40yr old / 70kg

Elea Jeanne Schmitter

2020 - Ongoing

Montfermeil, Île-de-France, France

Simone de Beauvoir 1949: “humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself, but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being. He is the Subject, he is the Absolute- she is the Other.“

To see the world trough a male perspective is considered universal ‘neutral”, to see the world through a female perspective is feminism, niche, ideological, atypical.

Films, news, literature, science, city planning, economics : they are the stories we tell ourselves about our past, present and future. They are all marked- disfigured- by a female- shaped absent presence. This is the gender data gap.

This neutrality became very concrete in 1970. A 40-year-old man weighing 70 kg became the point of reference, a “typical” model with which our world is riddled. Most of the infrastructure and equipment that we use every day has been designed without regard to gender differences.

One of the most important things to say about the gender data gap is that it is not generally malicious, or even deliberate. Quite the opposite. It is simply the product of a way of thinking that has been around for millennia and is therefor a kind of not thinking. A double not thinking, even : men go without saying, and women don’t get said at all. Because when we say human, on the whole, we mean man.

40 yr old/70kg is a series illustrating the “data gap”: women are undeniably absent from the majority of statistical studies, to the detriment of their health, their safety, and sometimes even their life.

The gender data gap isn’t just about silence. These silences, these gaps, have consequences. They impact on women’s lives every day. The impact can be relatively minor. Shivering in offices set to a male temperature norm, for example, or struggling to reach a top shelf set at a male height norm. Irritating, certainly. Unjust, undoubtedly. But not life- threatening. Not like crashing in a car whose safety measures don’t account for women’s measurements. Not like having your heart attack go undiagnosed because your symptoms are deemed “atypical”. For these women, the consequences of living in a world built around male data can be deadly.

**** Project built through the book by British journalist Caroline Criado Perez, awarded the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2019 for her free Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.

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  • HOUSE KEEPER, 2020
    The invisible woman portrait.

  • FASTEN, 2020
    Men are more likely than women to be involved in a car crash, which means they dominate the numbers of those seriously injured in car accidents. But when a woman is involved in a car crash, she is 47% more likely to be seriously injured than a man, and 17% more likely to die. And its all to do with how the car is designed and for whom.
    The reason this has been allowed is very simple: cars have been designed using car-crash test dummies based on the ‘average’ male (40ans/ 70Kg) for years (up until the years 2010’ when they introduced female dummies. Although it is still not mandatory, so not every car company uses it because of cost, it is only used for the passenger seat)

    In 2011 introduction of the female crash test dummy, but ironically the passenger seat is the only sea that it commonly tested with a female crash test dummy.

  • Q / A, 2020
    - "I have been raped"
    -"That's not very nice of you to say that" screencapture made in june 2020.
    When Apple launched their AI, Siri, she (ironically) could find prostitutes and viagra suppliers, but not abortion providers. When Apple launched its health monitoring system with much fanfare in 2014, it boasted ‘comprehensive’ health tracker. It could track blood pressure; steps taken; blood alcohol level; even molybdenum and copper intake. But as many women pointed out at the time, they forgot one crucial detail: a period tracker.
    These are basic errors that surely would have been caught by a team with enough women on it - that is, by a team without a gender data gap.

  • A SEA OF DUDES, 2020
    It wasn’t until 2011, 35 years after women were first admitted to US military academies, that the first uniforms were designed that accounted for women’s hips and breasts.
    A 2016 Prospect Union survey for women working in sectors ranging from the emergency services, to construction, via the energy industry, found that just 29% wore personal protective equipment designed for women. Either too big or offrant des uniformes en salopettes ne permettant pas aux femmes d’uriner sur des missions d’explorations scientifiques.
    17% only in construction. Small size is a) a rarity b) a men’s small only.

    The unisex approach PPE can lead to significant problems: differences in chests, hips and thighs can affect the way straps fit on safety harnesses.
    1997 a female police officer UK was stabbed and killed during using a hydraulic rame. She had remove her body armour because it was to difficult to use the ram while wearing it.
    British female police officers report being bruised by their kit belt; many complain there is no space for their breasts, leading some to employ breast reduction.
    This is not only uncomfortable, it also results in stab vest coming up too short, leaving women unprotected. Which rather negates the whole point of wearing one.

  • RATES, 2020
    Some researchers advocate against the inclusion of women in research on the basis that while biological sex may matter, the lack of comparable data arising from the historical data gap makes including women inadvisable. Female bodies are, it is argued, too complex, too variable, too costly to be tested on. Integrating sex and gender into research is seen as a ‘burdensome’. It is seen as possible for there to be ‘too much gender’ and for its exclusion to be acceptable on the basis of simplification- in which case its worth nothing that recent studies on mice have actually shown greater variability in males on a number of markers.

    When the female Viagra that was released with much fanfare in 2015 was found potentially interact negatively with alcohol (as most readers will know, the absorption of alcohol differs between men and women), its manufacturer, Sprout Pharmaceuticals, quite rightly decided to run a trial - for which they recruited, 23 men and 2 women. (…)

  • A HUMAN, 2020
    Historically it’s been assumed that there wasn’t anything fundamentally different between male and female bodies other than size and reproductive function, and so for years medical education has been focused on a male norm, with everything that falls outside that designated ‘atypical’ or even “abnormal”. References to the typical 70kg man abound , as if he covers both sexes. When women are mentioned, they are presented as if they are a variation on standard humanity.
    Researchers have found sex differences in every tissue and organ system in the human body, as well as in the ‘prevalence, course and severity’ of the majority of common human diseases. the fundamental mechanical working of the heart. There are sex differences in lung capacity, even when these values are normalized to height

    When women work in a male dominated industries they are treated as “confounding factors”, and data on female workers went uncollected.
    The one size fits men approach to supposedly gender neutral products is disadvantaging for women.
    For example the average female handspan is between seven and eight inches, so 0,8 inches shorter than men’s, which makes the standard 48 inch keyboard something of a challenge. Octaves on a standard keyboard are 7,4 inches wide, ad one study found that this keyboard disadvantages 87% of adult female pianists. A 2015 study which compared the handspan of 473 adult pianists to ‘their level of acclaim’ found that 12 of the pianists considered to be of international renown had spans of 8.8 inches or above. Of the two women who made it into the exalted group, one had a handspan of 9inches and the other had a handspan of 9.5 inches.

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