Design may alter gender stereotypes

Have you ever reflected on why the little girls’ section in the toy store is full of pink and purple, dolls and cuddly toys and the boys’ section is black and blue, and full of superheroes, and cars? This stereotyping is shaping our attitudes, and it continues beyond the toy store. Therefore, do designers have the power to affect our attitudes towards gender and diversity? Yes, says Nina Lysbakken, PhD research fellow at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO).

Subconscious attitudes towards women and men affect design. According to Lysbakken, designers need to be aware of their own power to shape ideas about gender.


Some researchers argue that all the things we surround ourselves with in our everyday lives affect us and that they may enhance or contradict our perception of ourselves and our world. Lysbakken consciously applies design methods in order to challenge her own ideas and push them in a certain direction.

“By using artistic styles and images of women and men that refute stereotypical perceptions of women, men and culture, as a designer you may contribute to changing these perceptions.”

According to her, the designer’s job is also to balance this against various perceptions.

“It is important to be aware of the fact that our own perspective is limited compared to the users’. We all have different perspectives, and I only communicate one through my design, so it is impossible for me to reach everybody.”

According to Lysbakken, design can only become better if the designers are conscious of their own perspectives and challenge these. In this way, the designers are better equipped to challenge stereotypes and contribute to increased diversity.

Read the full original text here to know more: http://kjonnsforskning.no/en/2017/11/design-may-alter-gender-stereotypes

Photo sourced from the original article.