Designing Our Future

I first heard about Goldie Blox through a mysterious text from my friend Sydney, asking me if I was ready to take a leap of faith. Instantly I replied YES and was told to meet her at 10am the next morning for a trip to San Francisco. Sitting on BART hearing about Goldie Blox, I knew I had made the right decision.

Young girls today are told that they can be anything that they want. This is the message I grew up with, the message that inspired me to work hard and pursue my dreams. It is an incredibly positive thing, and one that should be a given.  The problem is that while girls are told they can be anything they want to be, we are not always inspiring girls to look at the broad array of things that they could be. This is particularly troubling in comparison to the things that boys know they can be and the things that boys already have role models in place to admire.

How does this relate to design? The messages that girls receive are typically subtle and unintentional. Even when the decision was intentional, the resulting message was unintentional. For instance, think of the books you were assigned in school. Many of those books had male protagonists. Teachers know that girls are able- perhaps through conditioning- to relate to male characters, while young boys have difficulty relating to female characters. As a result, girls read stories in which the male characters achieve much more than the female characters. Design is a process of recognizing a problem and working to create solutions. We can design products, stories, and educational systems that change the message that girls receive. That adapt to the differences in development and learning styles in young children without dividing. Or defaulting to pink and purple. What excites me most about Goldie Blox, other than its massive big mission, is the consciousness to the role of design in the process. From the details up to the big picture, we’re determined to get this right.

Image from The Society Pages, Sociological Images.

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About debrasterling

Debbie Glasband is a jane of all trades – product designer, writer, illustrator, brand strategist and marketer. She’s (one of the too few) women who graduated with an Engineering degree from Stanford in 2005. Since then, she’s done branding consulting for T-Mobile, Microsoft, Organic Valley and the New York Knicks. In the nonprofit world, she volunteered in rural India for 6 months and then launched “I Want a Goat,”one of the first viral fundraising campaigns. Her passion? Utilizing the power of branding, design and humor to make real change in people’s lives. Her favorite toy growing up? Playmobil.

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