In an age when people are becoming more aware of gender and sexual expression, some home decor designers are trying to help change the way they decorate the homes they own.
In a new report, designer and gender critic Janine Sargent looks at the best products from a range of designers to help designers make more room for gender and sexuality.
Sargent says that although many of the products are designed to appeal to men and women, they are also “designed for a wide range of people”.
“There’s no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ because there’s always room for people who feel uncomfortable in their own skin,” she said.
“There are products that are meant to help people with their gender expression, but there are also products designed to be a neutral and welcoming environment for everyone.”
We’re also interested in things that are both inclusive and neutral for everyone, like the furniture that is designed with gender-neutral and non-binary gender identities.
“The most important thing for us is that these products don’t feel so much like ‘gender-specific’ as ‘non-binary’.”
Sargment says that the most interesting thing about her research is the way in which “the market is so rapidly changing”.
“It’s become so much more socially acceptable to say ‘we don’t like this, don’t buy it’,” she said, referring to a trend of companies buying up and repackaging “gender neutral” products in an attempt to sell them as less gender-specific.
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Spice Girls were the two products that came to mind as being non-gendered products that would appeal to women.
“I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to keep this as non-sexual and non commercial as possible,” Sargment said.
The survey found that people were more likely to buy a product if it had a positive impact on the lives of women or people of colour.
“I’m interested in seeing how the non-verbal ways of advertising work in that space,” Sarge told ABC News.
“There is a very real and growing need for non-judgemental products to be made for everyone in our society, and I think this report is a great way for people to start to think about how they can create non-sexist products that reflect the lives they want to live.”
Sargt said she wanted to take her own research on the topic to other companies.
“One of the things I’ve been really interested in exploring is how can we create non binary products that don’t need to be gender-based,” she told ABC Radio.
“For example, how can non-transgender people create a product that reflects their own gender identity, or non-white people create products that can reflect their own racial identity, and still have a positive effect for people.”