Post 10: A Proposition


Working together in a small group and providing each other with feedback, fresh perspectives and further ideas was, as always, incredibly helpful. I didn’t leave the lesson with a refined design outcome, or even a refined problem statement, however I did leave with a mind ticking full of ideas. It was clear from my inability to properly articulate my problem statement and possible design outcomes to my group that my idea needed to be further developed and refined. My first step in doing so was to review all of the research I had done over the semester and use this as a basis for redefining my problem statement and allowing me to narrow the focus of my potential design outcome.

The design outcome idea that received the greatest response was that of a data-scraping tool which collects Twitter data regarding relevant issues to do with feminism, femininity, and the sexualisation of the female body; for example, a collation of data on “thigh gap” mentions compared with “pay gap” mentions. Both my peers and my tutor were highly amused by this play on language, and we spent some time brainstorming other possible language juxtapositions that could be collected. I soon realised, however, that it would be a struggle for me to find an ample amount of material. Not wanting to leave this possibility behind altogether, I realised that I could combine a few of my previously outlined possible design outcomes as a way of fleshing this idea out; the thigh gap/pay gap comparison was a starting point, and, into this, I integrated an exploration of the broader constructs of “femininity” and “masculinity”, how this impacts the way we perceive and relate to our own bodies and selves, and the role these constructs and resulting “everyday sexism” play in the oppression of women.

Project title: TBC

Practice type:

Generative design based off data and opinion collection, integrating data visualisations as content

The issue:

The culturally and historically constructed concept of “femininity” is limiting, and detrimental to all attempts towards gender equality. It is also detrimental to young women’s perceptions of themselves, thus their mental health, as well as to interactions between women and men. Femininity and masculinity as cultural constructs are a form of bodily control and a maintenance of patriarchal power, reinforcing gender stereotypes and maintaining the oppression of women. Women aged 18-24 are vulnerable as they begin to navigate and develop their identity within the “real world” and need to be provided with platforms which encourage empowerment and self-acceptance, and challenge inhibitive social constructs and resounding societal expectations and norms.

The possible change:

The proposed design intervention will specifically focus on women aged 18-24 in Australia, existing to redefine the constructs of “femininity” and “masculinity” and tackle the issues of gender stereotyping and bodily objectification. The design will aim to foster a sense of communal empowerment and encourage self-acceptance, and provide an impetus for discussion between young women. Through a communal movement which redefines “femininity” and “masculinity” and allows for the involvement, contributions and collaborations of many, the issues of socially constructed oppression mechanisms will be addressed and explored in an optimistic and supportive way.

The design action to support change:

Through data scraping social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram, I have identified key issues that concern 18-24 year old women in regards to self-empowerment, the sexualisation and objectification of the female body, and the impacts of the social constructs of “femininity” and “masculinity”. I intend to break down these issues and provide a service to young women in the form of a zine which encourages self-empowerment, explores themes of gender and self-love, and deconstructs societal expectations, norms and taboos in a positive way. The development of a zine is appealing, affordable, and has the potential for collaboration and expansion in the future as word-of-mouth and personal experiences give the zine a voice within its context. While this design operates on a small scale, it also operates on a very personal level, which arguably has the potential for a higher impact on its audience. The zine could potentially include literature, art, stories, data visualisations, and information drawn from data, as a way of empowering and redefining “femininity” and exploring the notion and effects of the patriarchal worldview.

This design action has the potential for exploring key issues relevant to feminism in our modern discourse, as well as providing a platform for various forms of discussion regarding the historical background, social contexts and resounding impact of “femininity” and “masculinity” as patriarchal constructs. It could explore the way in which our expectations of “femininity” impact the way we view women’s bodies and the way women view and relate to their own bodies, as well as having the potential for exploring “everyday sexism” and the subconscious objectification of women’s bodies that occurs in our society. I intend to collate relevant data from Twitter and Instagram as a basis for these explorations within the zine, as well as calling for submissions from people who feel that the zine’s focus is relevant to their own life experiences.

Madeleine Lumley Prince


Blog post 9: Visual documentation

Unfortunately I was absent for the class brainstorming session, however through the information my group members gave me and further discussions that I had with some of my peers, I was able to hone in on some initial problem statements that I identified within gender equality and feminism, and develop these problem statements through my own in-depth brainstorming.

I wanted to delve deeper into feminist theory and the history of the gender equality struggle before I settled on any particular problem statement. As a result I continued on with deeper research, looking into theorists such as Michel Foucault and Teresa de Lauretis, as a way of deepening my understanding and really allowing myself to hone in on some of the extensive issues within feminism and gender equality. I initially began at Foucault’s theory of biopower in the terms of the control of the female body, and De Lauretis’ writings on Feminism and its Differences.

By deepening my understanding of existing problems and discussions within feminist discourse, my own problem statements and the details of possible solutions were easier to identify and explore. This research really framed my problem statements and subsequent brainstorming, and possible design responses arose from these brainstorms with relative ease (a nice feeling to finally feel like I’m making headway in this subject). I actually completed brainstorms for a handful of problem statements, before deciding to focus in on one in particular, that being the social, cultural and historical construct of “femininity” and how this influences the way we view and respond to women’s bodies in our society.

I definitely feel it would have been beneficial to complete the brainstorming exercises alongside my peers, having had positive experiences with doing so previously, however circumstance meant I wasn’t able to. I struggled to decide on just one problem statement, which I’m sure would not have been so much of a problem if I’d had class mates to help push me in a certain direction. In saying that, having only myself to rely on in my brainstorming meant that I was able to go deeper into my background research and able to incorporate this research into my mapping, resulting in a perhaps deeper and more thorough analysis of my problem statement.

An intial quick sketch out of possible problem statements. From this, I chose a few statements to elaborate on further.
The first problems statement that I did a quick brain storm on was the unwillingness to identify as “feminist” which exists in our society.
Following on from this, I looked further into the idea of “mainstream” feminism and its implications.
From my readings of Catharine Mackinnon (activist, lawyer, writer) I came across the idea of the “male point of view” and how this plays into bodily objectification and control.
My final problem statement brainstorm was looking further into these ideas of the sexualised objectification of the female body and “femininity” as a cultural construct. I decided to focus on this particular problem statement in blog post eight.

Madeleine Lumley Prince

Post 8: Brainstorming a design proposal

“A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself… She comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two consituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman… Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed, female.” Ways of Seeing, John Berger (English art theorist, art critic, poet and novelist).

The issue of gender equality within our society is a huge, multi-faceted one, one that concerns (or should concern) everyone, one that has its toes stuck in many doors, has many knock on effects, and which relates to many other social issues. From the start of this subject, I was particularly interested in Feminism as a movement, historically, culturally and socially, and knew that this was the direction I wanted to research further into. However, Feminism itself it also a huge, multi-faceted topic, with so much rich history and social relevance, as well as much controversy. Through my research, I came across the writings of theorists such as Teresa de Lauretis, John Berger and Catharine Mackinnon, and was drawn into the ideas of the patriarchal world view and subsequent social conditioning, the sexualised objectification of the female body, and how this all plays into the suppression of women through the culturally and historically specific construct of “femininity”.

Who does the problem affect? Be specific.

The problem specifically looks at young women and men aged 18 to 24 within our contemporary society. Different cultures have different attitudes and interpretations of femininity as a cultural and historical construct, but as my own upbringing and influences are of a Western background, I’ll be focusing specifically on Western culture. This problem particularly affects young women as they often feel the weight of social expectations that surround the concept of femininity, however it also involves men as social expectations and stereotypes play into how they perceive women, and how they perceive themselves in association with women. The issue of femininity as a cultural and historical construct also naturally brings with it the issue of the cultural and historical construct of masculinity, which brings its own issues to the lives of men and how they move within the world.

What are the boundaries of the problem?

This issue exists on a representational level, with social conditioning and long-standing patriarchal power structures influencing (whether consciously or subconsciously) the way women are viewed within the world, and how they move within the world. The issue of social conditioning and how it affects expectations of women and interpretations of “femininity”, and reinforces gender stereotypes, infiltrates throughout our society through social media, mass media, pornography, politics, social spheres, and wider public spheres. While objectification of bodies has occurred for centuries, globalisation and technological developments have altered and expanded the platforms through which we now experience this objectification.

When does the problem occur? When does it need to be fixed?

The problem occurs every hour of every day, as a result of the long-standing patriarchal world views that our society has been built on and which continue to filter throughout every aspect of our lives. Sexualised objectification and the eroticisation of power has its resounding effects on women and the way women’s bodies are perceived (by both men and women) all the time. Ideally, this problem would be addressed immediately, however the nature of our society and the deeply entrenched behaviours and institutional values that contribute to this issue mean that a sudden shift in the collective conscience is unlikely. Rather, education and inclusive conversation seems to be a more achievable way of encouraging a shift.

Where does the problem occur?

This problem occurs across all aspects of society; social media, mass media, politics, social life, workplaces, etc. Social media is a particularly powerful tool within our society as it gives a platform and voice to the merging of the personal and political. Online communities have the power to either perpetuate or challenge these long-standing views, and as a result of such wide-reaching platforms, both the perpetuation of the objectification of women and the rejection of these limiting views are frequently seen. The media is another powerful tool, particularly because all too often “femininity” and sexualised objectification is used as a marketing tool.

Why is it important?

The culturally and historically constructed concept of “femininity” is limiting, and detrimental to all attempts towards gender equality. It is also detrimental to young women’s perception of themselves, thus their mental health, as well as to interactions between women and men. Femininity and masculinity as a cultural constructs reinforce gender stereotypes and contribute to the objectification of women’s bodies, seen throughout media platforms, political spheres, and the social norms, taboos, and expectations of our society, which further contributes to the oppression of women. “Femininity” and “masculinity” are a form of bodily control and a maintenance of patriarchal power.

Possible design responses:

  1. A data-scraping tool which collects Twitter data on “thigh gap” mentions and “pay gap” mentions and compares the two (this could extend further to juxtapose other Tweets that use opposing language/views)
  2. Visualisations of feminist issues swapped over to men (e.g. the burkini ban in France transferred to being some kind of control over male bodies on French beaches)
  3. Some kind of data visualisation that explores the historical background or social context, and resounding impact, of “femininity” and “masculinity”
  4. Some kind of data visualisation that explores the way our expectations of “femininity” impact the way we view women’s bodies/the way women view and relate to their own bodies
  5. A generative system of sorts which involves an online video compilation of “everyday sexism” or subconscious objectification of women’s bodies/a visualisation of the eroticisation of power


Berger, J. 1972. Ways of Seeing. Penguin Books.

Madeleine Lumley Prince

Post Seven: Collaborative Mapping

In this collaborative mapping exercise, my class mate and I began by elaborating on our week 3 map, choosing to focus on developing the stakeholders within the feminist movement specifically related to the media. The outcomes of this expansion on the media’s role and relation to feminism included:

  • The identification of social media campaigns such as #HeforShe, #freethenipple, UN Women’s ‘the Autocomplete Truth’ campaign, and the Lonely Girls Project which focuses on female body empowerment and positivity.
  • The exploration of podcasts and blogs which are specifically geared towards enabling the feminist discussion and giving voice to women and their opinions. Through identifying podcasts and blogs such as “Mamamia”, “What Would A Feminist Do?”, “Chat 10 Looks 3”, and “Lenny Letter”, we were also able to identify prominent individual stakeholders within the feminist discussion such as Leigh Sales, Annabel Crabb, Mia Freedman, Jessica Valenti and Lena Dunham.
  • The identification of book publications and feminist authors. My class mate and I were able to elaborate on books and published manifestos, identifying prominent writers and publications which concern themselves with gender equality and feminist discussion. Such books included Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist”, Rebecca Sparrow’s books specifically geared towards adolescent girls, Tara Moss’ “A 21st Century Handbook for Women and Girls” and Jessica Bennett’s “Feminist Fight Club”.
  • The acknowledgement of more minor forms of media, such as cartoons and newsletters. We identified feminist and socially critical cartoonists such as Liana Finck, Gemma Correll and Frances Cannon.


Being able to expand on this map in collaboration with my class mate meant that we were able to identify a much greater range of media stakeholders within our issue. An example of this collaboration was the awareness of feminist podcasts that my class mate had. As a result, she was able to contribute many names of feminist podcasts and podcasters to our map. Most of my issue research has been in the form of blog posts and written content, which meant, through putting our heads together, we were able to expand and elaborate on our map much more than we would have been able to individually.

Following this, my class mate and I put together a polemics list, identifying controversies within feminism and exploring the possible emotions and motives that are involved within these controversies. We identified issues to do with maternity leave and employment discrimination, as well as the issues that surround the reluctance that many have to identify with feminism and as a feminist. Through this collaborative exercise, we were able to reveal the polarising nature of the term “feminist”. We explored the possibility of politicians and celebrities using their rejection or acceptance of feminism as a strategic move, avoiding criticism, avoiding controversy, or appealing to wider audiences. Ultimately, public figures identifying as feminist or non-feminist is a controversial move; an unfortunate truth.


In our next map, we decided to delve further into the polemic issue of this reluctance to identify as feminist. Through mapping out the emotions that are involved in this issue, my class mate and I were able to illustrate two clear sides of the controversy, that being “empowerment” and “ignorance”. We discovered that often the reluctance to identify with feminism comes from discomfort, ignorance, misunderstanding, or a fear of offending, while those who embrace feminism generally do so out of passion, empowerment and courage, forging a sense of community and personal identity through the movement. We also explored the idea that often the ignorance and confusion that is tied up with the reluctance to identify as feminist is due to a lack of experience, or a lack of context within the feminism movement. We considered that in mainstream media feminism is often misinterpreted, and as a result of feminism gaining popularity within certain areas of the media in recent years, the feminist message has an increased potential for misunderstanding.


Following on from this, we formed a larger group of six in order to further explore a specific polemic. The polemic chosen ended up being the issue of rape culture, which one of the other pairs had chosen to elaborate on through their previous maps. This exercise gave us an opportunity to widen our scope of interest within the issue of gender equality even further, and bringing five other voices to the issue meant a varied discussion and reflection on how we each experience the issue of gender inequality.


The task of co-creating these controversy maps was especially informative this week, as working with a partner really allowed for deeper exploration and deeper discussion into the issues we explored. I definitely feel like connections and relationships between key stakeholders were able to be identified and explored through this collaboration in a way which I would not have been able to achieve on my own. Because the issue of gender equality is such a broad one, we each had our own interests, knowledge, and previously gathered research within the issue which we were able to bring to the table. What particularly stood out to me from these mapping exercises was the relationship between the emotions of “empowerment” and “ignorance”, which my class mate and I identified and explored in one of our maps. Through my own previous research, I was introduced to the concept of “choice feminism”, which explores the notion of how our everyday choices as women (and men) have the potential to either empower us or contribute to the cycle of inequality, and I feel that the role that “empowerment” and “ignorance” plays in how people react to feminism really ties into these concepts, and is definitely the direction that I want to continue researching. How feminism is interpreted is so broad, and often misconstrued as a result of many factors; possible actions in creating change could include campaigns that educate, inform, inspire and empower all.

Madeleine Lumley Prince

Post Six: Data-scraping

Twitter is amongst the most popular of social media networking services today, providing a public platform for people all over the world to voice their interests and opinions on current global trends and events via “tweet” comments. Information and comments shared and circulated on Twitter are made public, and with a hugely varied user base, ranging from celebrities, politicians, prominent public personas and social commentators, NGOs and the general public, Twitter is a valuable database for the speedy collection of public opinion relating to certain issues. To assist my research on gender equality, I decided to focus on the use of Twitter Archiver and the Advanced Search option on Twitter itself as a way of accruing new perspectives and popular opinions.

I wanted to collect data which would provide me with a base understanding of who is currently involved with and talking about issues of gender equality, what demographic they belong to, and to generally observe whether the user’s gender plays a role in the opinions shared.


In Twitter’s advanced search, what I considered to be a fairly broad search on the words “feminism” “women” and “Australia” provided a good initial starting point for my data collection, and actually returned some rather specific and in-depth results. This search provided me with many references to other forms of media such as online news articles and videos, with many of the tweets that used all three of the search key words being of a political nature, making reference to politicians such as Julia Gillard and Barack Obama, and referencing a broad range of gender equality issues such as the pay gap, women’s sport, intersectionality and indigenous women’s issues. I believe this reflects the often political nature of Twitter, with many Tweeters using the platform to voice personal political and social opinions. Accounts such as Women’s News, an account with 18.3k followers specifically dedicated to “women of the world” and feminist issues, dominated the search results, while other results provided links through to articles, essays and online news pieces concerned with feminist issues within our society, such as “The War on Feminism and the Normalisation of Misogyny in Australia” by Jennifer Ellem and articles from Yahoo News and The Age.

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Following this, I searched for the phrase “not feminist” using Twitter archiver, which returned 448 results from the last 10 days. This search provided me some interesting results, as it really highlighted the relationship between current world events and feminist discussion. The recent burkini ban in France was a notable discussion point amongst many Tweeters, as was Hillary Clinton’s current position in American politics. I also came across many interesting comment threads and tweets which highlighted the disparity between the term “feminism” and its true meaning, with many Tweeters claiming to be “not feminist” whilst still supporting equal gender rights.

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Again using Twitter Archiver, I searched the word “hysterical” whilst also including either of the words “women” or “woman”, providing me with 556 results from the last 10 days. While my previous search results provided more specific gender equality opinions and discussions, this search returned both social commentary and feminist discussion, but also many non-feminism-specific personal comments revealing the way often thoughtless, everyday language reinforces gender stereotypes.

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Key points:

Using Twitter as a way of collecting data has allowed me to gather popular opinions on the topic of gender equality, and enabled me to identify conflicting opinions within the issue. This has further enabled me to define modern feminism, and identify the varying interpretations of feminism within our society.

Ultimately, the more specific the search rule, the more in-depth responses and opinions I was able to collect, however through the search of broader terms I was able to gain a less in-depth but more expansive understanding of opinions on feminism and gender equality. Both the more specific and generic search rules had their place in providing me with interesting insights.

Data scraping methods need to be critical, as using social media as a basis for assuming information and forming an opinion from this information isn’t necessarily going to be reliable. Social media is a good way of identifying trends in opinions, but not necessarily for developing fully accurate understandings of certain issues.

Twitter is frequently used as a platform for conversation and discussion, with many users sharing their opinions on current world events and broader social issues. Often there is a direct relationship between current events and the prevalence and frequency of commentary on certain social issues.

Twitter is a good starting point for sourcing deeper research material such as news articles, videos, online essays and references to key figures and voices within the feminist discussion.

Madeleine Lumley Prince

Post Five: An inital collection of ethnographic data on modern Feminism

For my probe task, I asked my interviewee to ask ten of her friends with whom she conversed with during the week what their opinion of feminism is. I’m particularly curious about modern interpretations of feminism and the reasons for why so many young people seem to be disillusioned with modern feminism and unwilling to identify as feminist, and getting a broad range of opinions seemed a good way to collate more data on the topic.

The answers from the probe led me to see that there seems to be a big disparity between current interpretations of feminism and the actual goals of modern feminism. The popular notion of the man-hating feminist with extreme views, passions and beliefs appears to be alive and well, and seems for many of the young males who provided me with responses a reason to reject the possibility of identifying with feminism, as as a feminist. It made me question what it is we, as a society, have to do in order to reform and rebuild opinions on feminism; how we can redefine the term ‘feminism’ to escape from the current misconstrued definition and the stereotypical extremes that people seem to associate with the movement, and how we can create a movement of equality that all are willing to identify with. It fascinates me that so many of the male opinions on feminism gathered from my probe were so far from what my own view of feminism is, and has made me wonder how we can bridge this gap of understanding.

My interview provided me with more (personally speaking) optimistic results; my interviewee happily identified as a feminist, acknowledging gender equality issues as personal issues which have defined her character and which continue to define her path in life. We both agreed that feminism is still a very relevant movement, and that the reasons for some young adults feeling uncomfortable with identifying as feminist is because of a misconstrued interpretation of what feminism actually is; a movement which my interviewee defined as “identifying the imbalance of opportunities between the sexes [and a] wish for both to have equality”. The passion with which some people speak about feminism was identified as a potential reason for this discomfort (which was then supported by my probe results), as “sometimes those who are very passionate can be quite intimidating” or interpreted as threatening. Ultimately, my interviewee stated her belief that more people need to voice their opinions and to call out injustice when they see it, regardless of their gender. She cited Emma Watson’s “He for She” campaign as an important example of modern feminism.

Through my interview and my probe results, I believe I have gathered samples of two very different modern views on what feminism is, who feminists are, and what the expectations and goals of feminism are. Of course, the answers that I received from my probe task entirely depended on who my interviewee happened to converse with and question during the week, what her own personal and political beliefs are, and what her circle of friends’ personal and political beliefs are. The answers that I received from this probe were obviously only brief snapshots of opinions, and they definitely made me want to dig deeper into these answers and understand the reasonings and backgrounds of those who gave the answers.


Image reference:

Correll, G. Feminist Activity Book, [online]. <;.

Madeleine Lumley Prince

Post Three: Mapping and Documenting Gender Equality Issues

The initial mapping task made it obvious to me how extensive gender equality issues are within our society; these issues are relevant across so many spheres and within so many groups, from politics, the business sector, the media, social media, religion, education and within the home. Group-specific motives, opinions and discourse can be found within all of these non-human stake holders, as well as individuals of influence. Such individuals, motives, opinions and discourse carry substantial influence within the non-human stakeholders, but most importantly, they have a ripple effect into wider society. As a result, it’s clear as to why there are so many varying and conflicting interpretations and opinions on feminism and its goals. With such an evidently high level of relevance and with gender equality issues infiltrating into every sphere of our society, it seems obvious that this is not simply a “women’s issue”, but rather a broader social issue that should concern everyone.



Through the most recent collaborative group exercise, it became quickly evident that certain terms were more loaded and more effective than others. Some were tangible issues such as “pay gap”, “women’s sport” and “porn”, some were more emotive concepts such as “permission”, “apologetic” and “judgement”, and others were examples of controversial concepts within feminist discourse and within our society at large, such as “fetishisation”, “tokenism” and “objectification”. This range of words clearly makes evident the extensive relevance that feminism has across so many aspects of modern society, and the roles that current equality issues, the construction of gender norms and stereotypes, and, importantly, language, play in the tensions between liberation and discrimination.


Image archive

Image 1:


A witty cartoon from illustrator, cartoonist and writer Gemma Correll, ‘Disney Princesses, Reimagined’ is one of her many of gender-stereotype-fighting cartoons, born as a frustrated response to the gender stereotypes that are commonly seen in the media. Correll uses her feminist humour as a way of making important issues more accessible to all.

Image 2:


This image is of Malala Yousafzai, taken at the age of 15 not long after she had been shot in the head by a member of the Taliban in Pakistan. In the years that have passed since this image was taken, Malala has become an inspiration and a prominent voice for women and girls, speaking out for all of those who are denied an education purely because of their gender; “I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls… I am those 66 million girls who are deprived of education” (Yousafzai 2014). When this image was taken, thousands of people were calling for her to be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her fearless and tireless demands for bringing change to the state of women’s education in Pakistan. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Image 3a and 3b:


These images show the arrest of two women in Chicago in 1922, who were deemed to have violated the ‘modesty policy’ of the time. During this time, women were expected to conform to the ‘modesty policy’ which specified that bathing suits had to cover a certain amount of their legs and arms. A demeaning process of having their swimming costumes measured against their legs and arms and, if found to be in violation of these rules, being escorted off the beach, reveal the little personal freedom women held over their own bodies at the time. It’s interesting to draw some parallels between these women in 1922 having their bodies monitored and policed, and the current debate around the burkini ban in France; two clear examples of governmental power and societal expectations being given higher importance than individual bodily autonomy.

Image 4:


This image was taken at a Breastfeeding Is Not Obscene protest on the subway of Warsaw, Poland. The protest was conducted as a reaction against a ban that had been imposed by city officials on an art project which portrayed breastfeeding mothers, meant to have been displayed in the subway. Breastfeeding in public is still, strangely, cause for debate in most countries. This simple, peaceful image highlights the interesting issue that, despite breastfeeding being the most natural of interactions between mother and child, the hyper-sexualisation of women’s breasts in our society evidently makes some uncomfortable with women publicly using their breasts for what they were intended. The irony of the widespread acceptance of the constant use of women’s breasts in a sexual manner for the sake of advertising and marketing and the widespread discomfort with the use of women’s breasts for a non-sexual act such as breastfeeding is inescapable.

Image 5:


This image is of some of the women who started The Ladies Network, a Sydney-based platform for female artists to exhibit their work. The founder of the group, Lara Vrkic, has said she knew “so many creative females” but because of the underrepresentation of women in Sydney’s art scene, female artists didn’t have the platform to give their work exposure. The network holds regular exhibitions and manages online content, featuring both established and emerging female artists. Vrkic has said “it’s not so much differentiating ourselves from men, it’s getting men on board as supporters of women”.

Image 6:


This image is of some of the women who are members of associations against violence towards women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Holding up leaflets, they were protesting against ongoing violence which was occurring during the opening of the Francophonie summit in Kinshasa in 2012. The image seems to convey a simple and peaceful protest, however the expressions on the women’s faces portray strength and commitment to cause.

Image 7:


This image is a still taken from the recent advertisement for British feminine hygiene company Bodyform, titled “Blood”. The aim of this advertisement is to challenge the stigmas and misrepresentation of menstruation which are commonly seen in the media, and to break down social stigmas and stereotypes currently held about women’s bodies. Themes of strength and endurance run throughout the video, which this image clearly reflects.

Image 8:


Rupi Kaur is a writer and artist based in Canada who is well known for her expressive, personal and engaging multi-disciplinary explorations into femininity, love, loss, and healing. ‘Period’ is a poignant, powerful and confronting photo series that she developed as a way of challenging the sexualisation of women and the taboos that surround the natural processes of the female body. In her artist statement, Kaur says that “some are more comfortable with the… sexualisation of women, the violence and degradation of women, than this… we menstruate and they see it as dirty, as if this process is less natural than breathing”.

Image 9:



Frances Cannon is a Melbourne-based cartoonist and artist, who’s passion for women’s rights infiltrates into much of her work. Her popular cartoons focus on themes of self-love, body-positivity, relationships, sex, sexuality, gender, and the female psyche, examining “what it is like to be a woman in contemporary times”. This simple, positive cartoon is a beautiful example of the way Cannon challenges societal expectations of the female body, whilst simultaneously providing a refreshing alternative to the often self-deprecating view women have of their own bodies.

Image 10:


Campaigners in London attended a rally organised by activist group UK Feminista in 2012, calling for equal rights for men and women, and lobbying their local MPs to demonstrate against legislation that damages women’s rights. Some of the campaigners, seen in this image, dressed as suffragettes, a powerful reference and nod to those who originally fought for women’s right to vote in the early 20th century.

Madeleine Lumley Prince


1. Correll, G. 2014. Disney Princesses, Reimagined, [online]. <;.

2.Herald Sun. 2012. At just fifteen, Malala Yousafzai could earn a Nobel Prize, [online]. <;.

Yousafzai, M. 2014. Malala Yousafzai Nobel Lecture, [online]. <;.

3. Wild, C. 2015. 1920s: The Swimwear Police, [online]. <;.

4. Huffington Post. 2016. 60 Stunning Photos of Women Protesting Around The World, [online]. <;.

5. Devlin, P. 2015. By the ladies for the ladies, [online]. <;.

6. Huffington Post. 2016. 60 Stunning Photos of Women Protesting Around The World, [online]. <;.

7. ABC. 2016. No blood should hold us back: new ad aims to power past period stigma, [online].

8. Kaur, R. 2015. Period, [online]. <;.

9.Cannon, F. 2016. Beautiful, [online]. <;.

10. Huffington Post. 2016. 60 Stunning Photos of Women Protesting Around The World, [online]. <;.

Post Four: The Girl Effect

Girl Effect are a creative social business whose driving purpose is to “create a new normal with and for girls” in developing nations. Primarily working in Africa, Girl Effect believes that providing girls with skills, ideas and knowledge is the key to breaking through poverty. Through the use of mobile technology, innovative research and community engagement, Girl Effect aims to “challenge discriminatory gender norms and start conversations” about the potential that girls hold in breaking through these poverty cycles.

Girl Effect’s main community engagement projects are currently centred in Ethiopia and Rwanda, in which they’ve created “youth brands” that aim to inspire and inform through the use of journalism, drama and music. These youth brands provide multimedia platforms spanning across magazine, radio and mobile, providing a platform for girls to learn new skills, be exposed to new conversations, and gain access to advice about topics such as education and sexual health.


Through interactive technology and real-world safe spaces, Girl Effect have also set up “Girls Network”, which involves both online and real-world youth clubs aiming to empower African girls, provide networks, and provide a space to build skills and knowledge. As an extension of this, Girl Effect offers a free helpline called “Girls Connect” which gives girls access to on-demand content, conversations and mentorship.

Girl Effect’s most expansive project is Girl Effect Mobile (GEM), a global digital platform which “connects girls to vital information, entertaining content and to each other”. With the belief that increased access to knowledge about health, education and safety will result in greater levels of self-confidence and a heightened ability to overcome cultural barriers, GEM provides an interactive and relevant support platform of stories, advice, forums, conversations, polls and connections, all based on the user’s geolocation.

Through innovative research and relatively simple mobile technologies, Girl Effect has engaged in extensive explorations into how local groups of girls can form supportive global networks. I believe their ultimate goal of liberating young girls in developing nations is a huge goal, one which will take a long time, and a lot of collaborative efforts, to achieve. In saying that, I think these initial projects that Girl Effect has set up are fabulous steps in the right direction. I initially came across their work as I was looking through frog design’s work and collaborations. Frog spent a month in Nairobi working with Girl Effect, using research planning as a way of bringing local girls into the design process and brainstorming how communication and problem solving could be forged in the local communities. This research led to further explorations into how these local girl groups could form a global network through limited mobile technologies, which greatly ties into Girl Effect’s GEM project and “Girls Network”. I think it’s incredibly important for organisations like Girl Effect to collaborate with companies who work in global design and strategy such as frog, as this provides such a greater level of exposure and opportunity for growth.


I took interest in Girl Effect and their projects as they have particular relevance to my exploration into gender equality issues. While my own research and practice will be focused on gender equality issues in Australia and within young adults, I found Girl Effect and frog design’s innovative research to be a helpful insight into successful ethnographic and integrated research methods.


frog. 2016. Nike Foundation / Girl Effect 100 Million Girls. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20 August 2016].

Girl Effect. 2016. Our purpose – Girl Effect. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 20 August 2016].

Madeleine Lumley Prince


Post Two: Stop Saying Sorry

Roxane Gay and her incredibly widely known manifesto Bad Feminist looks at the state of modern feminism, painting a picture of a vary different vein of feminism to previous waves of the movement. She firmly identifies as a feminist, however outlines everything within her life that contradicts this feminism. She believes that essential feminism “doesn’t allow for the complexities of human experience or individuality”. I think her honesty and rawness is amazing, and agree that we as humans need to learn to embrace our flaws and appreciate our individuality. I do wonder, however, whether the concept of “pop feminism” or “choice feminism” (a form of “unchallenging” feminism), which I initially discovered and touched on in my previous blog post, has arisen because of this manifesto being misconstrued. I also find it interesting that in a movement so thoroughly aimed at women not having to be apologetic or subservient to men’s feelings or desires in any way, Roxane Gay, and many others, feel the need to apologise for their “bad feminism”. Stop saying sorry!

Nancy Dowd in her article on Masculinities Analysis writes about how we can look at and reform our social constructs of masculinity as a way of helping the feminist cause. She claims that through the study of masculinity and the accompanying stereotypes, we can better understand the nature of male power within our society, and the process of the subordination of women. She believes that the hierarchies that currently exist between men reinforces this subordination of women, and we would do well the understand these dynamics. While I have considered the importance that men fully identifying themselves as feminists holds in the struggle for gender equality, I hadn’t previously considered the idea that hierarchies between men themselves had an impact on issues of gender power. However, I am wary of the feminist conversation being too heavily taken over by conversations about men, which I felt almost happened at some points during Dowd’s article. She did, however, state that there were risks of using masculinities to deflect feminist critique, and I think it would be interesting to further consider how we can avoid these risks, and whether the system we currently live in fosters positive masculinity.

Roxane Gay, 2014. Bad Feminist: Essays. 1st Edition. Harper Perennial.

Nancy E. Dowd, 2010. Asking the Man Question: Masculinities Analysis and Feminist Theory, 33 Harv. J.L. & Gender 415. Available at: [Accessed 8 August 2016].

Madeleine Lumley Prince

Post One: Choice, Blood and Passion

A last minute swap to gender equality issues proved to be a good decision as I became more and more engrossed in articles and opinion pieces about this very relevant issue. With so many opinions, ideas, forms, waves, disagreements and agreements that surround the concept of feminism, I immediately knew from my initial research that this very extensive social issue would lead me into many ideas and possibilities for thought and reflection. Meagan Tyler’s article “No, Feminism is Not About Choice” is an argument against the idea of “choice feminism”; the idea that a woman’s freedom to choose trumps her right equality, that anything is a feminist choice so long as a feminist chooses it (within religion, family, career, dieting, sex, aesthetics, surgery, etc). Tyler is a research fellow at RMIT university with a particular interest in the social construction of gender and sexuality, and she regularly contributes to online news outlet The Conversation. She completed a PHD and went on to be a lecturer in sociology, before taking on the role of research fellow, making her a voice to be listened to within feminist discussion. Tyler recently co-edited and contributed to a book called “Freedom Fallacy: the limits of liberal feminism”, a collection of essays critiquing the idea that “choice should be the ultimate arbiter of women’s freedom”. In the article that I read, she follows on from this theme and challenges the notion of “choice feminism”, arguing that this form of “pop feminism” is causing the fight for equality to stall and is “hampering our ability to challenge the very institutions that hold women back”. While this article has a passionate bias towards feminism and women’s rights, it has been formulated from her research in gender and equality issues, therefore making it worth consideration. Tyler ultimately claims that “choice feminism” is a “largely unchallenging version of feminism” which has entered the popular consciousness, and to a certain extent, I agree that it is quite possible that women who do have the ability to “choose” their choices and accept this as feminism succeeding could in fact be hindering the fight for the equality of all women, regardless of geography, age, ethnicity, economic state, sexuality; particularly those who are yet to achieve that freedom of choice. It is entirely possible that “choice feminism” has placated our society, reassuring men and women that the feminist fight has succeeded and can now be forgotten about, when the reality is quite the opposite.

The second article I looked at was found on ABC news online (with no author cited) which was written in response to the recent new advertisement for British feminine hygiene company Bodyform, titled “Blood”. The ABC article “No Blood Should Hold Us Back: New Ad Aims to Power Past Period Stigma” is clearly supportive of the new Bodyform ad, which aims to challenge the stigmas and misrepresentation of menstruation which is commonly seen in the media. I agree wholeheartedly with the author’s support, and with the message of Bodyform’s new ad. The article discusses the very positive reaction that the wider community has had to the ad which is wonderful to see, as I believe breaking down social stigmas and stereotypes about women’s bodies is incredibly important.

Following on from this, I read an article on online Australian news outlet reporting on non-profit The Parsemus Foundation’s recent innovation of a non-hormonal form of male contraceptive, currently being developed and to be approved for sale in the US within the next couple of years. It will be the first male contraceptive since the condom, an exciting scientific achievement as, excluding the use of condoms, birth control has up until now mainly been the responsibility of women. The idea of being able to share the responsibility is appealing to many, and important in the quest for equality. I definitely agree that this is a great innovation; the pill was so revolutionary in terms of women’s sexual liberation, so it’s great to see these frontiers being pushed further.

“Equality means a loss to those in privilege, and that’s okay” is a passionate opinion piece by Clementine Ford, a well known Australian journalist and prominent voice in regards to feminist issues and social equality. As a self proclaimed angry feminist who “twice weekly shares her man-hating screeds in the sulphuric depths of Fairfax’s resident witch coven, Daily Life” Ford, in her article, makes a passionate outcry for the dismantling of privilege and power in order to achieve true equality. The title of the article explains the tone of Ford’s writing, as she explores the idea that the reason the notion of equality is a hard one to get used to for many is because they perceive it as a loss, as a slight on them and the privilege they’ve been born into. For her, true equality means a loss to those in privilege, and that is more than okay. I definitely agree that those who refuse to adopt feminism, or are scared of the idea of feminism, do so probably because they’re afraid of the perceived negative effects that the rebalance of power and privilege will have on their own lives, and this would definitely be an interesting idea to look further into.

My final and favourite article that I looked at was written by American writer and activist Rebecca Solnit titled “Feminism, Now With Men”; a favourite for the eloquence with which Solnit outlines such a huge subject. Solnit regularly writes articles (and books) about feminism and women’s rights, and in this particular article she explores the recent wave of men actively engaging with feminism and how crucial this is. She also, on the opposing side, addresses the huge issues that surround rape culture, which are being kept alive by the many men who don’t engage with feminism, and rather do the opposite. In her article, she speaks of celebrating the men who take action against gender inequality, celebrating those who care enough about the well being of other human beings to speak up, “without thought about whether it confers advantages on them too”, a position which I definitely agree with. Solnit is clearly passionate about feminism and women’s rights, and states that until the world is “fully inhabitable by women who can walk freely down the street without the constant fear of trouble and danger, we will labour under practical and psychological burdens that impair our full powers”. I appreciate this statement as someone who is actively aware of feminism, but also of other social issues such as climate and environmental issues, and animal rights; while we are being held back in a patriarchal world, our full powers in dealing with the big issues of our planet are indeed being impaired.

From my readings, a few key ideas stood out to me. The ideas of “pop feminism” and “choice feminism” which Meagan Tyler challenged in her article were concepts I hadn’t heard of before, but which intrigued me. “Choice feminism” has definitely grown in popularity in recent times, and I think Roxane Gay’s “Bad Feminist” could be an interesting starting point from which to further explore this concept and how it is effecting us socially. I also began thinking about how men relate to feminism; how we can possibly find a space in feminism within which men feel able to fully commit to gender equality, while still maintaining women as the central and most important aspect of the movement (i.e. no mansplaining). Solnit’s example about women’s claims not being heard and listened to and acted upon properly within rape cases, and the horrible “she said, he said” and false-rape allegations which are held against victims, also raised the idea that often the issues that men can have with feminism are created by the men themselves (possibly as a subconscious, or conscious, way of justifying their rejection of feminism and maintaining societal dominance). I was also really drawn to the idea, which Solnit touches on, that achieving a truly equal society will free up energy and passion and time for tackling other big world issues, which made me begin to consider how feminism relates to other social issues such as environmental issues and animal rights.

Madeleine Lumley Prince

Meagan Tyler. 2016. No, feminism is not about choice. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 2 August 2016].

ABC News. 2016. ‘No blood should hold us back’: New ad aims to power past period stigma – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 2 August 2016]. 2015. Vasalgel: male pill is almost ready for sale. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 2 August 2016].

Clementine Ford. 2015. Equality means a loss to those in privilege, and that’s okay. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 August 2016].

Rebecca Solnit. 2014. Feminism, Now with Men. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 4 August 2016].