Sexist Product Designs in 20th Century

Sexist Product Designs in 20th Century


Back in the 20th Century, many products had male preference and dominance, functionality, and dimension. Product design is formation of new concepts of products, its physical design and user interface. Diverse proportions influenced by gender preferences like functionality, aesthetics, and functionality. Product development has focused on gender dimension and design for ages. Companies making jewellery, perfume, shoes, and clothes have had an outright distinction distinguishing male and female products.


Television invented around 1920s and was in great use in 1950s. The design of television had great dominance and male preference in its design. Designers secluded females as potential buyers as its features and specifications. Designers of highly technical gadgets like televisions had male thinking. Electronic companies like Bang and Olufsen specialising in audio gadgets and television sets have had an interest in meeting female preferences as a previous study has shown that almost 80% of women in United States of America and Denmark make buying decisions in their households. Audio and television companies therefore have a business prospective of addressing the needs for female users (Schroeder, 2010).


Telephone invented in the end of 19th century and it has evolved overtime improving its user interface to suit both male and female. In 1947 when Martin Cooper made the first telephone call, a Motorola executive revolutionised the communication system and since a male developed it, it weighed 794 grams and had male characteristics. Its battery could only last for thirty minutes and it had a price tag of 7,200 euros. In the late 1990s, second generation phones appeared, these were smaller than their predecessor was, cheaper and lighter. It provided cellular communication in a digital manner improving the quality of voice transmission and enhancing communication security. Their ability to transmit different dialogues concurrently in a single channel reduced contract line prices hence integration into the business world (Funk, 2009).


A bicycle is a two-wheel mobility device powered by peddling and steering. It is one of the best devices for transport worldwide. Although invented in the early 1800s, it has experienced greater modifications overtime, shifting its focus in making bicycles embraced by the female category and even young individuals. Male bicycles designers decided to expand their market base by making bicycles that are user friendly for women. Designers in recognition and embrace of gender equality ended up making bicycles for different occasions like racing, shopping and leisure activities. Bicycle manufacturers have evolved in powering mechanism of the bicycle by use of different transmission mechanisms like: Chain transmission mechanism, hydraulic transmission, gear transmission mechanism and string-type transmission mechanism (Malppan & Sunny, 2015).

Air Conditioner

Water from aqueducts used by ancient Rome in cooling their homes through water circulation in walls. Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley in 1758 embraced evaporation techniques for volatile liquids like alcohols for rapid cooling of objects. Willis Carter invented the first electrical air conditioner in 1902 (Hillyard, 2020). Stuart W. Cramer further invented ways of adding moisture in the air in 1906 in his textile grinder. The first air conditioner owned privately mounted in 1914 in a Minneapolis house; air conditioning was available for cars in 1939. The detail approach for air conditioning manufacture had no female touch, recognition or user interface (Perez, 2019). Male designers tend to overlook preferences of females irrespective of their relevance to female users in advancement of technology (Guo et al., 2020)


Female interaction, communication, functionality, and aesthetics should be incorporated with a similar methodology reflecting on preference of women in designing products aimed at equipping women with the finest user interface. There is however, a great potential in creating progressive technological items more relevant and beneficial to female users.