Critical Discourse: The F Word in Architecture

In The F Word In Architecture: Feminist Analyses in/of/for Architecture Sherry Ahrentzen talks about what gender has to do with architecture. She explains that gender is not necessarily sex, but a reflection of how social expectations, beliefs, and positions treat the biological characteristics of sex to form a system of values and identities. The amount of women architects in the past and present is quite limited. Architecture seems to be a male dominated profession with little feminism movements throughout the years, however, there are a large number of other professions in the world that are also male dominated and many of them have had more successful feminist accomplishments. This makes one wonder why is this not true in the architecture profession?

Ahrentzen explains that one reason that architecture is male dominated is because of history. It has been this way since ancient times and for this reason it has an effect on the outlook present day. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that this is the true reason because almost all professions started out in this manner. Also, if you examine history there are several monuments/building for women, which would not fit into the male dominated outlook. Another thing that Ahrentzen mentions is the importance of peer recognition. Because architecture is mostly comprised of male architects, this creates a kind of sub conscious state of mind that women do not quite belong in the profession. I believe this could be an outlook that people would agree with. Since architecture is composed mostly of men it seems like it is meant to be for men. Since interior design is composed mostly of women it seems like it is meant for women. This social construct is by no means the way things should be, but because of the demographics of these professions it creates a mindset in the general population.

If a woman wants to become an architect then she must get the idea of architecture being male dominated out of her head. People usually examine architects by the work that they do and it a woman does noteworthy work people will not only pay attention to her gender in examining her designs. Eventually se will be recognized just like a man in the architecture profession and hopefully in the future we will continue to narrow the gap on male vs. female architects.

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