“From the physical to the metaphorical, the city is filled with reminders of masculine power”
Did you even know ‘feminist geography’ was a thing? How does one use such knowledge in the real world?
The College Fix reports:
‘Feminist geography’ professor argues tall buildings are sexist
Ever see a guy say goodbye to a shoe? Now a question more suited to 2020: Ever see a professor accuse a building of “toxic masculinity”?
That is precisely Leslie Kern’s specialty, and you can get a good sense of the Mount Allison University professor’s reasoning in a recent Guardian essay on the sexism in … city architecture.
It’s not the first article from a “feminist geography” perspective – indeed, there’s an entire academic journal, Gender, Place & Culture, devoted to the subject. (It’s somewhat credulous.)
But Kern (above) has written a full book on feminist geography, “Feminist City,” which claims that toxic masculinity “is built into the fabric of our urban spaces.” According to the geography and environment faculty page, the associate professor is also program director of Women’s and Gender Studies, and she’s interested in “embodied geographies.”
“From the physical to the metaphorical, the city is filled with reminders of masculine power,” Kern writes in The Guardian. “And yet we rarely talk of the urban landscape as an active participant in gender inequality”:
A building, no matter how phallic, isn’t actually misogynist, is it? Surely a skyscraper isn’t responsible for sexual harassment, the wage gap, or even the glass ceiling, whether it has a literal one up top or not?
And yet even the height and shape of a building reflects “patterns of gender-based discrimination,” she says, citing a female architecture professor who described skyscrapers as “rape” in 1977:
The office tower, [Dolores Hayden] wrote, is one more addition “to the procession of phallic monuments in history – including poles, obelisks, spires, columns and watchtowers”, where architects un-ironically use the language of “base, shaft and tip” while drawing upward-thrusting buildings ejaculating light into the night sky.
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