Sexuality and Design

First, I have never conciously designed something to look phallic. I have designed a product specifically for women. Since it was a fashion item, I simply flipped through alot of women’s fashion magazines and looked in alot of women’s sections at clothing. It would be interesting to research the more crebreal aspects of female users as CG has.

Second, female phallics exist too. For some reason, popularly we are only alerted to the male phallics (typically something cylindrical). Female phallics abound in other cultures (typically triangles pointing down). I’d be curious to see the results of a study into which phallic appears most often in ID.

Lastly, sex in languages. English used to have sexes for words, but they were phased out as english simplified. Trust me, a language without sexes is alot easier to use. Despite this,many words still have a sexual connotation. In the professions we have words like nurse, which is asexual, but is associated mostly with women and a host of sex-specific professions like stewardess, actress, etc.

This continues into products. Cars are associated with men, decorating accessories and laundry detergent with women. These are, of course, socially promoted (watch who is doing the wash in any detergent commercial).

My wife speaks french as her first language. I asked her how she felt the sexes in french effect how she views different objects. She claimed that they had no effect, but I see some cultural differences that may be explained by language.

For example, a car is always feminine in French (LA voiture, LA bagnole, l’automobile (f.)). Here in Quebec, I’ve noticed far less automotive enthusiasts, non-agressive styled vehicles are more popular than in the states and people seem to have a more utilitarian relationship with their car.

In another sense though, language doesn’t effect a sexual view, because in French the sex given to word has nothing to do with the cultural sense of the noun. For example, tampon is masculine and a beard is feminine.