Analysis of ‘Preserving Women’ by Shelley Nickles Essay
In this Historical Perspectives on Technology class we learned to take a hard look at the “players” who were in a work, and this piece offered an interesting and complicated story of how the different players (advertisers, different classes of people, refrigerator companies, women, etc. Interacted with each other. The author talks about how many people bill this time as a time when women helped “develop the refrigerator” and how this Is Inaccurate. But though It Is not a story in the championing of women’s rights, it is a story in a large shift in companies advertising focus towards the common consumer. So many of the themes discussed during class are present in this piece, though mainly it contains themes of the following: the theory of perfecting and analyzing systems; the shaking of social norms and modernity; and the idea of artifacts having politics.
Many of the themes in this article go on to explain many Ideas still rampant or still subliminal In our lives and culture today. There were several modernist themes and ideas weaving their way through the process that was modernizing the refrigerator and America’s kitchens. The Frigidaire Company, like other companies of its time, wanted to pander mostly/only to the upper class. They had the Idea that their product was inherently desirable and that they TLD need to know what the consumer “wanted” or “needed. The ad company that they hired, Lord and Thomas, came around and tried to shatter those perceptions. Lord and Thomas showed that Frigidaire was alienating potential customers by pandering to only the upper class, and that market research could increase their sales. They wanted Frigidaire to reject the status quo, the old way of doing things, and accept a new and evidence-based way of doing things. This is one of the mall points about modernism, outlined In The Horse In the City by Machines, Clay, and Joel Tart and many other class readings.
Kitchens that people currently lived in were advertised as the old way of living, and the government even subsidized the transition to the “new electric kitchen” of the future. Another modernist element in this design process was the lack of ornamental-news in the design of the fridges. Also, the fridges were to be designed with maximized efficiency in mind, and that was to be used as a selling point. This not only fits in with modernity but also carries tenses Trot ten tannery AT Clientele Management.
Housewives were total Tanat aurally this depression, they could economically and efficiently feed their families with this tool. This may seem an odd thing to attribute to Tailoring, as usually Tailoring is implied in relation to the work force, but I would argue that housewifely was these omen’s’ Jobs, and was used to streamline their work for economic gains in much the same way as other, more classic examples. Male engineers of the refrigerator design were frustrated however, that the designs were not purely functionalist, that they were “stylized” away from perfect efficiency.
They particularly mention in this article, the ladies’ baffling opposition to the “Monitor” model of refrigerator, which was ugly with a large mechanism on top but was the most efficient, mechanical-wise. I would argue though that this was not stabilization, the other designs that women chose were the most “functionalist” for their user needs. The mechanism on top was hard to clean and reduced storage space. The frivolous “aerodynamic design of stationary objects” described in the article can similarly be attributed to curved edges being faster and easier to clean.
This brings us to our next thematic plot in this article. The refrigerator was highly political in that it was highly gendered (and class-defined). Dry. Winner talks about this in his essay entitled “Do artifacts have politics? ” This article reminded me deeply of a Kurt Evensong story entitled “Jane. ” In the story a traveling refrigerator salesman (similar to the traveling survey takers) ends up building a robotic wife named Jane out of one of his refrigerators.
There is a theme of subservience there, the ultimate patriarchal fantasy is the foment?a programmable sex-slave whose only purpose is to serve its master. And that aspect touches on the classicism of the refrigerator?middle class white women were able to regain some of their privilege through the refrigerator by having it be the robot replacement for their servants they could no longer afford. But ultimately, the wife- made-out-of-a-refrigerator thing is symbolic of how closely the refrigerator is regarded as a symbol of femininity.
The article talks about how advertisers used tactics such as telling women that they’d be able to “preserve the health of the house,” linking their desire to be maternal and feminine with their desire for a refrigerator. Furthermore, the refrigerator got some of its gender-identity only reluctantly. Male engineers were skeptical of the findings of surveys, and only wanted to focus on the mechanics of their designs instead of thinking of the lifestyles of women.
In one instance, only when a woman designer wrote a report outlining how the inclusion of an “efficient” design feature would cost them sales did they relent to revert loss of revenue. Nowadays, all engineering classes take user needs into very high esteem, and with good reason?an end design is only useful if it gets used. So in conclusion, the first remaking of the refrigerator is a many faceted topic involving many nuances of gender, efficiency, culture, and politics.
This narrative shows the beginning of many integral parts of our culture today. Every household has a refrigerator, specifically an electric one. And the refrigerator has remained gendered to this day. For evidence of this, look no further than the millions of internet trolls that view the kitchen as a “women’s space,” which is not to say this wasn’t a relevant idea in the time outlined in this article; which perhaps should be mandatory rearing Tort sun trolls to see now really antiquate Ana unoriginal “ironic sexism” turns out to be.