PROBLEM STATEMENT: Enforcing gender is a large inhibitor to gender equality. Any kind of gender stereotype can create unrealistic expectations that inhibit individualism.
So what’s the problem?
Gender is a social construct and it does not have the same meaning as sex – although it is often seen that way. Gender can make people who don’t t into the stereotypical binary (male/female) genders feel as though they are sub-par. Gender stereotypes also de-normalises people who do not associate with either gender, or do not believe their sex represents their gender.
What’s the potential change?
Gender becomes optional, and stereotypes surrounding these genders become eradicated. It becomes widespread considered ‘normal’ for a person of any sex to assign to either gender or to none at all. Expectations around: how people of each gender “should act”, and the roles they partake in; diminish.
THE DESIGN ACTION
My preposition is for a service design. The main aspect of the design will be a support forum page, which will be supported by a launch event and promotional hash tag – #BEYOU.
The service is providing young adults (18-24yo) who may be struggling with their identity and understanding equality – particularly in terms of gender – with a website that inhabits a safe space for people to express their issues with gender, dispels myths around gender and shares stories of people nding and exploring their individualism.
The website will promote equality and show that gender shouldn’t de ne what people are able to do in life. All people should be treated the same – no matter what they identify with.
THE FORUM PAGE
There are many current forum websites for people struggling with mental health and being victims of assault – however the main issue I have with these websites is that they are poorly designed and uninviting. I want a beautiful simplistic design that explores liberating stories of people who have overcome the pressures of society by nding themselves – including inspirational pull quotes and photographs to outline that these issues are human – and they are totally real.
In addition to these inspiring stories there will be a forum section in which people can either post their stories or questions publicly or anonymously to the admins of the page and other people visiting the site. There will also be contacts to helplines and additional services for people who need further assistance.
Here are some examples of the kinds of people who I would want to feature on the website:
- People who resonate with a gender, feel strongly about their gender, but
have not let society inhibit their actions and opportunities in life.
- People who have felt as though their characteristics have undermined them
within their gender & have tackled with con dence issues to understand that not tting into a neat gender box of societal standards doesn’t in any way make them sub-par.
- People who do not identify with a gender and how they found con dence through that
- People who have found liberation through transcending genders
In order to create awareness and hype for the site I wanted to organise a free event creating awareness and promoting the issue.
This event would be a conference style event with many speakers sharing their stories of how gender stereotypes have been hurdles in their lives and what they have done to overcome them. These speakers would be some of the people featured on the site in the “OUR STORIES” section. Each of the speakers would have an allocated time to speak about their experiences and then sit upon a board for a Q&A.
Some of the people I’d consider having as speakers are; Ruby Rose, Kate Bornstein, María José, Rain Dove, Dr Susan Carland, Clementine Ford, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Mr Tura Lewai, Sam Killermann, Roxanne Gay, Andi Zeisler & Ivan Coyote just to name a few!!
Here are some links to some of these speakers talking about related issues:
RAIN DOVE, KATE BORNSTIEN & MARIA JOSE
ROXANNE GAY & ANDI ZEISLER
RUBY ROSE (This isn’t her speaking, but is a film she made exploring what it means to be gender fluid. She has also spoken in interviews about this topic but I thought this creative reflection was more expressive of her experience)
There would be several take-aways from the event to promote the hash tag and create awareness for the website. This would include stickers, t-shirts, badges and a yer with information and excerpts on speakers. There would also be other promotional effects such as a snapchat lter, photobooth, instagram page and other social media outlets.
Meacock, L. 2016, #BEYOU, Preposal, University of Technology Sydney.