Gender Neutrality in the Automobile

Gender Neutral Design

Often in the design of automobiles, the designers often manipulate the gender connotations of their design to appeal to their target demographic. This can be seen in the designs of pickup trucks. These trucks carry strong tones of masculinity in order to appeal to their target audience of contractors, and outdoorsmen. When this tactic is implemented correctly their design is a big contributor to the sales success of the car model. Yet, when a manufacturer aims to reach as wide of a demographic as possible, it is imperative for their design to remain as gender neutral as possible. The is very apparent in sedans where their target is to reach as wide of an audience as possible. I photographed my 2000 Toyota Avalon, because it is a fine example of the gender neutrality of regular sedans.


Gender is a spectrum, even in design. What makes the design of the car gender neutral is its blend of the genders in the design. For example, in the design of the headlamps, the shapes involved are soft and rounded. Often these design ques have a feminine connotation. Further softness of the design is evident in the designs of the hood, and front bumper. There are no sudden, and sharp changes in any of the design lines of the car. All of the smooth aspects of the design all work to pull the automobile design in the closer to the famine side of the spectrum.

However, another the gender of this design is also pulled towards the masculine side in an equal magnitude. Straight lines are used throughout the design. Design ques that feature straight lines contain a masculine connotation. The front grill of the automobile features many straight vertical lines all in parallel. The use of theses straight lines complement, the feminine features of the headlamps and draws the gender association of the design close to the center.  Furthermore, in the design there is a straight line drawn from the front of the car, all along the side, and ends in the rear. This further adds sources of masculine ques in the design that pull this car to a gender neutral state.

In closing the design of the 2000 Toyota Avalon is gender neutral. This comes as no surprise. The Avalon is a car that is marketed to as wide as an audience as it can capture. It is no enthusiast car; thus it makes great business sense for Toyota to design the car in such a manner. Furthermore, there are more factors to consider in design of the car. There are technological hurdles that the engineer must face, other than gender neutrality. Problems like, aerodynamics, safety, and government regulations also have had a role in this design. Yet with all these factor included, the engineers have managed to make a gender neutral design.


Gender Ambiguity

In today’s society persons who break the stiff gender roles in our culture often are meet with hostility. The source of this hostility, and failure of acceptance is fear. It is in the human nature to approach an unknown with fear. Thus when a person breaks these cultural bound of gender they enter a cultural unknown and therefore induce fear in some people. This fear can lead to the coldness and slowness of acceptance of people of ambiguities genders. This is the reason in my life I encounter a person of an ambiguous gender feelings of caution, and apprehension arise.

-Michael Boc


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