is a good way to make a date with an ankle cast.
- Kittens don't use rifles.
 Trust me, after reading this post, you too will start to notice the marauding handbag ads that are everywhere these days!
Copyright June 2008 by F*ck M*sculinity