Post 10: Constructive Idea Discussion

By Basilia Dulawan

Reflection + Summary

Sharing my draft proposal with a few peers as well as Jacquie was a really beneficial exercise as it challenged me to think about how I would actually approach the design proposition, what parameters I needed to include, and shown what needed to be stronger in my proposition.

Initially the generative system I proposed was going to rely on data generated from Twitter, catching tweets that used the phrases “He is a…” or “She is a…”, but the problem that Jacquie highlighted was that it was too generic and the responses can be taken out of context. Jacquie suggested that I instead create a survey with a series of semi-specific questions that participants can answer. Additionally, to avoid skewing the results toward people who share similar mindsets to me, it was raised that I shouldn’t just post this on my Facebook page, but use Reddit and other survey forums to allow a greater variety of people to respond. This was a critical realisation for me as I wanted to be able to produce a variety of honest answers, but didn’t think beyond the way in which I know how to scrape the web for data, which is Twitter. The next challenge was writing semi-specific questions that didn’t probe at a certain response.

Another key moment that came out of this discussion was Jacquie suggesting that I speak to Chris Gaul and Thomas Ricciardiello about ways in which I could make the generative system update in real-time, and use processing to make sense of the data generated. Overall, through this discussion I was able to distill what it is I wanted to investigate further, and how my proposition would respond to this.


Project Title: RE-THINK. 

Practice Type: Generative System (with a side of Data Visualisation)

The Issue: Gender Inequality in Language

The Possible Change: Awareness about the gender inequalities that exist in society’s everyday language and the realisation that it is through language that we support the continuation of Gender Inequality. With this awareness, people can make a conscious change in the words they choose to use toward Women and Men. 

Design Action to support change:

A key moment in my research was listening to filmmaker and documentarian Lauren Greenfield emphasise the power of words, and how they shape the development of young girls. I was particularly inspired by her work for Always with the initial #LikeAGirl Campaign which she aimed to change the perception of the ‘Like A Girl’ phrase, from an insult to an empowering compliment that girl’s can own. Coupled with another key finding of the way in which we raise boys and girls that made me question –  Why is it that society raises boys to be brave, but girls to be cautious, and lady-like?

The common element throughout my research was, language. How women refer to other women, how women refer to men, how men refer to women, how men refer to other men and how we describe ourselves. For my design proposition I want to explore gendered language, and how it is used, if used, by 18-25yr olds on social media. I aim to create a generative system that aggregates data/user responses, then visually plots these words on screen. As the data grows over time, the visual produced will update in real time – increasing the size of words that are more commonly used, plotting new words and changing the colour of the text depending on what gender it was used to describe. What I am hoping to achieve is a visual that illustrates the gendered language we  as 18-25yr olds use, and with this, bring an awareness to the change that needs to occur in our everyday interactions simply by the language we choose to use. I hope that this generative system that can be visited online, makes everyone – specifically 18-25yr olds, more aware of the words that support the continuation of Gender Inequality and thus more conscious about the words they choose to use toward men and women.