I like Barnard’s feminism piece, because what he argues is not only very useful for my own research, but also very true. Perhaps even the best couple in the world, sometimes, will think like this, “What’s wrong with him/her? How can he/she think like this? I really don’t understand.” For example, I did a very simple “test”. Personally, I feel the figure 5.1 of flower patterns on p.105 is very nice: I like those flowers, leafs and how they are combined together. Then I showed it to my boyfriend but he did not like it. His words were: “Such a mess.” Similar meaning as “false principles of design.”
I agree that gender is an important factor to discuss in relation to why and how people act in either online or offline environments. Actually, many studies have shown gender differences in terms of men and women’s behaviors, communication patterns, psychology, etc. What I’m most interested in Barnard’s piece is his account of the nature of gender-based approach, “Where traditional history and design history are rooted in the idea of an objective science, dealing with facts that exist independently of the people doing the understanding, feminists approaches will stress the part of the understanding subject in the activity of understanding” (p. 94). Can we “understand” this as “gender-based approaches focus more on the personal horizons of the understanding subject than on the facts”?Because the facts on which gender-based approaches studies can be selected: These studies pay attention to objects, practices, institutions and personnel that is different from those prescribed by traditional mainstream and masculine history.
Another question I’m thinking about is whether or not Barnard includes (or suggests) the role of sexual orientations in his piece. I notice that he uses “gender identities” at times, and I assume that someone’s gender identity can be different from his/her actual gender, which might be related to his/her sexual orientation. But on p.115, he says, “[t]he understanding of mass-produced, …was seen to be dependent upon one’s gender identity, differing according to whether one was male or female.” In this context, he seems only talks about one’s actual gender, not his/her sexual orientation. His book was published in 2001, so I’m not sure whether he includes this implication in his book or not.
My last thought is whether Barnard’s account of feminist approaches can be applied to cultural approaches too. It seems these two approaches share a lot of common focuses, such as on the understanding subject’s unique “horizons”. For example, the “test” I mentioned at the very beginning might also be understood as cultural differences between two people: I’m asian and he is American.