by Tiffany Wong
In week 7, I had the opportunity to partner up with an individual outside of my issues group to discuss our draft propositions and exchange feedback. During the session I briefly explained the research that had led me to the proposal,
“Improving the rate of obesity within adolescents due to the social pressure and expectations within our society to look a certain way. To raise awareness and educate people on the foods they consume and to upkeep regular exercise, but most importantly to encourage people to be more accepting of each other and not conform to society’s expectations. This can be achieved through an automated text system that sends facts and statistical data to the public that will help them understand the serious consequences that weight-based bullying and fat shaming can have on individuals, in hopes of creating a more accepting and supportive community in leading a healthier lifestyle.”
The feedback from my partner and tutor helped me to understand that although the objective of my proposition was clearly stated and heading down the right track, the design solution needed more consideration and refining. I realised the following points:
- People in the age group 18-25 may not be interested in reading a number of facts and statistical information on obesity and the impact that weight-based bullying has on individuals.
- An automated text system may be too invasive, unwanted, and perceived as spam.
- The draft proposition is too wordy and it is trying to achieve too much.
- The design solution and chosen channel isn’t strong enough to provoke an emotional reaction from the audience.
Project Title: Fighting Unhealthy Behaviours, #FUB
Practice Type: Data visualisation + Service
The Issue: Weight-based bullying among youths and people aged 18-25 years is considered the most common form of bullying. People often overlook the seriousness and impact it has on individuals who fall victim to it. Constant criticism and bullying can lead to emotional eating (overeating), depression, anxiety, isolation or even suicide/self bodily harm.
While data-scraping, I found various tweets that fought back at fat-shaming comments, some that were links on how to lose weight and become healthier, some that were unpleasant fat-shaming comments, but very few that shared their personal stories and experiences. From this, it is clear that this issue exists but there are very few people that actually show or express the effect is has on the victim.
The Possible Change: The proposed design will enlighten people of the seriousness and impact that the issue has on people experiencing weight-based bullying, both physically and psychologically. By doing so, it could encourage the majority of “average-size” people to be more supportive and accepting of obese people and encouraging them to lead a healthier lifestyle, rather than putting them down and pressuring them into doing so. As well as this, it could relieve the pressure from the victims that feel the need to conform to society’s expectations and lose weight.
The Design Action to Support Change: Part A – Data visualisation of stories and experiences from victims of weight-based bullying posted on Twitter. These could then form the basis of a campaign that aims to reach the target audience on an emotional level and make the think about
Part B – A campaign involving a series of videos shared around social media platforms and a website. The videos will show “victims (actors)” sharing their stories and experiences from being fat shamed and bullied. The website is an online space provided for victims, as well as “normal” people to share stories, fitness and health advice, and support each other in leading a healthier lifestyle, without copping judgements or criticism.