Design has a role to play in ending stereotyping

In reply to Pat Starke’s letter, I’m so pleased that my comments on the patriarchal dominance of our culture amused him so. I’m also very happy to hear that his wife has managed to raise both their children completely devoid of influence from our society. That’s quite a feat.

The nature vs nurture debate is a big issue. I agree that there are differences between men and women, but these differences have been exploited by consumer capitalism over time and distorted. Having us believe that the differences between the sexes are far greater than they actually are means that we are far more valuable as consumers. I just don’t see what harm it would do for consumerism (of which designers are a big part) not to infer what boys and girls should be playing with.

This debate could potentially be discussed for a very long time, so I’ll steer the topic back to my original point: as designers, we hold great influential power on our culture, and – as Spiderman himself says – ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. I think it’s all too easy to get caught up in the small things and miss the bigger picture.

James Windsor, Designer, James Windsor Design, London W13

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