After decades of complaining that Barbie, a doll that has become a staple in American culture, was ruining the self-image of young girls by setting an unrealistic standard of beauty, someone finally stepped forward to create a remedy. Women are talking about Nickolay Lamm’s realistic proportions doll, a doll that he created because he wants to help women withself image issues.
Why did it take the ingenuity of a man to attempt to solve a problem that impacts women? Although the answer may not be a simple one to answer, the question has kept popping up throughout history. Lamm is not the only man who stood in the trenches to create products and services designed solely to serve women.
Consider Arunachalam Muruganantham, an Indian man who wore a maxi pad to figure out how to create a machine that would manufacture them cheaply. When he noticed that his wife had to choose between buying expensive sanitary napkins and eating he set out to figure out how to manufacture them with less cost. He created a rudimentary device that women could afford which would allow them to create the sanitary napkins and create income by selling the napkins to others.
When his wife refused to help him test out his product, he created a device that would drip blood into his maxi pad as he went about his day. His invention has revolutionized health care in India.
What about Jorge Odon, who says a Youtube video about a cork sparked an idea to create a tool to help ease childbirth problems. For those difficult births where the child is stuck inside of the birth canal, Odon suggested uncorking them with a device he created as an additional option instead of a c-section.
Did you know that Frank Colton invented Enovid – the first oral birth control.
Paul Poiret, a french fashion designer, invented the modern day girdle.
Louis Vuitton is credited with creating the first massproduced designer handbag. Before the handbag was invented, women carried their belongings in deep pockets hidden in the folds of their skirts or attached to a deep band underneath. Vuitton created the travel box, later called a suitcase which then transformed into smaller, more manageable cases for every day wear and thus- the purse was born.
If these products created by men define a woman’s lifestyle, does that mean men define womanhood? Yes, in many ways.
Women define their lives in contrast to men’s lives and choices. How does an average woman gauge her value? She may do so in relation to her relationship with men.
Is she married? How attractive is she to men? How do men treat her?
Men also define womanhood by ushering in the very life experience that guarantees a transition from childhood- marriage and motherhood.
Women’s fashion is created to appeal to men. Every thing the average woman wears is created to attract a man’s attention and approval.
While feminists claim that we should demand equality, we already have something more important, interdependence. Yes, men are defining womanhood but at the same token, women are defining manhood as well. Looking in the mirror in silence, taking away all pretenses and agendas we must realize that both sexes define themselves fundamentally by their interactions with and in comparison to the opposite sex.