I recently had the privilege of attending the MFA Products of Design Thesis Presentation in NYC, where 17 students presented their work. I was absolutely amazed at the quality of their thinking and output. I was particularly impressed they did not hesitate to tackle big topics like the disabled and suicide. That said, I also laughed as humor was scattered throughout the entire session.
I had read a great Forbes article: “Why Products Designed by Women Are The Next Big Thing”, but to witness it live was another story.
I was very excited when Alexia Cohen presented her ‘Dare + Defy’ product line for outdoorsy women. It included a collection of vibrators and ‘Ascend’, a volunteer program providing women survivors of trauma access to their local climbing community to help with self-confidence and healing.
This young woman is a great illustration of what I mean by WIFFE ™, Women Innovating For the Female Economy. Who other than an outdoorsy woman could think of appropriate, great-looking solutions to deal elegantly with mental pain and celebrate daily pleasures. And when this woman doubles as a talented designer, it’s a winner!
Then I had a big excitement chill when Andrew Schlesinger stood up and started to talk about: GENTLEmen: Challenging Adults to Raise Feminine Boys.
WOW! This was powerful. One of his key statements is that kids should be leveraging both their feminine and masculine sides. However while girls are taught positive masculine traits like self-confidence and strength, little is done to teach boys positive feminine traits like emotion and nurturing. The speaker developed some very interesting social solutions like creating gender-neutral classrooms and workshops to support fathers encouraging sons to be more emotionally vulnerable.
What I saw at the event fully supports the FEMIMICRY™ program I am designing, seeking to unleash the feminine side in innovators, both male and female.
I was truly delighted to hear the young generation advocate for the feminine side!