Gear and Gadgets

Things are a changing: Part one

[Image - iCandy]
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Since FQ launched back in 2003 it’s been our mission to quietly influence the way fathers are involved in all aspects of parenting and over the last ten years we’ve seen some impressive changes. 

Dad’s being ‘hand’s on’ in the bringing up of their families is not a new concept however over the last decade we have witnessed and reported a significant evolution of fatherhood.

Such a development is our involvement in the look, feel and practical applications of parenting goods. Now it would be fair to say that men’s influence on product design has been particularly full on in the modern era. From cars to computers, televisions to toasters we’ve largely had the final say as to how a product ends up looking when it comes to market. Despite more women designers, engineers and savvy consumers, men still tend to dominate the product design industry so perhaps that’s just a natural outcome. Or is it?

There are a number of sectors that buck the accepted norm especially those of a whole host of parenting categories. Whilst men still make up a large proportion of the design work force it’s been women and mothers that have determined how products end up looking when they hit the shelf – frankly in the past the father’s voice and input has been seldom sought and even less often given.  

Whilst this situation stubbornly persists there are one or two product categories that have started to show a more male bent, with products displaying qualities that are traditionally more masculine.

Pushchairs are the obvious example and over recent years designs from brands like icandy and Bugaboo have started to exhibit a design, ruggedness and practicality that shouts of a male perspective.

Okay Skoda’s resent tongue in cheek pushchair concept campaign takes this phenomenon a little far; although it shows how all types manufactures are beginning to recognise the importance of a father’s family role. Yet the principle is sound and it can largely be seen as a result of the ever increasing involvement that father’s have in bringing up their children on a day to day basis. But is this all a welcome development? At FQ we certainly think so. As we fathers get increasingly involved by spending quality time with our children, the more the lines of masculinity and femininity will merge together and products will start to feature the best elements of both. It’s all quite self fulfilling, as the more comfortable we are being seen out in public as the principle carer of our charges then the more often dads will be happy with that role. It’s a win win for us, our partners and arguably most importantly our children.