CHAPTER 3
NEUTOPIA: A FEMINIST THEORY OF ARCHITECTURE

 


Introduction

The Division of Space
Making History
Creating a Balanced System of Child-Rearing
The Wall Around Paradise
Ancient Totalitarianism: Chinese Architecture
The Industrial Revolution and the Home
The Connection-Separation Question
Women and the Architectural Profession

Summary

Illustrations
Evolutionary Archetype Shift in Architecture
World Schizophrenia: matriarchy/patriarchy co-dependency
Capitalist America: Co-dependency Model of Fake Love
Formula of "Western Civilization"
Egalitarian partnerships
Childcare in Social Palaces

Introduction

The image of eco or home, both architectural structure and psychological space, evokes both the personal need for shelter as well as emotional memories of the family. Our memories of the past are embedded in architecture, creating a fourth dimension of time and space as we travel back home in our daydreams. Malcolm Quantrill writes in, The Environmental Memory: "Architecture serves as a memory system for ideas about human origins, a means of recording understanding of order and relationship in the world, and an attempt to grasp the concept of the eternal cosmos which has no fixed dimensions, with neither beginning nor end" (11).

The framework of architecture is not simply a visible reality. There is an invisible, metaphysical, or ritualistic order in architecture one constructed by the culture's mythology through its poetic memories and imagination. Quantrill calls these hidden or fourth dimensional elements "not immediately apparent in the form" (xiv). Of all art forms, architecture serves as the most symbolic preserving instrument. Its magic determines the interrelationship of things; it determines whether or not we live in discord or harmony with nature. David Martin declares, in Art and the Religious Experience, that "architecture sets forth the iconicism of a world."

In this chapter I will explore "home" as both an archaic and a modern archetype. Whether the persistence of this archetype in its present form will lead to the downfall of our "civilization" and the likely extinction of our species is the central question.

 

According to Tulio Inglese, Director of the NACUL Institute (NACUL stands for Nature and Culture) architecture is composed of three words. The first stems from arche, which means primal or prototype, a model from which all others are created. It is assumed that the model is the epitome of the good, the perfection of a design which others can follow. Inglese understands the essential nature of architecture to be spiritual. He states that the final "Ure is from the Greek work for substance or matter. Spirit [arche] and matter [ure], one of Paolo Soleri's favorite dualities, are joined to the word technology" which is derived from the Greek word techne, or “making.” The word "architecture", then, be read as “Spirit-Making-Matter.” Inglese believes that architecture "holds the secret to the next important step in evolution" (2). It is also important to note that when using arch as a prefix, it means “to rule.” It is any wonder that architecture, the grandest art of all, is so intimately united with history! The way the built environment is designed rules our relationship to it, and thus our lives.

Frank E. Wallis, in How to Know Architecture, calls architecture "man's most self-revealing record of his struggle upward from barbarism to the complex civilization of today" (4). He believes that the need for shelter resulted in the birth of science, which he defined as the development of our reasoning faculties in the use of constructive applications (7). For this reason, he says, the study of architecture must also be the study of human progress. The question arises: is our Faustian sense of progress, the lust for more and more power, the worship of mechanical order, rationality, predictability, control, and financial profit--at the expense of all that is imaginative and alive--healthy for our civilization? As I breathe the foul air from this polluted planetary abode, it would seem not!

Through studying the history of architecture, one studies the structures of power which have used material surpluses and labor to construct the built environment. The study of space is thus an enlightening journey through time. In the introduction to Restructuring Architectural Theory, Marco Diani and Catherine Ingraham write,

One could say that architecture does not draw its authority from some pre-established structure of materials or technique, or from some given structure of artistic meaning, but from the power granted to it by philosophy. Thus architecture builds, over and over, philosophically endorsed ideas of home, city, place--inscribing them in space much as a scribe records the words of an absolute ruler. From this viewpoint, architecture is a deeply conservative force that keeps what is philosophically, politically, and ideologically "proper" in place. From the vantage point of language, architecture thus evaporates, or melts into political, social, linguistic, philosophic analysis (2).

Diani and Ingraham declare that architecture, together with philosophy, is the "only constructive practice, even in theory"(6). Architecture reveals generalized knowledge, wisdom, and overarching vision needed to understand the power relationships of the past and in doing so inspires us to use our imaginations to create a conscious architecture for the future. This makes architecture a perfect subject for Future Studies. The future only exists in our beliefs and imagination. By consciously building an alternative vision of bioregional ecocities, we can break out of the conservative inertia of the past, bringing new meaning to the word "edification." One could say that proper education prepares the proper edifice; in other words, education is the precursor to conscious architecture. Diani and Ingraham state, "We do not have a theory of cities that instructs us how to think." The purpose of this chapter is to help us become clearer about which architectural direction we must turn if we are to survive and flourish in the new millennium.


The Division of Space

Architecture has been called the "mother of the arts," the cave/womb of creation. The image of the womb denotes a female aspect of architecture, but in our post-modern world, we have the more matrifocal form of the private residence, but also the skyscraper/erection--the patriarchal image of the world.

In The Mermaid and the Minotaur, Dorothy Dinnerstein asserts that it is in the home where mother-dominated child-care occurs. The home is the place where children are first introduced to this limited sphere of female authority. Infant childcare keeps women bound to the home in their so-called primary role as mothers, allowing fathers to be free to pursue their prestigious positions as policy-makers and world-builders. Dinnerstein contends the mother-child bond, i.e., the cross-generational bond, is designated as a sacred if limited, relationship by society. This worldview sees women in the form of the Earth Mother, whose infinite fertility can be infinitely exploited.

Dinnerstein's explains the meaning of the old folk saying--the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world--by pointing out how the sexual arrangement of mother as homemaker and father as commander-in-chief maintains neurotic symbiotic patterns of malaise between the sexes, which are then "buttressed by societal coercion." External forces instituted by men exclude women from effecting social change, putting them into a subservient role which, in many cases, women accept voluntarily. In other words, both women and men fear the life-force which women as bearers of life and culture possess. This fear perpetuates the split in our communal sensibility. To break free of these arrangements is "the central thrust of our species' life toward more viable forms" (10). Dinnerstein continues,

The harsh truth is that no societal compromise which changes other features of woman's condition while leaving her role as first parent intact will get at the roots of asymmetric sexual privilege. It is one thing to want change in the educational, vocational, and legal status of women; it is quite another thing to start tampering with Motherhood (76).

Making History

Dinnerstein points out that the mother-infant bond is the most universal, fundamental, and biologically hardy tie that we have. She believes that the nucleus of our structural imbalance, which keeps women from history-making roles, is the strength of the mother-infant bond and the weakness of the father-infant bond. She declares, "We lean heavily on the reliability of this bond; yet it is part of a congenital deformity that we must now outgrow before it kills us off" (97).

Dinnerstein believes that the maternal bond maintains itself for two reasons. First, because of "socially sanctioned existential cowardice," women remain out of the public spotlight. Woman accepts a secondary role of enjoying the privileges of male achievements by herself becoming a "nurturant servant-goddess," the witness of male historic action. The woman becomes the Other, who is incapable of defining herself or establishing her own sovereignty, and so, validates the male reality in which he is the Subject.

Second, Dinnerstein believes, because women are the bearers of life, they are content to play the central role in the reproduction of the next generation. According to anthropologist Margaret Mead, the woman is then content to leave the making of history to the realm of the male or public domain which she sees as a counterbalance to her vital function. Further, she agrees to give him the self-respect which they both believe he needs in order to maintain the sexual vigor upon which she is dependent.

Dinnerstein thinks that, while Mead's account rings true in certain societies, traditional balance of power, there is more to the story of male-female neurotic codependency. If I am reading Dinnerstein correctly, she believes that what Mead leaves out of the story is that the presumed heroic and noble deeds of men are in the end "trivial and empty, ugly and sad." The traditional male role of laborer, which woman in state societies has needed to maintain the productivity of society and to put a roof over her head, denies men intimate and emotional ties to the forthcoming generation. Rather, man's self-esteem, social status, and affection from women is determined only by the accumulation of money and private wealth--materials which are not alive in carnal flesh. By contrast, in raising a baby, women experience the pleasure principle of caring for living flesh that needs love and playful joy in order to survive. Man is largely left outside this intimate circle of love; furthermore, since love is not permitted in the competitive world of business, love and work become separated into the private and public realms of existence.

In the end, the cross-generational bond between the infant-mother lives on in the flesh, whereas the energy that has consumed the male lifetime is merely a handful of abstractions, interest rates, and monuments to the dead. This could suggest that the reason for men’s fixation on the worship of the dead and the forces of war is based in the fact that they have played no positive, life-giving, role in shaping the future. This lack of paternal bonding has far-reaching effects: the transcendental belief systems of patriarchal religions, which place heaven in a place after life and earth as a place of exile, is caused by man's inadequate relationship with immanence and thus with the enfleshed future. His lust for the ownership of women and children seems to compensate for his lack of both inner meaning and a connection with the future. The result has been the development of economics in which a man’s wealth is passed on to his heirs as a way to connect with the next generation.

Man's envy of the womb could be the reason why, for the most part, women artists have been absent from “important” art history. Since man could not physically give birth to offspring, he denied woman her ability and right to give birth to spiritual offspring. He would be the artist/prophet, not she. Even in the 16th Century, when the times demanded that women could no longer be excluded from the art academy, women were still denied the right to paint the male nude body. In their book Women Artists: A Graphic Guide, Frances Borzello and Natacha Legwidge point out that male students were taught that the most important subjects to paint were history paintings, images taken from the Bible and classical myths. At art academy, they were taught skills for producing such paintings. Sixteenth Century women, on the other hand, were taught to focus their artistic visions on domestic concerns, and were guided in the direction of making crafts. Women’s crafts, no matter how truly artistic they were, were relegated to second-class citizenship in the class structure of art. Women hold the less prestigious positions of art teaching--in schools, universities, and art schools, they were hired to teach applied and decorative art only. (117)

The traditional male artist has used women as muses, as models, and as his daily servants, while women have been brought up to believe that they must subdue their creative drives and make the care of others their first responsibility. It was man's role to be the artist/hero; it was woman's role to testify to his sexual and artistic prowess. Borzello and Ledwidge write,

No one gets up and boos in the opera house when the tenor sings that Woman is fickle or barracks in the theatre when Shakespeare writes that Woman is like a child, or feels anything but Awe In Front of Art when Titian paints Eve as a wily beauty luring an utterly innocent Adam. But when Elena Samperi painted her feeling about Man in Madonna (1980), showing him as a miniature adult in a schoolboy cap endlessly sucking and biting at the breast, there was a deafening outcry about female bitchiness and hatred of men (140, 142).

Perhaps male suppression of the pleasure principle inside his world of business and art is a way of punishing women for their ability to give birth and their social role in the home, thus seeming to deny him access to love and immortality. In the Freudian perspective, unable to understand the forces of romantic love, man seeks rebirth through adoring his mother, which results in his infantile behavior. He has created symbols which transcend and deny the ultimate fate of the body-death-in order to unconsciously connect with his omnipotent mother, believing she is his way to rebirth. This explains the myth of the resurrection of Christ, in which Christ is raised from the dead, in fact “reborn,” without needing a female body to give him birth. This myth denies the Crone's regenerative erotic powers, a subject to be addressed later.

In order for men to ennoble their empty and pitiful life stories, they needed to mythologize their superiority over women--a situation which women, trapped in these old gender relations, accept in order to hide their presumed (!) maternal advantage. Dinnerstein asserts that it is other women, and not men, who are more apt to challenge the sexual status quo. This is because women perceive themselves as flawed whereas men do not. The problems of this world have been attributed to women, and so it is she who feels it is her moral duty to correct the situation. Because woman is unconsciously seen by female-raised man as his omnipotent mother, someone who will always forgive his infantile behavior and personal faults, a woman left with have only one recourse: to withdraw her love from man, because he has failed to understand the female perspective.

In many cases, when a woman leaves a man, he retains his superior economic and social position, while a woman’s security in these areas declines. It might also mean that the woman remains child-free, and thus unable even to become part of the matrifocal power structure. She becomes instead an "old maid," someone who is given little, if any, chance of directly influencing the next generation.

The independent and child-free woman must enter the labor force of the male social structure, where she must compete with man on his terms in order to acquire economic security and social prestige. In the case of the modern female artist, who has been denied her own tradition, she must compete with the old male masters on their terms, instead of having her artistry valued for its intrinsic worth. She has no direct heirs to her wealth, nor have there been any great monuments built in her name. Because women artists until relatively recently have been denied a position in art history, they have been denied a chance of achieving immortality through their own cultural offspring. Left out of the collective remembrance, she may even become the evil "witch."

Women who do remain a part of the patriarchal family are forced into a permanent child-parent relationship of responsibility without authority with their spouse. Dinnerstein writes,

She thus carries the moral obligations of the parent while suffering the powerlessness of the child. Man, conversely, carries parental powers while enjoying the child's freedom from moral obligation. He has the right, like the child, to remain unaware of, uninterested in, her point of view even though nurturant awareness of it is in his case within his intellectual reach. This means that he is encouraged in a kind of moral laziness which stunts his growth: his capacities for empathic emotional generosity (like woman's capacities for enterprise) atrophy through disuse. He is allowed to remain childishly irresponsible for embracing her perspective, and childishly entitled to her parental nurturance and forgiveness, while enjoying parental power to defend himself, to discipline her if she offends him, to place practical constraints around her destructiveness if she tries to hurt him (236).

Creating a Balanced System of ChildRearing


Drawing by Kathrine Stetson

The struggle of the feminist movement has been to make matters of the private sphere a central theme in public dialogue and debate. Until recently, issues of domestic violence such as incest, child abuse, wife beating and rape, usually went unacknowledged, women and children were perceived by society to be the private property of men and outside the protection of the law. In a Boston Globe article titled, "Male Sense of ‘Owning’ Women Blamed in Abuse," Lynda Gorov reports that the sense of owning women is still a factor in domestic violence. She quotes Christine Butler, director of the Suffolk Battered Women's Advocacy Project:

As much as we give lip service to changing gender roles, men's sense of entitlement is engrained in society. If we were really honest with ourselves, we would admit that we haven't made any dramatic changes except on a superficial level.

There has been a silent conspiracy in society not to touch the sacred cow of the American home, as if it were some kind of taboo which no one dared to speak about. Boys are still trained to believe that women and girls are their servants, and girls are still conditioned to acquiesce to male expectations. Boys are raised to believe that women don't live separate lives, that the purpose of women's lives is to care for men’s needs. Advocates know that creating more laws protecting women from male abuse, providing more police protection for women against men, giving more court-ordered counseling for abusive males, and making additional shelters for abused women will not stop the mindset responsible for the violence. In The Second Stage, Betty Friedan writes,

I keep having the feeling that in the house--the space-time, physical, concrete dimensions of what we call home--is somehow the basic clue to where we have come, and where we have to go in the second stage. It is that physical, literal house--or its lack--that somehow points to the heart of our problems, that keeps us from transcending those old sex roles that too often have locked us in mutual misery in the family (281).

Dinnerstein and many others believe that the exploitation of nature will continue to plunder human and natural resources until there is an equal gender balance in the work of early childrearing. Altered sexual roles in the home will make obsolete the dualities of home and workplace, inner space and outer space, subject and object, and spiritual and material. Building a new communal architecture must be a central part of this transition.

The genetic revolution should have created a more balanced system of childrearing since the equal role males play in the reproductive process was finally understood. However, instead of liberating himself from the mother by accepting his role in the bearing of life, as well as the reality of death and romantic love, man continues to imprison her in his own unconscious, denying her the powerful social position which she doubtless once occupied in many places.


childcare at the Social Palace

Two books, The Image of Mother in Ivory Coast Art by B. Holas and The Revolution from Within by Gloria Steinem, explain the different stages of the creation myth in Africa. In the beginning, the female figure was "responsible for the conception and organisation of the world." In her womb was heaven and earth, life and death. In later myths, the figure became bisexual and reproduction occurred parthenogenetically. As time passed, the deity came to be seen in two separate bodies: female and male. The first couple proceeded to set up a household, the basic configuration of the village society itself. The goddess began giving birth to sons in these myths, who themselves became objects of worship. Eventually, the sons became the consorts of the their mother, the goddess. As her sons gained more and more power, the figures of the goddess shrank in size until her sons began to tower over her. Finally, the goddess played an invisible role as she became the throne upon which the male gods sat. The female experience became invisible. She was simply the incubuator of the child, the field into which male “seed” was plowed.

The Wall around Paradise

The word "paradise" was a Persian word pairi-daeze which meant a "beautiful garden fenced-in." The Old Testament poets first used the word and it spread throughout the "civilized world" (LaChapelle 1978, 15). As the story goes, the garden of Eden was the Creator's private domain. Nevertheless, God allowed Adam and Eve to share it with Him, to live a life of pleasure in peace with all nature as long as they obeyed Him. However, when Eve disobeyed His word by tasting the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, their membership in the "Garden Club" was evoked. God constructed a wall around paradise to keep Adam and Eve out. William McClung explains in, The Architecture of Paradise that after the Fall, paradise on Earth is always represented as "enclosed by natural and artificial barriers" (24). He says that this iconography expresses the cosmic disconnect between nature and grace, as well as the phenomenal separation between open and enclosed space.

Elsewhere Malcolm Quantrill writes, "The ideas of shelter, of house, of hearth, and of home reflect man's struggle to regain some of the protective features of the Garden. On the other hand, the cultivated garden which extends habitat out into the uncultivated wilderness is but a memory of man's [sic] original relationship with nature" (21). And so it evolved that the woman in the fenced-in home became nothing more than a domestic servant, a slave to her husband and a prisoner in his "baby trap." There are interesting semantic associations here. In Egyptian hieroglyphics, the symbol for "mother" can also mean "house" or "town." The ancient Chinese character for "mother" is the same as the symbol for “slave”; and all women in ancient China were considered mothers. Dutch artist Aldo van Eyck noted that "the city is a big house, the house a small city."

An Example of Ancient Totalitarianism: Chinese Architecture

In an important sense, there is really no separation between "Western" and "Eastern" civilization; European and Asian cities were built upon the same foundations. Archeologist Marija Gimbutas in The Civilization of the Goddess states that "the earliest civilizations of the world were, in all probability, matristic "Goddess civilizations" (324). Megalithic monuments in various forms considered by some archeologists a matrifocal Neolithic Age, have been found not only in Western Europe, but in Korea, Japan, Sumatra, Borneo, and India. In Lionel Casson's essay "Who Raised the Megaliths?," he writes, "The Asian menhirs and dolmens closely resemble the European in their shape and construction, and in their use as tombs, but they are generally smaller and more recent, dating from as late as the seventh century A.D." (43).

Chinese structures use the same types of the phallic column and roofs as did the Greeks. Patriarchal religious revolution replaced the early high civiliztion of the Goddess. They suppressed the wisest and darkest powers of the female religion, personified by the Crone, while permitting the Mother and her transcendent son to copulate, thereby over-populating the land through their infantile relationship with one another. The incest-based religions of the patriarchal era continue to plague the world today in, among many other ways, the dysfunctional family.

Let us now look at a perfect example of patriarchal culture: ancient Chinese architecture. The Chinese village, Barpo, was built some 6,000 years ago and has been excavated by archeologists. It was composed of three areas: the pottery kiln, a residential area, and necropolises. After the age of tribalism, and early high civilizations, historians maintain, "civilization" as we know it began with the plow agriculture, the rise of class society--and the construction of the wall. In Chinese, the written word for city is Cheng which means simply "wall". Within the walls of the city, state government controlled the political, economic and cultural lives of the people. Laurence G. Liu relates in Chinese Architecture that during the Xia Dynasty there was a saying, "Build city to protect the emperor, build wall to watch the people" (Lui 41). As in the Western city, the grid system and symmetrical design prevailed, even though there is no indication that the Chinese were aware at this time of European city design.

The capital city was designed as a large square, the palace at the center symbolizing the "round sky and square earth." The square represented order, obedience and subordination for the ruling class. High, wide walls, towers above the walls, and moats around the city and palace, not only served to give the Emperor a sense of protection, but made him unapproachable in the minds of the people. To further disempower the citizenry, there were no public squares in the city design. In open spaces outside of the palace and governmental offices public assemblies were discouraged. Liu writes,

The only natural place for gatherings was within the halls of large houses or in the courtyards between the halls: the lack of public gathering areas indicated that in the autocratic system of ancient China there was no place (or reason) for individuals to express their political opinions (34). In Western cities, from ancient Greece and Rome till the present day, the city centre has always contained the agora, forum or squares for the circulation and exchange of ideas of the people. Squares were created from democratic ideology, symbolizing the civil and religious rights of the people. In ancient China, these rights were non-existent (53).

Confucius taught that social harmony would reign as long as the Emperor maintained an autocratic benevolence towards the people and the people gave him their complete obedience and respect. The emperor was worshiped as if "he could pray to the Gods on the people's behalf" (Liu 34). Scholars played an important role in the palace, since the emperor called upon them to assist in prayers and sacrifices. Altars and temples became an integral part of the palace, and were devoted to both heaven and earth, as well as cycles of nature, hero and ancestor worship.

The Chinese house, the basic unit of the city, was built as a microcosm of the Confucian worldview and thus reflected both ancestral worship and respect for authority. Enclosing each house was a high wall to ward off theft and fire, giving the occupants a feeling of seclusion and family privacy. Confucius believed that universal harmony was represented in the code of ethics within family relationships. Family piety was considered to be the main source of personal happiness.

The elder was the head of the family. Within the gerontocracy, the oldest male was the ruler. Children were obedient to their parents. In order to pay respect to one's ancestors, the elder son was decreed to perform the sacrifices in veneration to the dead. These ceremonies to honor the ancestors gave the heir and the household shrine social status. These domestic practices were believed to help ensure political stability. Confucians maintained that harmony within the family and with nature would result in the health and fortune of the household.

The Industrial Revolution and the Home

In many pre-industrial societies, life was not divided rigidly into areas for homelife and work-place. Ann Oakley explains in Woman's Work that in the pre-industrial home, "there was no differentiation between cooking, eating, and sitting rooms. The hall, that is the entrance to the home, was the centre of domestic activity: there the family cooked, ate their meals, and relaxed together" (Oakley 23). Mary Ryan notes that in colonial times in America the family household was the center of economic activity, social welfare, and affection. She concludes this environment produced people whose personalities integrated both expressive and economic skills.

The incipient division between the home and the workplace intensified during the industrial revolution. Gradually economic production moved out of the household and also became separated from interpersonal relationships. Griselda Pollock in Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism, and Histories of Art discuss the work of British social historians Catherine Hall and Lee Davidoff. Hall and Dividoff showed that in the formation of the British middle class in Birmingham the city was "literally reshaped according to this ideal divide" (68). Men could move freely between the two realms, but women were not welcome in the masculine realm. They were supposed to occupy only the domestic sphere. Her role was to be the good mother and wife; his was to be a good citizen.

In her essay, "The Feminization of Love," Francesca M. Cancian writes, "the division of labor “gave women more experience with close relationships and intensified women's economic dependence on men. As the daily activities of men and women grew further apart, a new worldview emerged that exaggerated the differences between the personal, loving, feminized sphere of the home and the impersonal, powerful, masculine sphere of the workplace" (697). By the end of the Industrial Revolution, the wife and children had become completely dependent on the husband/father for economic support and social prestige.

The word family originated in ancient Rome. Its meaning included not only the nuclear family, but also the slaves and relatives who comprised the household. Only in recent times did family come to be defined as the nuclear group of parents and children. According to Jessie Bernard in her book The Future of Motherhood, in addition to being a new institution, the nuclear family is a peculiar creation of the affluent society. Along with it came the separate, isolated single-family house which was built to guard the family against the hostilities of the outside world. In the capitalist world, women became the chief buyers of consumer products to keep the household well-clothed and well-fed. Bernard writes,

In order for the mother to perform her sheltering and protective function she herself had to be protected from the outside world, isolated from it, immured in a walled garden...Protected, sheltered, isolated, safe within the walls of their gardens, women as mothers became the repositories of all the humane virtues. It was the mother who made the home a school of virtue (11-12).

Before industrialization, women were too valuable as productive workers to be given the time to solely stay at home and raise children. The patriarchal concept of romance is simply a way in which man can buy a lifelong wife, or, one could say, a legal prostitute, in exchange for a lifelong roof over her head. Bernard points out that the family is no longer a source of happiness and virtue from the cruelty of the outside world, if it ever was!

The duality between work and love in the patriarchal worldview sees the feminine principle as solely associated with sex, fertility, nature, matter, unconsciousness, and the earth. She is the omnipotent mother who provides the amoral, greedy infant with protection, warmth, and milk. The home is her arena of control and authoritarian power. Bernard points out that "for non-believers it is a "secular temple," "the place for social altruism." She writes, "Practically all of the thinking in law, theology, and the social sciences has, in fact, had at its core the fact that women bear children. The institutional structure of our society is based on that rock bottom fact" (25). And the central structure of the family as well as of the city is the house.

The Connection-Separation Question

Since the industrial revolution, the home has not been associated with work but with family, and this certainly explains why mothers have remained unacknowledged laborers. As Ann Oakley states, "Our language contains the phrase "family man," but there is no corresponding phrase for women. It would be socially redundant: the family means women" (60). She further argues that "the family defines one's identities," and that nuclear family childrearing shapes our personal identities.

This brings us to the point of discussing the observations of psychologist Nancy Chodorow, Carol Gilligan as well as sociologist Lillian Robin. These researchers look at the very early years of childhood unlike Freudians. Because they are the same gender as their primary caregiver, girls identify strongly with their mothers and they do not go through the stage of a separation from her as do boys, who then turn to their fathers as objects of their identification. This means that the morality of girls is centered around issues of relationship and connection, while boys grow to valued and be valued for their autonomy and individuality. These contrasting ways of viewing reality-- connection with others verses separation from others--can also be seen in the artificial division between the workplace and the home.

Some anti-feminist men have argued that women's inability to separate from their mothers is biologically determined. These men have not addressed the reality let alone the mutability of primarily female childcare. Because of this lack of individuation, they argue, women are unable to be the subjects (observers) of social analysis, and are incapable of becoming historical actresses. In other words, a woman's body prevents her from entering into the male world of culture, and so she must remain in her home, viewed as her "supreme cultural achievement" (Hekman 1990).

However, Gilligan's theory of moral development attempts to show how girls have been socialized to carry out certain traditional roles, and because of this socialization, have developed a social ethic of care and compassion. These qualities of relationality are not recognized as important by the society, and have had little apparent impact on society; whereas the “male” values separation and individualism, and the resulting objective science and rationalism which such personality characteristics produce, are generally acknowledged and rewarded in the patriarchy.

Our culture teaches us a mother's unconditional love for her children and her children's love for her should provides her with the central meaning in her life. (Belenky 1986, 48). A woman is taught to look to others for her self-knowledge. Hence, she is other-identified, identifying herself by the way others define her. Her inner experiences are commonly discounted in favor of expert opinion. A man's self-definition is derived from his pride in providing food and shelter for the family. He is allowed to be the thinker and builder. The above explains the styles of love between the sexes: the “masculine” style which is characterized by practical and “instrumental assistance”, the “feminine style” of love is relational and characterized by verbal self-disclosure and behavior directed toward emotional closeness (Cancian 709). So have evolved different epistemological orientations: "a separate epistemology, based upon impersonal procedures for establishing truth, and a connected epistemology, in which truth emerges through care" (Belenky 1986, 102).

Psychologist Eric Erickson has been the pioneer in the study of children’s play. Regarding play he says, "the analogy between the sex differences in play configurations and the primary physiological sex differences, that is, in the male the emphasis on the external, the erectable, the intrusive, and,...in the female, on the internal, on the vestibular, on the static, on what is contained endangered in the interior."

Critics of Erikson, such as Susan Saegert and Roger Hart, said that Erikson ignored social conditioning. He should have observed that early on, girls are encouraged to decorate dollhouses and play out social events inside imaginary interiors, while boys are encouraged to play outside and build structures. Saegart and Hart's research indicates that it is mainly socialization of children by adults, reinforced by peer pressure, that encourages the traditional female and male roles, which are then acted out in play.

The spatial range of girls and boys is clearly different, and because of this difference, girls are denied a certain exploration and manipulation of the environment. Because of this they lack confidence, and spatial abilities lack experience in using them. This inhibition among girls from structurally visualizing the environment adequately affects other abilities. Jon. J. Durkin in his paper, "The Potential of Women," thinks that the aptitude of well-developed structural visualization is necessary not only to design architectural space, but for medicine, physical science, engineering, city planning, mechanics, and other areas.

Saegert and Hart noticed that sexual difference in spatial ability is not apparent until the age of eight. But by adolescence boys are generally far ahead of girls in spacial aptitudes. Interestingly, by adulthood good spatial abilities are found in only 50% of all men, though only 25% of all women (Berkeley 269). Saegert and Hart describe the spatial situation between men and women in terms of the driver of a car and a passenger. They write, "The driver is allowed decision-making, experimentation, and self-directed learning of the environment, while the passenger can only suggest and observe" (Berkeley 269). Moreover, women are trained to accept the built environment the way it is, indeed not to question spatial relationships at all.

After I read Carol Gilligan’s popular In a Different Voice, I was not sure whether Gilligan is advising women to recognize and celebrate our ethical difference from men, or if she believes we should attempt to change the archetypal patterns she describes. Cancian comments on Gilligan, Chodorow and Robin's moral development theory,

by arguing that women's identity is based on attachment while men's identity is based on separation; they reinforce the distinction between feminine expressiveness and masculine instrumentality, revive the ideology of separate spheres, and legitimate the popular idea that only women know the right way to love (Cancian 697).

This issue of nurture versus nature will probably be resolved with more research. Most social scientists today believe that the environment plays the more significant role in personality development, though genetics, including gender, plays a role as well. The “plasticity” of human nature is perhaps anthropology’s greatest contribution to this issue.

Women and the Architectural Profession

Dores Cole's book, From Tipi to Skyscraper, is an enlightening account of women's entry into the profession of architecture in the United States. But she begins by discussing the role of the tipi of the Great Plains Indians. Here women were in charge of creating the house. Women were responsible for deciding the tipi village's location, its construction, and its setup. It was the perfect structure, both "beautiful and practical," for nomadic people. If necessary, one person could set it up. It was rare for one nuclear family to live without other relative in the tipi.

This was quite different from the experience from 19th Century Europeans and Americans [we are comparing cultures, not racial groups] who had no control whatsoever over the construction of the house. For her, life was private. She was limited to two domains; the home and the church; but even her church work was tied to the home. Nor were middle class women able to afford domestic servants. Since she was thus increasingly engulfed by and often overburdened with domestic duties, she turned her attention to perfecting and legitimatizing housework to make it into a domestic science. One of the main advocates of this movement was Catherine Beecher, who began to investigate the "architectural and scientific knowledge necessary for running a household" (54).

Other woman, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Margaret Fuller, Clara Barton, and Charlotte Forten Grimke, ventured beyond the home and strove to enter the political, intellectual, and spiritual realms of public life. However, fields which women preferred to enter were teaching, nursing, and social services--new professions that were growing out of their roles in the traditional house. It was the Civil War which really caused women to break out of the house and demand more powerful social positions. Cole writes,

The havoc wrought by the Civil War alone was enough to make women realize that the domestic domain was not isolated from exterior influences. A woman could organize her home, beautify her house, and instruct her family--but none of these accomplishments could save her men and children from the sorrow of war (54).

Because of the Civil War, women were permitted into occupations and professions which had previously been closed to them--not because social attitudes had changed, but because the war necessitated it. After the war, many women were at least unconsciously no longer satisfied with their domestic roles. The war had not only served to free the slaves, but it also worked to free white women who wanted to claim it from their servitude. Still, most women tended to prefer working in the social services. Cole writes, "Through social services a woman could continue using her practical skills, but on a larger scale, and, hopefully, influence more than just her own family and servants. In this sense her domain encompassed the city, and her family became the entire citizenry" (57).

Work in the social service fields separated women from men in the public domain. Women were outside the home, or a minority at least, but were still not integrated with men. Their professional fields were not given the same kind of social influence, social status, and financial rewards as the traditional male domain.

Conventional male architects of society were chiefly interested in style. They designed public buildings and private dwellings in monumental terms, reflecting the direction of the academy. But designing architectural space was now becoming a possibility for women. Women would be able to apply their practical, everyday knowledge of the built environment to designing communal housing.

From the beginning it was a real struggle for women to gain acceptance into architectural schools. For one thing, in the 19th Century, business was not considered a proper profession for women, and architecture was as much of a business enterprise as it was an art. The social service professions were considered business activities, and so were not a legitimate profession for a cultivated lady. Also, it was unthinkable for a middle class married women to have a job outside the house because of the barriers set up by both husbands and social convention. Many feminists of the time refused to be married for this reason.

Charles Atherton Frost was the dean of the Cambridge School, the first architectural school for women. Dores Cole's account of the school's short history is a moving story about Charles Frost and his faith in the abilities of women as architects. But even with training, women architects had difficulty becoming part of the important design teams of America. Women who chose instead to go into independent practice usually had small offices and received contracts solely for domestic architecture. The alternative for them was to be accepted into the larger architectural offices. Those Cambridge School graduates who made an attempt to enter these firms found it very difficult to work their way up the corporate ladder starting out as draftswomen. The only way for a woman to succeed in architecture was to marry an architect and become his business and sexual partner.

Once inside the male hierarchy, the fundamental questions arose: is there a feminist architecture, or have women simply been indoctrinated with the male perspective? In The Male Attitude, Charles W. Ferguson writes, "The creature who finishes the curriculum in our schools and colleges is thoroughly indoctrinated in male traditions, methods, and values and is bound to speak from the male point of view, whether he(she) knows it or acknowledges it" (Cole, 115).

The masculine architectural curriculum, based on an epistemology of separation, results in the systematic dehumanization of both females and males through the loss of the feminine outlook. In Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind, Mary Field Belenky, Blythe McVicker Clinchy, Nancy Rule Goldberger, and Jill Mattuck Tarule write, "In an educational institution that placed care and understanding of persons rather than impersonal standards at its center, human development might take a different course, and women's development, in particular, might proceed with less pain" (209). It seems clear that this different course would generally lean toward building a more community-based architecture based on the interconnectedness of all life. In 1941, Charles Frost wrote about the traits he noted in the female students at the Cambridge School: "She thinks clearly, reasons well, and is interested in housing rather than houses; in community centers for the masses rather than in neighborhood clubs for the elect; in regional planning more than in estate planning; in social aspects of her profession more than in private commissions" (97).

The 19th Century female architect and her modern counterpart want both marriage and a professional career. The continued lack of opportunities for women could explain why so many trained female architects get discouraged and drop out of the profession, opting instead for the role of wife and mother. Cole says that women who do remain in the profession almost never make it into the upper echelons of the decision-making ranks. She describes the pyramidal structure within large architectural firms as the main reason for the blockage of change within the system. The person on top, who does the hiring and firing, is the principal, or else has several partners. Besides hiring and firing employees, this top echelon decides firm policies and goals, oversees projects, and procure new commissions for the office. Next come the associates, who make sure the policies are carried out. Then down the ladder are the project managers, the project captains, and the designers. Under them are the draftsmen. Secretaries rank in authority and pay with draftsmen. Finally, office boys are on the bottom.

Even though successful completion of a project requires cooperation from everyone involved, the structure does not reflect this interdependency, since principals and associates are the only permanent firm members and receive the highest pay. Promotion is determined by one's administrative and managerial achievements and not one's architectural knowledge and skills. Cole writes,

Principals choose the associates, and no one becomes an associate--no matter what co-workers might think of him or her--without the approval of the principal. The system is based upon patronage: this unavoidably inhibits the expression of opposing views and eliminates as well any kind of experimentation or innovation contrary to the principal's wishes (127).

In this system, there is little opportunity for the lower-echelon staff workers to make suggestions about the projects which they are working on. According to Cole, if associates make too many suggestions without a response they are likely to find themselves without a job. And by the time young architects with fresh ideas make their way up the corporate ladder, they have had to compromise their ideas so much that their minds become biased by old, erroneous assumptions.

Cole calls the pyramidal office structure "detrimental to all people involved from principal to office boy." She points out that, for a nation who prides itself on its democratic structure, architectural firms are far from being democratic. The principals of one firm are alienated and isolated from the principals in other firms due firm rivalry, as well as isolating themselves within their own firm. Cole believes that due to the lack of conservatism and cooperation, architecture will continue to lose its social meaning and value, thereby assuring the collapse of architecture and, of civilization itself.

Likewise, in the visual arts, it is the art managers, gallery owners, and museum directors who have control over the "art world." The power lies not with artists or architects, but with the money-makers who sell the objects or blueprints. The built environment for visual artists most certainly reflects this view. The modern artist has become the alienated and autonomous genius, whose primary concern is to produce sellable art objects. Separated from others and from creativity's source, s/he feels powerless to create change and, in doing so, refuses to take responsibility for the future of the world. The goals of industrialists of the 19th century have become reality. Realizing that there was a major spiritual crisis emerging, sought to compensate people's sense of emptiness and loss of meaning by extolling free enterprise and the cult of money. Today money is worshipped while artistic merit, having the power to heal the world, remains largely ignored; those who get promoted by the arts establishment are often not the most gifted artists.

However, in Suzi Gablik's visionary book, The Reenchantment of Art, the author explains how the old ways of the art world are breaking down, as artists begin to redefine their social roles in attunment with the ecological paradigm. Gablik believes that this paradigm has a metaphysical basis. She writes, "Transformation cannot come from even more manic production and consumption in the [art] marketplace; it is more likely to come from some new sense of service to the whole--from a new intensity in personal commitment" (26). In the new ecological framework, the building of relationships become the basic intention of both art-making and world- making. The reality of the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of all things makes the artist into a co-creator with others who are involved in the birth of Neutopia.

Summary

The built environment of patriarchal civilization is essentially the same in both East and West. We have suggested that the suppression of women is due largely to men's lack of intimate bonding with the next generation. If it is the female's role to be the primary childcare worker and man who is acknowledged as the artistic hero, then it is not difficult to see why we have a world where women have little or no voice in constructing the built environment. Woman is captured in an inferior social position, and literally imprisoned in an ugly and destructive architectural structure.

 
 

 

 

 
 
Human Extinction or Lovolution?