Abstract

This paper presents lessons to better incorporate queer understandings of sex and gender in design research and practice. There is much discussion in design literature about how sex and gender are interpreted and attributed in the design process and end products. Discussions revolve around attention toward female and male bodies, and stereotypes of femininity and masculinity. Nevertheless, this work rarely adopts queer understandings of sex and gender, or considers the experiences and identities of queer users. This prevents design research and practice from properly addressing social sustainability imperatives. Project results are based on a multi-part literature review and analysis, focused on industrial design. I highlight key themes surrounding sex and gender in design literature through three examples, and problematize these works in relation to queer understandings of sex and gender. Next, I identify a complementary theoretical perspective and priority for design research and practice, which provides lessons to better incorporate queer understandings of sex and gender in these realms. I end by exemplifying these lessons, their relative potential for social sustainability, and their possible applications.

Keywords:

Industrial design; concepts; queer; sex; gender

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Jun 16th, 12:00 AM

Incorporating Queer Understandings of Sex and Gender in Design Research and Practice

This paper presents lessons to better incorporate queer understandings of sex and gender in design research and practice. There is much discussion in design literature about how sex and gender are interpreted and attributed in the design process and end products. Discussions revolve around attention toward female and male bodies, and stereotypes of femininity and masculinity. Nevertheless, this work rarely adopts queer understandings of sex and gender, or considers the experiences and identities of queer users. This prevents design research and practice from properly addressing social sustainability imperatives. Project results are based on a multi-part literature review and analysis, focused on industrial design. I highlight key themes surrounding sex and gender in design literature through three examples, and problematize these works in relation to queer understandings of sex and gender. Next, I identify a complementary theoretical perspective and priority for design research and practice, which provides lessons to better incorporate queer understandings of sex and gender in these realms. I end by exemplifying these lessons, their relative potential for social sustainability, and their possible applications.

 

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