October 2, 2013

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First some reflections on skyscrapers:

“the twentieth- century urban skyscraper, a pinnacle of patriarchal symbology, is rooted in the masculine mystique of the big, the erect, the forceful- the full balloon of the inflated masculine ego.”

Is the skyscraper a masculine shape in the city, a phallus, symbol of the erected penis? Or is it a symbol of human ego, women and men. An experiment with the forces of nature; is it possible to build that high? And isn’t curiosity something that exist in both women and men. Hasn’t the skyscraper become a symbol of the masculine when we named it as such? And by naming it masculine are we not underlining the problem. Giving the male all credit for an astonishing human endeavor.

Does it have to be yin and yang, masculine and feminine, on and off etc. Do we have to work with opposites? When naming a skyscraper masculine, we start to look for the female opposite. Instead of working together and saying “we, as humans did that”.

 

Second some reflections on “female power space”

“Each woman must become her own architect, that is, she must become aware of her ability to exercise environmental judgment and make decisions about the nature of spaces in which she lives and works.”

“The kinds of spaces we have, don’t have, or are denied access to can empower us or render us powerless. Spaces can enhance or restrict, nurture or impoverish. We must demand the right to architectural settings which will support the essential needs of all women. “

In the text the writer gives examples of space to help, space to eliminate existing and potential barriers to employment for all women, space for emergency housing, space for health care. Many of these examples are spaces for women in need of help, saying that we are victims that we need spaces for help.  Of course we need all of these social supporting functions but when we talk about female power space shouldn’t it be more about positive spaces. Spaces showing what is so great about being woman and not excluding men, but crossing the barrier set up ages ago but religion and cultures. By talking about “us”, “humans” instead of “female” and “male” would the world not lead by example? If women show that they are proud of being women as men show that they are proud of being men, would not the world be more equal? As long as we reinforce and acknowledge ourselves as victims are we not just creating greater gaps between the sexes?

 

Sofia Wollert Olsson

 

Source:

Leslie Kanes Weisman, ‘Women’s Environmental Rights: A Manifesto’ in Jane Rendell, Barbara Penner, Iain Borden, eds, Gender Space Architecture: An Interdisciplinary Introduction, London: Routledge, 2000, pp. 1-5.1

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One Response to “”

  1. malinahlgrenbergman Says:

    I think you bring up some interesting aspects of Weisman’s text! I agree that it is important to also create positive, empowering spaces, as well as spaces that are a solution to a problem.

    You ask if acknowledging women as victims create greater gaps between sexes. I can see where you’re coming from, but at the same time, it’s necessary to recognise and understand structures in order to change them. Inequalities and conflicts must be discussed before they can be resolved.

    Malin Ahlgren Bergman


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