“Between the two a gulf of … hostility and dislike, but most of all lack of understanding. They have a curious distorted image of each other."
This sentiment of hate could to refer to countless current social situations but was written in the 1950s about a guy who was a part of both literary and scientific cultures - giving him a privileged insight and an understanding of the absurdity of both.
Snow didn’t touch on gender or design - in his paper called ‘The Two Cultures’ - but these are the two cultures intertwined in my research. And like Snow, I see from the inside out how each begins to have a distorted view of each other in a complex and overlapping manner.
As a woman I am hopelessly optimistic, as the scientists in Snow’s writing, that my gender has value and a unique voice that can contribute significantly to the outcomes I make as a designer. But Snow lumps all scientists into one homogeneous lot, a group who are more likely to understand each other than those outside their circle. Women on the other hand no longer wish to be painted with the same brush as each other. Every life experienced as a woman is unique and representative only of herself. Here lies the similarities with designers - each, regardless of their discipline brings a personal process and narrative to the problems they must solve, improving the outcomes with increased diversity in the collaborative group.
So female designers must be celebrated and included - historically and in a contemporary sense - for what their contribution ought to do, or as Snow explains...
“The clashing point of two subjects, two disciplines, two cultures - of two galaxies... - ought to produce creative chances."
Reference: Snow, C.P. "The Two Cultures." London: Cambridge University Press, 1959.