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    Architecture and Equality?

    lizziey Mar 2 '14 5

    So, I don’t particularly consider myself a feminist. And I don’t mean to get all provocative up in here. But I do believe in equality, and it doesn’t take long in the discipline of architecture to figure out that there’s some kind of problem going on. Go to any review, and you’re most likely to see a group of old white men sitting around and judging a studio that’s at least half female, if not more. The problem extends into practice too- only 17% of AIA members are women, and just 10% are ethnic minorities. 

    It seems I’m not the only designer with these issues on my mind. Last year a group from the GSD launched an ultimately unsuccessful petition to recognize Denise Scott Brown with her partner Robert Venturi’s Pritzker Prize.

    The thing is, its a complex problem, and I’m not sure if there’s anyone to blame. But I do think its useful take a look at that reading list, jury panel, or conference poster and ask who is being represented and why. Apparently, so did the folks over at Feminist Wall of Shame. It’s a pretty simple idea, but it gives us a chance to take a second look at who is being recognized as the face of architecture.

    Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 10.55.38 AM

    http://feministwall.tumblr.com

    --

    See posts from more MIT Architecture students over at Arch_Kiosk

     

     
    • 5 Comments

    • Donna SinkDonna Sink
      Mar 3, 14 11:19 am

      "…I don’t particularly consider myself a feminist. …But I do believe in equality…"

      Not being snarky or mean at all, but these two phrases don't work together.  To be feminist means you believe in equality among genders, both male/female and those that are not so easily defined as one or the other.  You believe that people all deserve equal opportunity regardless of society's overarching traditional gender stereotypes.  That's ALL being feminist means.  

      Architecture education and practice does tend to skew male.  The ACSA Atlas Project is doing interested work analyzing the metrics of architecture education - with the predictable finding that leadership in architecture education is very unbalanced.

      l3wis
      Mar 5, 14 11:33 am

      Not being snarky or mean at all, but these two phrases don't work together.  To be feminist means you believe in equality among genders, both male/female and those that are not so easily defined as one or the other.  You believe that people all deserve equal opportunity regardless of society's overarching traditional gender stereotypes.  That's ALL being feminist means.  

      i disagree...  to be a feminist you must be an egalitarian, but to be an egalitarian you don't have to be a feminist. there is definitely a difference between the two as the latter type is specifically concerned with female equality and empowerment whereas someone like lizziey may not be preoccupied with her gender's social and professional equity to the same degree as a feminist would.

      archinet
      Mar 5, 14 7:25 pm

      I feel really dismal about the whole situation. Its bad, men want to mentor men. Also from what I can tell since graduating, working in practice and teaching a bit- men rather help a guy out then a girl. On top of that although many men won't admit to it- I feel as though men feel shameful even insulted to have a girl above them in a higher up position. Or even lose out to a girl, they rather lose out to a job or promotion to a guy. I always get this she devil look and whispers from the guys on the team when I do a really good render or produce quickly and impress the boss. 

      Sounds overly simplistic but honestly that's what I have experienced. What's worse if an older man in a higher up position does try to help or mentor a woman they might look suspect- and they know it. Its sounds stupid but really that is what I have experienced.

      I have a male mentor but he's gay. 

      I don't know what the solution can be. I try every day but its bad. All I can say is that I hope my observations are wrong and its not as bad as it seems. However its the mentoring after graduation that is pretty critical. 

      Donna SinkDonna Sink
      Mar 6, 14 9:20 pm

      jk3hl, feminism supports the rights of both genders (plus those who aren't easily or comfortably defined as one or the other) to be equally unconstricted by outdated societal notions of what genders roles are or should be.  I support the rights of men to be stay-at-home caregivers of their children just as I support women's rights to do the same. The point is that all people should be free to make choices that work for them without pressure from society to conform to roles that don't.  Feminism is not pro women's right at the expense of men's - the point is that everyone should be equal. This is feminism.

      jla-x
      Mar 7, 14 11:58 am

      Everyone should be treated equal but everyone is not equal.  Men and women differ in many ways. It's just nature.  I'm all for equal treatment, but the overall feminist argument that gender is a societal construct is wrong IMO and most biologists and anthropologists would agree. Gender is biological to an extent.  Gender roles are mostly constructs, but there are some significant natural differences between men and women.  Not talking about superiority of anything like that but just differences that make us better at certain things in general.  Just in general though.  There is a grey area of course.  

      What annoys me is the blatant disregard of science comming from some feminist thinkers.  I had one sociology professor in undergrad that argued that men are not physically stronger than women.  I argued back that some women are stronger than most men, but generally men are physically stronger.  She was furious.  It's just a fact.  Sometimes the pc nonsense ignores factual science to make an argument and I think that this extremism is where feminists lose a lot of people.  I personally saw a 120 lb woman knock out a 250lb man in a kickboxing match so I do understand that it's just a general rule, but its a real general rule.  As far as mental things.  Women and men also differ in certain ways.  I believe that generally women make better leaders.  I think it's a shame that politics is male dominated.  But I do not think its a shame that firefighting is male dominated.  I do however think that many women can be fantastic firefighters, but overall, men will generally be better equipped at carrying heavy people down ladders.  As for architecture, art, engineering, medicine, law, etc....it seems that men and women are very even in ability. 

      As for rights, the law must be designed to give everyone an equal chance.  It should not consider general rules.  It should always be designed to protect/treat everyone equally.  

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