POST 10: Reflection and proposition

In class this week we went through our draft proposals. To be honest, I hadn’t done a lot because I was trying to complete my blog posts and I wasn’t entirely sure what was expected of us for tasks 3A and 3B until the lecture today. I feel like if we had one less lesson of mapping and they showed up the examples of tasks 3A and 3B last week, that I would be more on top of my proposal.

I was paired with Jack and he was so helpful giving me ideas and feedback and we even generated a discussion on the issue of gender equality, which was so interesting to hear a male’s perspective. I discussed my idea of somehow trying to create an empathetic response from the males. Jack raised a good point that while my idea of empathy is a good one, I need to do it in a way that doesn’t point fingers at the male population, as that is definitely not my intention. He suggested that maybe I create a metaphor for the ‘divide’ in society to demonstrate in a subtler way that we are both to blame. We discussed somehow showing things that are typically gendered such as bathroom, clothes, hairstyles and jobs that really don’t need to be gendered.

I then wondered whether this would be an issue as I am slightly moving away from the pay gap issue. I decided to go back to the drawing board and really synthesize what I wanted to focus on.

I found this quite difficult and became stuck for a few days. The idea that your good ideas come to you when you least expect it definitely proved true this week. I was doing something, and someone said to be ‘act like a lady!’ I thought this was so strange. Why are there certain traits assigned to specific genders. Whatever I was doing, I was obviously quite comfortable doing it regardless if that person thought it was too masculine.

This lead me to my revised proposal and I have decided to switch and look at gender stereotypes. Below was a quick brainstorm I did as soon as I could after this person had said that to me.

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“The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognising how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.”

Proposal

Project title: #ManUpChallenge

Practice type: Generative design

The issue: We have grown up hearing the phrases ‘man up’ or ‘act like a lady’ when describing certain behaviours that are typically linked to a particular gender. But why is it that a man cannot act gentle or a women can’t act in a way that would be considered ‘masculine?’ Society has formed these social constraints in which individuals place themselves and others to feel as though they are accepted and have a place to belong. However, if these constraints are broken, even if it is only in minor way, an individual is usually judged for being ‘different’. Through my proposed design, I hope to encourage young people to embrace their unique qualities and accept the fact that gender is whatever you perceive it to be, not a law assigning certain characteristics to a particular sex.

The possible change: By allowing people to view other people’s perspectives of what they perceive gender to be. This service design will allow participants to better situate their own opinions within the issue. The design will possibly create a sense of community and a positive environment for both genders to come together and to realise that it isn’t just one gender that gender equality affects.

The design action to support change: I propose to create a social media hashtag on Facebook to appeal to the ages of individuals that are 18-25. This hashtag is to be accompanied by a selfie of the individual doing something they believe is breaking the gender norms to demonstrate their own perceptions of this issue. This ‘challenge’ would be similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge where users nominate their friends to also take part in it. Whether this be the females ‘manning up’ or males ‘acting like a lady,’ these selfies will be collected and copied onto their own online platform, where users are able to view other people’s selfies in the same space that are displayed in different categories to show what are the most common societal gender norms, demonstrating that both genders can take on characteristics from the other. This platform updates daily so that there is different content every time the user accesses the website. My proposal is therefore a generative system but displayed as a data visualisation.

My peers seemed to like this idea, they liked how simple it was and how it was something that this age bracket would definitely interact with. Gemma raised a good point wondering how I would get the right data if I wasn’t going to put out the hashtag, but we came to the conclusion I could use a web scraping tool to find the data to mockup my proposal.

Overall, I feel as though I have been going in a circle during this whole process. I feel as though I started looking at gender stereotypes and then moved to the gender pay gap and now back to gender stereotypes. I guess this could be something I look at in my task 3A.

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