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.


Post 10 – Reflecting and Re-Proposing

Lily Partridge

Reflection from my Previous Proposal

These past few weeks have felt like a whirlwind. I’d finally grasped the hang of ‘research, map, blog, repeat’, but then suddenly breaking my process out of it’s spiralling trance with a design proposal: I was really unprepared.

The draft proposal that I explored with my peer group explored the idea of negative tone and language used to address the opposite sex in social media. I was really stuck for how to best explore this idea, as I didn’t want to place blame on either sex. I did, however want to focus on males as the victims of what many people feel to be victimless, anti-man rants on social media that generalise and shun men for mentalities and actions that are only internalised by a minority.

Refining this concept with my two group members, they were really helpful in nutting out potential directions for how I could present this information as a proposal. The strongest idea was a a campaign-style video inspired by Jimmy Kimmel’s ‘Celebrities Reading Mean Tweets’ that would present people form both genders, but mostly males, reading out tweets that generalised them as a male or female and gauging their response. I liked this idea because it put a face and an emotion to the faceless void of social media and would encourage people to think about how they discuss gender on an open platform. Chris, my tutor, wasn’t as convinced, suggesting that whilst the direction with language and tone was interesting, this probably wasn’t the most effective outcome. I definitely agree, so it was back to the drawing board for my proposal idea.

During the week I did the ‘Asking Why’ methodology to better get to the heart of my problem and to crack me out of a cycle of blinkered ideas. Below (source A) is this method. I came to realise that a much deeper issue that has lead to contemporary gender inequality across various areas is that in the process of building empowered women, men have taken a hit. As a result of generalisations they are attacked for trying to adhere to traditional masculinity paradigms that are often labelled as patronising and sexist towards women, yet on the other hand are also criticised for trying to rationally stand up for their rights in areas such as parental custody, paternity care, and acceptance in female-oriented industries. This process has greatly shaped the revision of my proposal, as you can see below.

Screen Shot 2016-09-27 at 10.38.20 AM.png
Source A: Refining down the issue to the core using the WHY methodology.

My Proposal Outline

‘Social’ – An online education platform for social, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Service Design – Website

The Issue:
Our society has reached an unusual impasse in relation to the gender equality movement, the result of a juxtaposition of standards: women are praised for embracing their flaws, but simultaneously males are criticised for fighting for rights and acceptance; gender stereotypes are being challenged, but both sexes are attacked for not adhering to socially acceptable gender labels; we want to reach a place of equal and mutually beneficial access to rights, yet are struggling to fully extend the hand in invitation. Understanding the equality revolution involves a mentality that, as adults, is difficult to adopt due to social stigma and tradition. Shifting a worldview takes generations, however with an issue as complex and subjective as Feminism, it is almost impossible that with so many perspectives we will ever reach a united and informed outcome. We need to break the impasse at the root by ensuring that everyone receives the same social education surrounding behaviour, rights and emotional and mental health, however currently no outlet exists to do so.

The Possible Change:
I anticipate that with this service we can begin to build a strong societal mentality that is unified around a contemporary understanding of gender equality, redefining gender roles and social behaviours. By educating children and institutionalising these themes to instil a feminist mentality that supports a healthy social and mental wellbeing that can be monitored and standardised, we can ensure a faster passage to creating meaningful and beneficial social change as they grow and impact society.

The Design Action to Support Change:
I propose an online platform created by mental health professionals, such as educators, counsellors, psychologists, scientists, etc., that foregrounds social skills as part of the education curriculum. The platform would be integrated into school curriculums as well as be accessible at home for parents. As a website, the design has the potential to be engaging and fun for children to use whilst targeting specific themes such as communication, respect, understanding gender, leadership, conflict resolution, etc. Further, as a web tool, it is easily accessible in most schools and homes, and by involving and assigning activities from the service to the students as tasks, the value that is placed on a social education becomes higher.

This platform can become more advanced as it is catered to older year groups, incorporating story sharing, online counselling, chatrooms, and other services so that this becomes a key tool in subliminally establishing a more healthy attitude towards gender equality and it’s impact upon the individuals and broader community.    

Post 9 – Searching for the Silver Lining in a Brainstorm

Lily Partridge

Surce A: A refined map based upon the brainstorming process in class around the topic of single-sex rights groups on the internet.

Above is a refined version of the mapping exercise that I undertook with my group of 4 in our tutorial last week. This process of developing a problem statement and brainstorming lead to a variety of possible design propositions explored in my most recent post. Initially my problem statement was too broad and wouldn’t have allowed for in depth insights and refined solutions, and so for the first half of the exercise we were brainstorming different elements of the solutions, for example the language, angle, tone, ideal outcome and how to elaborate upon previous research that had been undertaken.

About half way through the process we began developing possible solutions to the problem statement and on the map these can be seen 2-3 components away from the centre. I was really interested in the idea of analysing language and tone as I’d recently undertaken the data scraping task for blog 6 and was fascinated by the way that single-sex rights and liberation groups on Reddit spoke about the other gender, with an ingrained sense of contempt and casual use of derogatory language that appeared to be permissible amongst these communities. A barrier of the brainstorming here was that no one in our group had experience with or understanding of how to quantify tone or whether there were any bots or algorithms that have the capability to register tone and language to this extent. I think I will continue down this kind of path for my final proposal, whether it is more generative or visualisation-driven, as we were able to come up with some really interesting options to take further.

A benefit to undertaking this task extended beyond just my own brainstorming period; helping others develop their proposals gave me a glimpse into different areas of the board topic of gender equality that I hadn’t investigated myself. For some reason I felt that my own concept development was stronger when working with the other topic areas, so whether I’m currently blinkered in my own approach or I’ve exhausted all solutions in a narrow area I’m not sure, but it was a little disheartening to not feel as confident with my own brainstorm. In hindsight, I feel that this process would have been much more effective if I had been able to completely clear my mental slate and approach the topic without ideas already in my head. This will be something to consider for next brainstorm I think!   

Post 8 – Understanding Gender Equality and Proposing Solutions

Lily Partridge

Up until this point I had tried to be immersed and completely focused on the topic of gender equality and feminism as much as possible without really considering options for a design proposal as a response to the issue. Undertaking this brainstorming task with peers who were equally immersed in the same issue made this a lot more interesting and beneficial to my idea development. In the development of the issue statement to direct the brainstorming, I didn’t have a very succinct or specific explanation of my issue, and as a result of being quite broad, at the time my insights and possible solutions were quite bland.

Developing the problem statement by following the Who, What, When, Where, Why method was a really good way to better understand the issue and lead to some potential outcomes.  Repeating and elaborating on this process individually later though, I began to brainstorm some potential directions for tackling the issue in a more tapered and structured way around the topic of how online communities engage with feminism across social media.

Who Does the Problem Affect?

The issue of Gender Equality affects everyone, however not all in the same way or with the same level of pervasiveness. This can be specified further by considering those frequently engaging with social media and online communities, such as Reddit and Facebook. This audience consists predominantly of late teens to late thirty year olds as a rough estimate. Further still, whilst both sexes are affected by gender inequality, there are sub groups that equally affected but, again, have varying levels of action and engagement. These include men’s rights, anti-feminist movements, pro-feminist groups, LGBTIQ advocates, spiritual adherents, and simply the cultures of behaviour that pervade the different online platforms.

What Are the Boundaries of the Problem?

In the simplest of terms, gender inequality affects both men and women, and whilst traditionally this has been an issue tackled by the feminist movement, we are increasingly assessing the impact of excluding men from this discussion, the perpetuation of many double standards, social expectations and stereotypes that are outdated and sexist, and, attributing Feminism to a single sex.

When Does the Problem Occur? When Does it Need to be Fixed?

Gender inequality has been a element of our history from the very beginning. Actually considering the male role in the feminist movement has only arisen over the last few decades, and actions have been taken in an even shorter time frame. As social media has only existed as a key channel of communication for the last 15 years or so, it is only recently that groups have banded together online to share their views on the topic. Due to the nature of social media and the internet, the information and discussion around the problem has all increased tenfold by being able to interact with someone sharing your perspective who lives on the other side of the world. Communities are strengthened in numbers and accessibility and issues arise when opposing views are not able to respectfully debate the issue and work towards mutually agreeable solutions.

As for a deadline for action, there is not an overnight solution. Like racism and homophobia, it has taken generations before a mentality of respect is deeply and intrinsically ingrained in our society enough to speak out against hate. Ideally this is fixed sooner rather than later so we can begin embracing what different sexes have to offer without elitism or sexism.

Where is the problem occurring?

Specifically for social media, the problem is occurring amongst online communities with very subject mentalities towards the issue, and as the problem occurs across a spectrum that includes the impacts on men and women and the oppositions to both stances, each community’s culture of discourse and action makes collaboration and discussion difficult despite the extremely accessible platform for communication. Although for the purposes of this task I was focusing on online communities, the implications of the actions and worldviews formed by actively participating in these groups shapes wider aspects of our society, such as workplace interactions, legislation, social norms and taboos, and cross-cultural collaboration and discussion.

Why is it important that the problem is fixed? What impact does it have on all stakeholders?

In this case I would disagree with the term “fixed”. The status of our current society is a clear outcome of  developing “successfully” as a result of a patriarchal background. We are at a point now of reflection upon the impact of this history and considering how we need to change in order to function successfully in a future civilisation where no one is discriminated based on their sex and people are free to make personal decisions that are not shaped by expectations of their gender. I would say that the term “evolve” is more appropriate, as each generation is being equipped with a mentality to better adapt to the necessity for respect towards both gender that is becoming increasingly prevalent in society today.

5 Possible Outcomes

From the brainstorming process, these are three potential outcomes to address the problem statement.

1. Comparing Language of Women’s and Men’s Rights cultures
This would be better suited to subreddits with established extremist communities with their own opinions towards the other sex. I find these pro-single sex groups really interest and my proposal would be a generative visualisation map of the tone and language used across these different subreddits. For example, men’s rights groups, even when speaking matter-of-factly about women have a culture of speaking in very derogatory language about them within their posts and comments. It is really interesting to juxtapose these discourses and approaches to emphasise the lack of cohesiveness and promote action and discussion.

2. Map engagement levels across groups on the genre equality spectrum
Similarly to the previous proposal, this would be a more data based visualisation based on generative data. I propose a spectrum of gender equality with the single-sex extremists wings at either and and pure gender equality in the centre, similar to a political spectrum. Along this spectrum would be positioned various groups/pages/subreddits (dependent upon the social media platform) as columns of engagement, based on their stance towards equality. As people subscribe to these different groups or the topics ‘trend’, the columns would be affected, such as becoming higher or brighter to visualise where our weight on the issue, as a society, is actually sitting.

3. Juxtaposing messages of sexism or gender inequality
The goal of this proposal is to represent how ingrained in our society gender inequality is. This would work by matching two tweets, for example, with the same phrase relating to gender inequality, such as “I hate it that women…”, or “Why can’t boys…”. By comparing two separate statements it will ideally create small microcosm of the huge spectrum of areas that this issue encapsulates. Further, it would be really interesting to compare statements that are directly related to genders, to highlight the negative phrasing and language that is used against men and women on the internet.

4. Connect people from across the globe with similar perspectives and online interactions
Using the benefits of easy communication, I propose utilising a bot to track user location and posts by analysing key phrases and subscribed groups and using this data, connect the two people via either an existing or a new platform. This would be a really interesting way for individuals to gain a more informed understanding of the issue from a different cultural perspective.

5. Twitter-bot reply to anti-equality tweets
Using a method of data-scraping and automated posting (e.g. bots), sexist tweets that degrade either males or females would be automatically replied to with a message or link that calls our the sexism. Whilst this would definitely be met with a lot of confrontation I think it would be a really interesting way to help people realise that certain things that are said are in fact sexist or promoting gender inequality.

A Proposal

Hybrid Generative System and Data Visualisation: Juxtaposing Gender-specific Tweets

As contemporary society strives to achieve access to universal gender equality across all areas of life, it must be remembered that both males and females are affected by gender discrimination and movements towards fair outcomes. Gender equality ensures respect, acknowledgement and celebration of individuals and groups without prejudice or criticism.

Achieving equality doesn’t mean simply elevating rights of the oppressed to those of the oppressors, but to provide means for both genders to flourish regardless of sex in an equity-driven culture. Currently, movements towards gender equality are mostly focused upon females having the same rights that males currently uphold, and less focused upon identifying where men’s rights should rise to meet women’s. Due to a history of women’s oppression, as a modern society we are much more accepting of harsh public critique of men, an impact of relatively second-wave feminist propaganda, specifically present in online platforms. Contrastingly, criticism of women is viewed as discrimination and sexism, resulting in resentment and the exclusion of men in the equality discussion. This institutionalised and publicised perpetuation of double standards has lead to feminists gaining a negative stigma and reputation for being hypocritical and male-hating, and men feeling that they can not be open about feeling repressed the way that women are praised for.

The purpose of my proposal is to promote public awareness and reflection of the language and attitudes we frequently employ when discussing the other sex. The final design is a hybrid of a generative system and data visualisation, utilising a Twitter-bot to find, compare and display tweets on a screen-based platform. The process for this bot would be to cycle through a series of phrases directed at both females and males separately and compare them side-by-side, which would continuously update every 5-10 seconds to show a new phrase and tweet pair. By visually juxtaposing tweets that use the same phrasing relating to females and males respectively, the aim is to visualise the spectrum of attitudes and opinions that are expressed on this topic. I anticipate that the most evident display in this system would be the ingrained condemnation and hypo-criticism for one or both sexes, which continues to discourage mutually respectful outcomes.

An example of how this would work is shown in the mock up below (source A). In this case the algorithm has searched for the phrase “I love that women/men…” and have displayed two of the corresponding tweets in juxtaposition. As is evident in this example, the attitude and tone in each tweet are completely different, with the first applauding women for creating empowerment from their over-sexualisation, and the second sarcastically calling out men for sexual assault crimes reflected in a patriarchal judicial system. In this one example we can see how the public opinion on this topic is very disparaging of men whilst simultaneously praising the same actions performed by women.

Source A: Mock up of how the interface would look utilising the phrase “I love that women/men…” highlighting a double standard we uphold. Sourced from Twitter.

In a second example (source B), using the same process but with the phrase “I love that girls/guys…”, a completely different attitude towards specific genders is represented. It is interesting that these two examples praise actions that subvert traditional gender roles and thus provide an insight into how we are really embracing acts towards mutually beneficial gender equality. Further, by cycling through different words to describe males and females, a greater scope in opinions can be reached, as more colloquial tones tend to be used for praising, whilst formal vernacular is often linked with criticism. In this case referring to females and males as girls and guys creates a much more light-hearted tone and yields vastly different results to the previous example.

Source B: Utilising the phrase “I love that girls/guys…” showing praise for subverted stereotypes. Sourced from Twitter. 


As the twitter-bot would not be able to consistently and accurately identify the tone or angles used in either tweet in the pairing, this would reveal some really interesting comparisons. The table (source C) below highlights the combinations of tweets opinions and the result of the juxtaposition.

Source C: Table depicting what message is conveyed when juxtaposing tweets with different subjectivity.

The idyllic end goal is that as both individuals and wider society we become more aware of how we speak about the opposite sex, particularly on social media where as many as 50% of the users could be offended by a sexist generalisation that is the result of an ignorant interaction with a minority. This is the first step in extending the hand of respect that will take us one step further to embracing gender equality.

Post 9: Stop. Collaborate & Listen.

By Basilia Dulawan

Working collaboratively with two other students also working on Gender Equality, it was an interesting process having to explain the specific issue you wanted to explore within the broader issue of Gender Equality. The biggest strength of working collaboratively on brainstorming design ideas was that we had the opportunity to suggest, generate and build up someone else’s idea from fresh eyes. Additionally, being given the IDEO Brainstorm rules especially: Defer Judgement, was something new and when generating ideas for my own issue or for someone else’s I kept that in mind because I find I will judge the idea in my head and never write it down. What this process taught me was to write it down no matter what, filter and sort through later.

This was one of my first ideas, however I couldn’t find a way to connect it to a Data Visualisation, Generative System or Service Design. But using this as a starting point I was able to re-think what I was trying to communicate with that approach. 
While trying to brainstorm an idea for Service Design (while not completely understanding what it actual was), I started to list the areas ‘touch points’ that parents would frequent with their children. Initially my issue statement was about up-brining and the way in which we interact and develop our children, therefore I wanted thought the audience should be Parents. The issue here when discussing it with my tutor was that this was not the target audience. When I tried to brainstorm what were the touch points for 18-25 year olds, it was social media and outdoor posters/screens near train stations or universities.
An example of an idea I came up with that wasn’t great, but wrote down anyway. 


Input from one of the other students. One of the weaknesses of this process was having everyone understand your issue completely as we were only given a short amount of time before we begun brainstorming. Therefore, it maybe wasn’t as productive as it could have been. 
In between thinking of new ideas, when I would get stuck I would write down objects and places that the audience would use and visit. The strength in doing this was that it allowed me to keep the momentum going, and think about other areas/mediums I hadn’t previously considered. 


The second time I tried this method was at home, I grabbed some post-it notes and set the time for 15 minutes. I found that I was able to produce more ideas in that 15 minutes alone that I was when I had 15 minutes with the group. This could be because I’ve had more time to think about it, or also because I think it can be daunting to be given an big sheet of blank paper to fill up, so working on small post-it’s was less intimidating. I also feel that because I was alone doing this exercise I wasn’t worried about if other people understood my issue currently, or thinking about why they weren’t writing anything down.

This is what I came up with:


Clearly there is a strong presence of Data Visualisation ideas. This is definitely something I’m excited about exploring further and possibly even combining code+generative systems to create these Data Visualisations. 

When the roles were reversed and I was the one contributing to another’s design ideas, I treated it as if it were my own. I tried to think of as many ideas as possible and even building on what they had written down.

Post 8: It’s all in the language

By Basilia Dulawan

In this week’s session what I found most beneficial was being able to work individually on our own issue before brainstorming as a group for design possibilities. Going through each of the questions ‘Who does the problem affect?’, ‘What are the boundaries of the problem?’ and specifically ‘When + Where does the problem occur?’, made the design problem seem a lot clearer. Language was something that kept coming up in my answers to the questions, and that’s what I based the brainstorming of possibilities around.

The boundaries of the problem is representational – gender norms and stereotypes, and the language used.

Who does the problem affect?
Adolescent girls & boys particularly those going through puberty as this is their formative stage that influences their confidence, mindset and perspective.

What are the boundaries of the problem?
Boundaries are representations: Gender Norms and stereotypes as well as the particular language we use that can be skewed to one gender.

What if the problem was fixed?
Girls could feel as thought they really could do anything, additionally, once they transition into adult life, they would have less gender norms and stereotypes to influence their career choices. Additionally the perception of Boy and Men would also change and become more free and open.

Young girl’s lack of limitations in their mentality that they feel in their pre-pubescent stage, as well as their confidence, can therefore carry through to every stage of their life instead of dropping in puberty.

What if the problem wasn’t solved?
Society and the way girls loose confidence in their adolescent years, would just continue at the same rate as it is going now.

When does the problem occur?
During adolescence for girls, particularly through everyday interactions with adults, friends, parents and the language they use around and toward them.
i.e raising boys to be brave and girls to be proper, cautious and ladylike.

When does the problem need to be fixed?
Now ideally, but specifically in the early stages of primary school all the way through highschool. It requires education and awareness between young girls and boys – and even their parents.

Where is the problem occurring? 
At home, at school, in the media and entertainment, in the playground, in clothing stores, in books and in extra curricular activities.

Why is it important that the problem is fixed?
So that Women and Men have equal opportunity. So that Women feel just as empowered as men to do what they want. So that there is no or at least less pressure of how Men and Women should be.

Issue Statement

The root of Gender Inequality starts with the way we raise our boys and girls, particularly with the language we use when we address, encourage and treat them day-to-day. 

> Initially, I had forgotten about the target audience being 18-25, so this issue Statement was mainly targeting Parents, Teachers, Coaches – basically anyone who has an influence of the development of children. This issue is highlighted in this article and these case studies here and here.

[Amended] The root of Gender Inequality starts with language. The way in which we interact with men, women and children in our families, friendship circles and workplace – particularly with our choice of words we use to describe, compliment, encourage, or even put down, can be very different between each gender.

Five point summary of design possibilities:

  1. Create a generative system that looks at the language used when describing women and men on twitter. For example, every time the word ‘strong’ is used to describe a woman the size of the word is increased by 1pt, and more pink is added to it’s colour value, and if it were used to describe a male, more blue would be added to it’s colour value. In this way, we can identify the language which we have applied gender to, as well as language which isn’t separated or reserved for a specific gender. (Generative System/Data Visualisation)
  2. Inspired by the work of two Australian advertising executives Georgia Patch and Kiah Nicholas, who noticed that google’s definition for words like “housework” and “promiscuous” were only described as female “she was…” or “her mother…” and created a social movement on Instagram @redefineWomen #redefineWomen, I propose visualising the language used to describe women throughout history. I think it would draw out some insights in how the representation and perception of women has changed (hopefully), and possibly highlight how outdated these current definitions used by google are.  (Data Visualisation)redefinewomen
  3. Scraping social media such as Twitter on Instagram to generate data of three things:
    Men describing Women
    Women describing Women
    Women describing themselves
    Using this data I would create a visualisation of these words keeping into account how many times they were used and from which context (Men describe Women etc), and I’m not sure what the results would be, but based on this interview in which Taraji P. Henson says “When you [Women] embrace each other and you stick together, look at what these women [in ‘Hidden Figures’] were able to accomplish.”, I think what’s important to ask is ‘How are Women portraying themselves?’, ‘What language do Women choose to describe each other? Is it at all different to how Men describe Women?’. By visualising this, I think it would bring an awareness to Women that we need to support each other and to Men that it’s not ok to describe us in a sexist way – but in saying this, I could never be too sure that this is what the data would highlight. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to explore.
  4. Data visualisation of words associated with Gender Norms and Stereotypes as well as words that have been used outside of those ‘traditional’ terms. I think it would also be interesting to include the time/year in which these new words started to be used in relation to Women. The main thing here that it might show would be the progress we as a society is making in the perception of Women and their abilities.
  5. Researching influential Women throughout history and visualising the language used to describe them as well as the gender of the author who wrote the description. This would be another way in which we could see the progress society is making in the perception of Women and their abilities throughout history.


Draft Proposal 

Words are something we use everyday. When we speak to people physically or through the many possibilities of the internet, we use words the convey what we mean. But what if what we think we mean, isn’t actually our intention? Words are powerful. They carry meaning beyond their typical definition and through history, take on their own connotations. As history changes, how too have our words? The root of Gender Inequality began with the formation of traditions and gender roles, but what stems and supports it is language. The way in which we interact with men, women and children in our families, friendship circles and workplace – particularly with our choice of words we use to describe, compliment, encourage, or even put down, can shape the very people we interact with. That being said, I want to look at the language we use toward each gender and explore what words cross over and what words are more skewed toward one gender.

Therefore, considering the target audience of 18-25yr olds spend a lot of their time on social media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I propose that I create a generative system that uses data from a social media channel such as Twitter to bring insight into the words we use to describe males and females, in an attempt to understand in what ways Gender Inequality exists in our language. The generative system would be based on Twitter data that is generated over a 24hr period from users based in Australia or more narrowly, New South Wales, every time a word is used to describe a female or a male using the phrases “She/He is…” or “She/He was…”, the words at the end of the phrase will be plotted onto the generative screen. As certain words or phrases are repeated in the data, the word plotted with grow in size and opacity. Colour will be used to visualise what gender the word was used to describe – instead of using the typical pink and blue, I propose using alternative colour combinations such as purple and orange or pink and green. This is an important aspect of this generative system as it can really emphasise the results and possibly make these gendered words more clear.

With this approach it would be interesting to see what words are more commonly used to describe males as opposed to females and vice versa. With this focus on language, it could open up the conversation about the subtle yet impactful ways Gender Inequality exists in our society. One thing that I want to focus on in my design response is to be able to understand the human aspects of the data – this is something Jer Thorpe emphasises in his 2011 TED talk.




Redefine Women, 2016, Instagram, viewed 6 September 2016, <>.

Redefine Women, 2016, Instagram, viewed 6 September 2016, <>.

Redefine Women, 2016, Instagram, viewed 6 September 2016, <>.

The Hollywood Reporter 2016, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer “Power of Women Sticking Together” in ‘Hidden Figures’ | TIFF 2016, video recording, Youtube, viewed 10th September 2016, <>.

Post 7: Collaborative Issue Mapping

By Basilia Dulawan



While mapping the Polemic: Pay Gap and the emotions and motivations that come along with it (see first image), we realised how everything is connected. We felt it was important to map the emotions of Men as well as Women. Red lines were used to connect anything that refers to Women – they’re feelings and motivations, while the brown lines refer to Men. Although this is only a map of the Pay Gap, a lot of these emotions and motivations would also be used if mapping out the other polemics.

Resonant terms: Feminism, actually meaning Equality, but commonly misunderstood to mean man-hating or only women’s rights.


What was interesting here was the representation of women (top image) – words like ‘Bossy’, ‘Weak’, and ‘Timid’ and from the bottom image, the barriers that Women face. I would argue these barriers are influenced heavily or if not, due to the representation of Women.

During this issue mapping exercise, I worked collaboratively with Natalie and we had similar points of views, so while brainstorming and listing things we were able to bounce-off each other and build upon what one person was saying. At the same time, we also challenged each other particularly in the ‘Polemics, Emotions and Motivations’ map, while we would mainly be thinking from the perspective of a Woman, each time one of us would pull up on this and ask ‘What about the Men? What’s their view on this?’. Looking back, I think this was crucial for us to do to each other, as what I’m really learning from the course of my research is that, it is about Men as much as it’s about Women. And if we understand this, how much of our demographic (18-25yr olds), also know this to be the case? The lack of education, awareness and understanding is very much part of the problem that fuels the misunderstanding of the resonant term: Feminism and Gender Equality – which Jackson Katz highlights:

“This is also true, by the way, of the word “gender,” because a lot of people hear the word “gender” and they think it means “women.” So they think that gender issues is synonymous with women’s issues. There’s some confusion about the term gender.”

Therefore, this could be the design problem I try and find a design solution for. I think the possibilities for action to create change is to include Men into the conversation by changing the perspective of these terms: Feminism and Gender Equality – away from what people perceive them to be i.e Women only or Man hating, and toward what they actually mean – equal opportunity for all.




Katz, J. 2012, Violence against Women – It’s a Men’s Issue, Ted, New York, viewed 31/07/2016 <>.

Post 6: The Web is an honest place, it will call you out for your sexist remarks

When I initially scraped the web for data using Twitter Archiver, I had very general search rules like #GenderEquality and #LikeAGirl, and within a few minutes I had 10,000+ tweets which was completely overwhelming. Scrolling through some of the results a lot of it covered a broad range of the issue and many were re-tweets. My next search I narrowed it to tweets containing boys, girls, gender equality and/or the words feminine, masculine, masculinity, femininity, youth or adolescence. This search produced less results but because I had only had the search up for a few minutes the results were retweets.


Results of one of my twitter scrapings. It was interesting to look into the profile of the Twitter User who was being retweeted heavily. Additionally, some conditionals I used for this twitter search produced results I did not expect, like this one for example. 

Once I had gotten the hang of how Twitter Archiver works, I thought it would be interesting to see how people described or tweeted about Hillary Clinton in relation to her hair, makeup, and looks as this has been highlighted especially in the most recent Rio Olympics with female athletes. Then my next search I changed it to Donald Trump keeping the same words ‘hair’, ‘makeup’, ‘look’ and ‘pretty’. The results were not what I was expecting and once looking at the data and comparing the tweets from Hillary to Trump, there was no obvious patterns I noticed in how people tweet about the two.

My findings were:

  1. People take to twitter to call out sexist and minsogynst remarks made by people in the media – crucial actors in the issue of Gender Equality, and look to challenge their perspective. In this case, many criticised Donald Trump for saying that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have that ‘Presidential Look’ – which many pointed out was because she is a Woman, and all others before her were male.


  2. Looking specifically at the American presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, one of the main things that was highlighted in this scraping was the double standards that exist between the two, specifically with Hillary (which she speaks about in her latest Humans of New York interview), who the chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus told needs to ‘smile more’. The results revealed that people were not down for this comment which seems to only be used toward women. 


  3. Many people followed up their tweets to links to reputable articles from The Huffington Post, the New York Times and Think Progress. This was actually very beneficial for me as I found some interesting articles about Gender Equality throughout the presidential campaign.
  4. Using conditional formatting in google sheets, I was able to sort my results by each word I added in the search rule. It produced the following results:Trump: 9pgs of results for ‘hair’, 1/4 pg of results for makeup, 2pgs of results for Presidential Look

    Hillary: 5pgs of results for hair, 1/2pg of results for makeup, 24pgs of results for Presidential Look

  5. While looking at the tweets it was obvious who was a Trump or Hillary supporter, and in a lot of the tweets I highlighted, I was able to find influential stakeholders/accounts for each candidate. This could be very useful in finding and understanding crucial stakeholders for the demographic 18-25 for my design proposal.

Additionally, I learnt that search rules should be run over the course of a few days or at least a few hours. Because I only had the free version of Twitter Archiver I could only run one rule at a time, and as I wanted to compare the data as soon as possible, I only let the search run for 5 minutes. Therefore it generated results from the time that I started the search rule, up until two days prior to it. However, if I had left it over the course of a few hours it would search once per hour.


Rampell, C. ‘How Hillary Clinton can get that ‘presidential look’ thank you, .’ Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 10 September 2016, <;.

Ruberry, E. ‘”Smile more! Be more upbeat!” Hillary Clinton is running for President, not Miss America.’ Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 10 September 2016, <;.

Ryan, E. ‘Imagine being an adult in 2016 and still not knowing how obnoxious women find it when you tell women they should smile’ Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 10 September 2016, <;.


Understanding the connections: gender equality is deeply rooted in everything.

Whilst I was absent for the group mapping session, I was able to gain insights from other class members filling me in, and recreating the maps they made together in class. The thing that struck me the most was the general ease in mapping and making connections in comparison to the first mapping task. It pointed out the huge gap in knowledge that has been filled through collaborative research and discussion, and it was much easier to gain an understanding of how different people play roles within the issue.


(Meacock 2016)

The first map is the stakeholder’s within the issue. The previous stakeholder’s map was reasonably difficult to fill the space and was all over the place and unorganized. With the additional knowledge it was easy to break down the stakeholders into succinct subcategories that covered all areas. The biggest difference I can point out in the ‘human’ section is that categories and sections have become un-gendered. The last stakeholder map pulled apart men and women and the stereotypical differences between who would effect them, however this version manages to cover all bases without gendering. I think there is accuracy with how large the media section is and I feel as though media plays an enormous role as it infiltrates information to the public. I found the coverage of video games particularly interesting as there are such a large amount of extremely sexist video games –as the times stated; “In some games, you can even have your character pay a woman for sex and then kill her, if you are so inclined.” (Sifferlin 2016) This is having a huge impact on players, particularly young men – “They found that boys who played the games containing sexism and violence were more likely to identify with the character they were playing. They also reported less empathy toward the images of female victims.” (Sifferlin 2016) I previously hadn’t considered video games as a part of the media; but was incredibly intrigued to find out more and absolutely appalled when I did. Whilst it is only a game, what kind of messages are we sending – particularly as a huge sector of players are young boys! (Sorry for the tangent…)


(Meacock 2016)

The second map was considering the controversies, emotions and motives. I found this mapping process particularly helpful to step inside the shoes of someone else and completely unpick and understand their perspective. I think it’s important to question and try to understand different perspectives of the issue (i.e. not identifying publically as a feminist) in order to induce change around the issue (i.e. making it a comfortable experience to identify as a feminist and cleansing the stigma that comes with it).


(Meacock 2016)

The third map explored the connections between human and non human stakeholders within “reluctance to identify with the term feminism.” This map proved how far my knowledge has come within the topic as there is no way I would’ve been able to identify and connect the stakeholders in an in-depth way like this. Whilst this map could be extended on (and probably go forever) I think it was a really valuable learning curve in that it made me realized that each issue and each approach to change will not only effect the intended audience, but will have a knock on effect to several other human and non-human stakeholders that may not be immediately obvious.


(Meacock 2016)

The final map is an exploration of a particular non-human element exploring the different issues and challenges, capacities, associates, politics, value alignment and hierarchies associated with this element. This map focuses on clothing and by breaking it down into these categories, we were able to understand all the different aspects and influences it has on the issue within society. We covered how traditions and gender norms influence a way of thinking about clothing; and how this infiltrates into common situations and effects how people are viewed. We also covered the influences of religion, individualism and freedom of choice. The most interesting topic unveiled was the ‘excuse’ of sexual assault being provoked by a woman’s representation of herself. With the treatment of peers and social media (due to the ways of thinking in society) it doesn’t really seem surprising that defenders of sex offenders see it as justifiable to blame a woman’s attire as inviting or ‘asking for it’. This is in dire need of change, and whilst it has started to; it is crucial that we remove stigmas and stereotypes and reinforce that; no matter what someone’s wearing it is not okay to sexually assault someone – ever.


This mapping exercise has underlined that this issue is massive, with so many connecting elements and influencing factors. In order to truly achieve gender equality, empowerment of both sexes, and freedom of individuality there needs to be a collective shift and a large community involvement as there are so many intrinsic connections and knock on effects to seemingly unrelated areas.


Meacock, L. 2016, Mapping Exercises, University of Technology Sydney, .

Sifferlin, A. 2016, Here’s What Sexist Video Games Do to Boys’ Brains, Time, viewed 7 September 2016, <>.

Post 7 – (Re)Injecting Polemics and Opinions in the Feminism Debate


Reflecting upon the mapping task from week 3 with the mapping undertaken just two weeks later, it is amazing how much more informed and inspired I was on the topic of gender equality through the variety of research tasks undertaken between the two. In this first mapping exercise in week 5, my group and I elaborated upon the maps that we developed back in week 3. Although the week 3 map was relatively thorough, there were still a lot of areas that we had wanted to investigate further, and so we chose to elaborate on the media as this is a prominent and highly influential actor in the gender equality discussion.

word mapping (1).jpg
Source 1: First Mapping task focusing the media as an actor/stakeholder in the gender equality discussion (2016).

In this elaborated map, shown in source 1, we drew out some key areas that were hot spots for contemporary feminist communication channels. These were:

  1. Social Media: specifically focusing on online campaigns and projects such as #HeForShe, This is What a Feminist Looks Like, and the Lonely Label that designs lingerie to empower and celebrate women’s bodies combined with the Lonely Girls Project.
  2. Television: expanding upon the roles that women undertake in dramas and action series’ as well as journalism and news. The ABC was a big topic of conversation, specifically for their interest in gender politics and well informed social commentaries.
  3. Podcasts and Blogs: a key communication channel that is utilised by a lot of prominent feminists to share their opinions. Personally I didn’t have a strong insight into feminist podcasts and blogs, however working with other classmates that subscribed and followed avidly helped me to fill the gaps in my knowledge here.
  4. Books and Publications: considering the published works of well informed stakeholders and key individuals to support or contradict the somewhat more subjective stances of individuals on other platforms.
  5. The Role of Individuals: in any discussion, prominent human stakeholders or icons are key in shaping the opinions of the general public through their publicised opinions and actions. The main Feminists that we identified as active in the media sphere included Lena Dunham, Leigh Sales, Prince Harry and Justin Trudeau. These individuals represent the feminist discourse across different areas, widening the impact and relevance of the issue and helping to provide role models for the public to follow.


Following this initial map we developed a list of more specific areas from feminist polemics, shown below in source 2. Whilst most of these were not unfamiliar to me due to my exposure to the controversies through both research and personal experience, this was a good opportunity to revisit some topics that I hadn’t been investigating much over the last couple of weeks. Men identifying as feminists has been the main focus of my recent research in this social issue, however connected with this was the general tension around labelling oneself and/or others as feminists. This particular polemic was the most interesting in our group so we chose to develop it further in another mapping exercise. 

word mapping (3)
Source 2: Polemics List identifying controversial topics around and within Feminism (2016).


Elaborating on the topic of “Reluctance to Identify with the term ‘Feminist’”, we drew out a range of different mitigating factors and emotions that drove people to respond to this debate in various ways as a map shown in source 3. After identifying these different elements, including the use of Feminist identification as a political strategy to the cynical connotations associated with iconic feminists, we realised that there were two main sides to this polemic issue: “empowerment” or “ignorance”. Grouping our findings, the “empowerment” factors highlighted that people openly identifying with feminism were doing so out of passion, courage, following key popular culture icons such as Emma Watson and Beyonce, or out of a desire to identify with the feminist community. Comparatively, the “ignorance” and reluctance to identify with feminism included issues of discomfort, misunderstanding, fears of being perceived as radical, man-hating or masculine, negativity towards second wave feminists, or a sense of disconnection as a male. It was really interesting delving into this controversial topic as it is a very subjective and divisive dichotomy within Feminism and Gender Equality discussions. Undertaking this mapping task as a group of like-minded women with similar stances on Feminism, this was always going to be a somewhat biased map with estimations of the emotional stances in the “ignorance” category, however it was a good opportunity to reflect on the wider perceptions of the issue and empathise with how other actors are influenced by the ongoing discussion.

mapping (3)
Source 3: Elaborating on the polemic of reluctance to identify with the term ‘Feminists’ from the polemics list (2016).


With a topic as broad and ever-changing as Feminism, it is nearly impossible to empathise with every perspective on the spectrum of engagement, from ignorance to empowerment. Further, reaching informed outcomes and delving deeper into the issue is always subjective as one person can only contribute data and opinions drawn from their personal interaction with the subject. Having the opportunity to co-create maps increases the credibility, authenticity and objectivity of the findings as the pool of personal experience and public knowledge increases exponentially with each additional contributor. Working within my group, my peers had been investigating different avenues within Gender Equality and their knowledge has introduced new avenues of data to navigate.

Considering Bruno Latour’s redefinition of the process of issue mapping in his book: Reassembling the Social (2005), I can easily draw the link between his redefinition of the researcher as a “tracer of associations” to the outcomes of this process. Of investigating polemic issues as an analyst, Latour states: “the best solution is to trace connections between the controversies themselves rather than try to decide how to settle any controversy“ (2005, p.23). This is particularly relevant to our third map, as by ensuring an open and objective mind we were able to gain a deeper understanding of the issue without projecting assumptions that would prevent meaningful insights to be achieved. Mapping the actors/agents within the complex system of gender equality meant taking a step backwards from the single angles through which I had been approaching this issue. As with any analysis of a complex issue, identifying the key stakeholders that are the most influential and create systemic impact results in a much more informed research method. As I identified in my fifth blog post, I always have more to learn, and even the most informed still have a lot to learn. As such, any opportunity to co-create and share ideas on a topic fosters a wider, more educated public discussions, which is significantly more likely to yield respectful and empathetic discussions and positive outcomes and solutions.

by Lily Partridge

*Subheadings reflect the labelling of the movement of stakeholders/actors within the social context, as identified by Latour (2005, pp.4-5) described by Rogers, Sánchez-Querubín and Kil (2015).


Latour, B., 2005, ‘Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network-theory’, Oxford University Press, pp. 4-5, 23, viewed 5 September 2016, accessed at: <;.

Rogers, R., Sánchez-Querubín, N., and Kil, A., 2015, ‘Mapping Theory: Social cartography, risk cartography and critical neo-cartography’, Issue Mapping for an Ageing Europe, OAPEN, p.16 .


Scraping twitter for data

Twitter is a social media platform designed around the central feature of sharing 140 character posts with followers, while also following other users in order to receive their posts in a simple easy to digest feed.This functionality has lead to Twitter becoming of the most active discussion based communities on the web, where users cluster around issues and hashtags while also interacting with organisations and news content.

The important difference between Twitter and other social platforms is the circles and connections around issues rather than social circles or friendship groups. This leads to far more vigorous discussion of issues and more interaction with news content and news organisations.This is also seen in how users select who to follow, with many using their twitter feeds as a personally curated news source contributed to by any number of organisations or individuals they are interested in.

This is also one of the most popular tools for interaction between celebrities and other high profile figures and their fans, and the platform has often gathered negative attention due to attacks on high profile figures in the potentially anonymous environment. (Twitter 2016)


In my twitter web scraping, I set myself the goal to find data relating to parental leave for fathers, or paternity leave in Australia. The first search I was able to retrieve data with was based on the search rule:

> paternity OR leave OR feminism OR fathers OR gender OR equality #genderequality

This generated in 2791 tweets over a two week period. The tweets from this search was not specific to Australia, and only a few of them included the words paternity leave. Out of these tweets only 3 had the word ‘paternity’ in it – and none regarding Australia.

Twitter Advanced Search (Ahlstrom 2016)

I attempted a few searches before in purpose to collect data much more specific to Australia. I experimented with words like: parental leave, fathers, #genderequality etc. These area specific searches gave me no results, so I decided to continue with global twitter searches, but more channeled towards parental leave:

> fathers parental OR leave OR gender OR equality

This generated in 891 tweets. Again I tried to specify this search to only Australia but this gave no result. There were tweets within the successful search which were from Australia, so I became unsure if I was conducting the area search correctly. I tried a more concise search with the rule:

> parental #genderequality

This generated in only 18 tweets, where one tweet had been retweeted over the last couple of weeks:

Tweet by Empower Women (2016)

I explored the #IAmParent campaign which is an initiative from UN Women with basis in the Empower Women organisation. The campaign is a bit more specific to the current situation and urge for change in the US where there is zero federal financial support for mothers and fathers – which also was fact in Australia before 2011 (Department of Social Services 2016).

I am Parent Campaign by Empower Women (2016)


Most of the tweets I found that related to my topic had basis in the United States or India, and I realised a large part of them related to fathers day. I did a last attempt to scrape for more relevant data, with a search rule which excluded tweets addressing the debate in India, as well as most tweets relating to fathers day:

> fathers paternity OR parental OR australia -YNoLeave4Papa -India -day

This definitely resulted in a scraping more relating to my issue, and I found a few interesting accounts worth exploring.

(Fathers 4 Equality 2013)

The search led me to an organisation under the name Fathers4Equality (2013). A lot of the content created by this user related to laws regarding custody and divorce, and family in the event of separation between parents. It is definitely an organisation worth investigating to see how they position themselves with paternity leave and in what areas they experience difficulties.

Flow chart of automated task (Ahlstrom 2016)

It would be very interesting to see a visualisation of this data showing the gender split of people who are active around these topics. I was seeing a larger representation of men than I presumed and due to the nature of the medium perhaps views and opinions are expressed truer on Twitter.

Learning Outcome

  • Twitter is a powerful tool for realtime collection of opinions across a number of issues and from a huge variety of perspectives.
  • Successful scraping and collection of this data relies on having a clear understanding of the key terms of your issue and trial and error relating to queries.
  • The data scraped showed a wide variety of opinions from across the globe and a surprisingly high number of male voices, which tends to be different in the main stream media debate.
  • Twitter users tended to gravitate to either extreme in their opinions rather than representing a balanced point of view.
  • Twitter also allows users to present views and positions that may represent a small minority and therefore would not be otherwise seen in the media.
By Camilla Ahlström

Department of Social Services 2016, Paid Parental Leave Scheme, Australian Government, viewed 5 September 2016, <>
Empower Women 2016, I am Parent Campaign, viewed 6 September 2016, <>
Empower Women 2016, ‘These countries have the best parental leave policies in the world’, Twitter post, 28 August, viewed 5 September 2016, <>
Fathers 4 Equality 2013, Fathers 4 Equality Australia, viewed 5 September 2016 <>
Twitter 2016, Twitter Inc, viewed 6 September, <>

Post 6 – The Community on the Internet: Have you ‘Reddit’?

Welcome to Reddit

When it comes to sourcing a diverse spectrum of opinions on gender equality, look no further than the internet. There are many social media sources that allow users to post, share, vent and interact with others on the internet, and so I chose to investigate Reddit, an online social media community that is dubbed “the front page of the internet”, covering all these features and more (O’Gara, 2013). Sharing content is a key component of Reddit, whether it be articles, images, reviews, opinions, stories, or simply commenting on other people’s posts, and this enables other users, or “redditors”, to engage with the most popular and interesting content from across the internet. With a reputation as a channel with some heavily opinionated content on an incredibly diverse range of topics from all corners of the web, I wanted to expand and deepen my understanding of gender equality through exposure to some unique perspectives on the issue of gender equality and males.

The Unique Nature of Redditors

An interesting feature of Reddit is the democratic way in which redditors interact with the platform. Although redditors are free to post at will, the spread of content is controlled via up or down voting on posts and comments, bringing popular content to the ‘Front Page’. Further, within Reddit are hundreds of thousands of “subreddits”, which are more specific communities established around topics of interest. These subreddits, denoted as /r/NAME, are often governed by guidelines set by “moderators” who establish and control the subreddit, require subscribers to read the rules before posting (for example refer to source 1, showing the guidelines for The Red Pill subreddit). Due to the anonymity of Reddit, opposed to platforms such Facebook or Instagram, opinions tend to be more open and honest, but can also lead to very heated debates and arguments. Statistically, the Reddit community has a male to female ratio of 2:1, with 18-29 year old males representing the largest and most active demographic.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 2.19.40 PM
Source 1: The Red Pill, 2016. Outline and rules for The Red Pill subreddit. Subreddits often outline the guidelines for users that allows for relative mediation across the posts.

Scraping Reddit

As a foreigner to this platform, I began by understanding the interaction hierarchy of Reddit. As represented in the flowchart in source 2, I began by searching for subreddits under the broad terms of “feminism”, “gender equality” and “feminism men”. I was looking in particular for posts that challenged my own opinions of this topic, however I maintained consistency in my process restrictions to ensure validity in my findings. Upon searching these terms, I was inundated by a range of subreddits that represented different stances on the issues. Considering the top 3 subreddits from each search term I then narrowed my search into the most subscribed under each topic. Investigating each subreddit, I again refined the search to posts listed under the “controversial” label that were posted in the last week, and then ordered them by popularity of engagement. From here I began reading the top posts and discussion threads for each. The main shortcomings of this refinement process are that I only get exposed to a relatively minuscule slice of the huge expanse of posts on these topics. This said, trying to analyse quantity over quality within Reddit would be ineffective, never ending, and far too difficult to draw singular conclusions due to the uniquely subjective nature of the posts.

Reddit Flow Chart
Source 2: Lily Partridge, 2016. Flow chart of refining my data scraping process from the Reddit home page to recent, ‘top’ articles within three popular subreddits.

A Tone of Surprise

The spectrum of opinions on gender equality ranged hugely in the data that I investigated, however I was most intrigued by one’s focusing on anti-feminism and men’s rights. Although I can only speculate at the gender of the redditors posting and interacting with the comments, I found that the top posts in the subreddits explored relatively controversial issues, usually with a focus on sex or a critique of women. The vernacular used when referring to women by presumably male redditors is almost consistently derogatory and within certain subreddits is condoned. One such post in /r/TheRedPill about an experience with an escort, a sample shown in source 3, one redditor comments that “all women are whores”, and despite a clear and logical explanation, the language and tone discourage an equal mentality (full comment and reply shown in source 4). Even the name of subreddit ‘Pussy Pass Denied’ is extremely offensive to women, with it’s description as “[a place] where women are not allowed to use their gender as a handicap or an excuse to act like assholes” (Mustaka, 2014). Although also stating “no misogynists”, the tone and stance creates a division that begins to separate women from the discussion, despite the overarching goal being for total gender equality. Comparatively, analysing the popular posts on /r/Feminism, there is a more driven tone towards equality, perhaps due to the guidelines disallowing sexism, classism, homophobia, etc. A popular upvoted post in this subreddit is an image calling out the UBC for ignoring sexual assault, shown in source 5, highlighting the difference in tone between the different subreddits.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 6.40.49 PM
Source 3: ‘Yamato 403’, 2016. Heading and excerpt from a post within The Red Pill subreddit. Although only posted within a couple of days, it already has a high popularity rating (726 votes) and many comments and replies.
Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 9.13.44 PM
Source 4: A comment and reply on Yamato403’s post. ‘LongtimeRPLurker’ begins with a misogynistic tone, only to continue to rationalise his stance (presumed male, sex unknown).
Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 9.22.26 PM
Source 5: ‘Danachos’, 2016. Image via Imgur showing how UBC students are actively calling out the university on sexual assault ignorance. The tone of the image and text is noticeably less pointed than that of the other subreddits.

Considering how different the tones and expression of opinion are across these subreddits, one could argue that this is a result of the guidelines or interests of the subscribers and that this isn’t a fair representation. However, as the analysis represents the most popular opinions across each subreddit, it is worth questioning the notions and mentalities of the people willingly expressing their ideas on the internet and how strong opinions influence those of other people.

Mapping Reddit Posts

As mentioned, considering Reddit posts in terms of quantity to then express them in a data visualisation form would be extremely difficult and subjective, however utilising the algorithms put in place by Reddit to determine the popularity of posts could be something worth tapping into. An interesting visualisation could be representing on a global map the locations of heavily engaged subscribers to gender equality subreddits with use of a colour spectrum to determine stance on the issue. On a much smaller scale, analysing the language of a single post and overlaying maps of the percentage of derogatory, biased and/or informed information from different subreddits; an example sketch of this mapping is shown in source 6. This kind of mapping could be really interesting to compare how controversial issues are voiced  and supported by different perspectives, although this kind of mapping is heavily interpretational and would have to be supported by a very wide analysis to show an accurate representation.

FullSizeRender (2)
Source 6: Lily Partridge, 2016. Data visualisation concept involving overlaying mapping the progression of tone in pro- and anti- feminist posts within subreddits. N.b. Resemblance to existing posts is coincidental.

Summary of Findings

  1. There was a significant amount more engagement with subreddits that focused on men’s rights and men’s liberation. A plausible reason for this could be the much higher ratio of male to female (2:1) redditors and therefore increased users likely to relate to and engage with these topics.
  2. I was fascinated by the rules and guidelines that govern subreddits. This completely altered my perception of online discussion forums, where I ignorantly imagined I would find unstructured pages of arguments and rants by anonymous members of patriarchal societies. I am happy to admit that I was wrong.
  3. Despite rules disallowing misogynists in certain pro-men’s right’s subreddits, the language used by a lot of presumably male redditors towards women uses a lot of derogatory and offensive language, despite the tone being generally matter-of-fact and content being relatively well-informed. There is an intrinsic culture in these subreddit communities that condone this mentality and discourse around women. To what extent this is hindering or encouraging gender equality I do not know at this point.
  4. The tone, vernacular and engagement of posts within popular pro-feminist subreddits were completely different to their male counterparts, with a greater emphasis on empowering women, calling out injustice and oppression of women by both individuals and institutions. Contrastingly, the tone was more critical than derogatory towards opposing perceptions, perhaps as the mentality of these subscribers to strive for equality as opposed to the scathing perspective of privileged.
  5. Analysing this data is so expansive and due to the nature of Reddit, let alone the wider internet, is infinite as new posts are being uploaded every second. Although I was as consistent in my process as I could be, and ended up with a lot of content to look through in the few posts I had whittled my selection down to, I felt that so many interesting opinions, posts, and subreddits were lost in the process. I would love to analyse further the locations and population densities of redditors, or the demographic make up of specific subreddits, however due to the anonymity and privacy restrictions of Reddit this would be a really big challenge.

by Lily Partridge


O’Gara, J., 2013, ‘Reddit 101: a beginner’s guide to the front page of the internet,’ Digital Trends, viewed 5 September 2016, accessed at: <;.

Reddit posts and image sources:

‘Yamato403’, 3 September 2016, ‘I went to a highclass escort and thought I’d share some details with you’, /r/The Red Pill, Reddit, viewed 5 September 2016, accessed at:  <;.

‘danachos’, 3 September 2016, ‘University of British Columbia’s student society throwing some much needed shade at the start of the school year’, /r/Feminism, Reddit, viewed 5 September 2016, accessed via imgur at: <;.

‘Mustaka’, 2014, /r/PussyPassDenied, Reddit, viewed 5 September 2016, accessed at: <;.

Post 5: Ethnography, discovering the unexpected

By Basilia Dulawan


Alya H.


As I identified one of the main stakeholders in the stakeholder map to be media, I wanted my interviewee to take photos and screenshots of how women are portrayed in media in whatever she came across i.e billboards, posters, ADs, Instagram, Facebook posts or headlines etc.

Once she had documented this over 3 days, I asked if she could sort them out in what she thinks is an empowering/positive portrayal and a Negative/degrading portrayal of Women.


“I noticed that women in my social media were not portrayed in distinctive ways. It was pretty negative. Mostly just women in bikinis, sexual objects kind of thing and just on the Instagram like stereotypes about us eating salad and crap. Even the fashion shoot…super sexualised. I didn’t see any like empowering posts or anything.”

Instagram: Izi Simundic

Instagram bio reads:
LONDON Blog: Editor of @the_editorialist • • THEEDITORIALIST.COM.AU

Babe, The Tab. 
Instagram: Windsor Smith 
YouTube + Facebook: Alan Tsibulya
Instagram: Nympha London

What I found from the results of my probe was that the main source of exposure of the portrayal of Women is in social media, specifically Instagram. My participant not only followed individuals but also Australian stores such as Windsor Smith which she interestingly included a quote that they posted on their Instagram account. A lot of the things I noticed was that the portrayal of Women, which Alya points out, had a lot to do with food and body image – something I was not expecting to realise/find.

I think next time I would set a more specific task for example: Here is a polaroid camera, a marker, a small notebook and some sticky tape, I would like you to bring this around with you for today wherever you go. As you go along your day, please take a photo whenever you see Women displayed or referenced on ADs, Magazine stands, TV, Social Media etc. Stick these into the notebook provided and included where you were, what time it was, what you saw and how you thought the Women were portrayed. Additionally, was there any language used to accompany the visuals? If so, what did it say?

The task wasn’t overly successful in providing numerous and varying insights in the portrayal of Women in the media, but I do think I gained some insight into how a young woman perceives Women portrayed in media – something that I wasn’t expecting to get out from this probe.

Next time, I would also ask 3-4 females from different age groups.

Additionally, what I did find beneficial for my ethnography was the semi-structured interviews. Before the interviews I had 4 questions prepared:

  1. What do you think the word “Feminist” means?
  2. How do you feel when you hear the word “Feminism”?
  3. As a Man/Woman, do you feel pressured to act a certain way – follow a certain career path?
  4. Is there anything you feel you can’t do because you are a woman?

I found this created a good foundation that allowed the conversation to develop naturally.

Overall she had positive associations with the word Feminism and said it just means that everyone is equal – which I agree with. I think it was good to start off with this question as it definitely set the tone and helped me understand how she understood the issue of Gender Equality. She also explained that she had always held this view of the word feminism, but understood that not everyone understands it to mean equality. Alya points out that a huge factor to the term being misunderstood is education, upbringing and where you were born. It’s important to note that she was brought up in a very open-minded community (the inner west), and raised with the belief that men and women aren’t different which her parents live out. She says with her parents there is no distinction between who does the cooking, cleaning or housework.

When it comes to feeling pressured to act a certain way, she has never felt pressured, but has received negative reactions from others when she vocalised that being a mother and having children is never something she really wants to do and that her career comes first. A lot of the time people say “Oh you’ll change, you’ll get that motherly instinct” as if it’s something that as a woman, you need to get. Additionally other people say “Well you can do both” as in a career and have kids, but Alya’s perspective is that you can’t, not if you want to be at the top of your career and if you did both you could do a mediocre job of both, but she would rather do a great job at just one – her career.

On another note one of the insights I found when I spoke to Alya was that Women in a corporate world such as Alya’s mum – a lawyer, dress in a certain, professional way to be heard. When Alya questioned why her mum wore heels to work when she had bunions and sore feet, her mum explained that as a small woman, she needed to have that extra height to command authority and be heard, it was about dominance physically.



In summary I found:

  1. You can’t anticipate what you will discover
  2. Active listening and not interrupting your participant is very important, especially during the semi-structured interviews
  3. Providing a more specific probe task for the participant with physical tools/materials may improve the depth of results and insights found
  4. Social Media is one of the most important/relevant sources of media in the portrayal of Women
  5. Women are portrayed in not necessarily a positive or negative way, but are definitely portrayed in reference to their body image and food choices.

Post 5 -Ethnographic Insights: A Man’s Take on Feminism

Lily Partridge

Prior to the Interview

In the initial stages of developing the questions for my interview, it became very apparent that the direction of the interview and the phrasing and selection of my questions would rely very heavily upon the interviewee I was paired with. Being a relatively well-informed Western female, I had to be cautious of a number of personal factors and ignorant assumptions that could heavily skew the outcome of my interview, including the presumption that my interviewee would share a similar stance on gender equality to my own. It wasn’t until I began considering questions and strategies that I realised that in my quest for gender equality I had failed to recognise the extremely diverse pool of knowledge and experience I was dipping into for this task. A strategy that was developed for a potential male candidate involved probing them to recognise their naivety as a man, however this assumed that they were ignorant. Questions surrounding a woman’s stance on feminism inferred that they should feel passionate for their own rights.
Avoiding bringing up the term feminism until well into the interview presumed that the interviewee felt uncomfortable with the stigma, therefore unintentionally perpetuating the negativity surrounding labelling of oneself as a feminist.

In the end I was grouped with two males: Tristan and Keegan, aged in their early 20s, which was an interesting turn of events for me. I was really interested to see what their stance would be on the role of males in feminism, whether or not they engaged with this, and why or why not. I also wanted to gain an insight into the male perspective of feminism and whether there was a significant barrier that they felt prevented them from being supportive in this social issue, based on the attitudes of ‘man-hating’ that is often incorrectly associated with feminists.

The Probe Task

At this point in my investigation into the topic, I was less interested in statistics, reports or movements around feminism, but more focused on the day-to-day experiences that resulted from gender inequality. Therefore, my probe task to Tristan, my partner at this point, was to ask him to record for 5 days any interactions or incidences he experienced with gender equality/feminism. This could have included witnessing someone else experiencing it, personally feeling the impact, or seeing the topic on social media or in the news. Although it was broad and a little vague, I didn’t want to assume that he was aware of the presence of gender equality in society, or even to assume that he knew that males were affected by gender inequality too. More than anything it was a task to get him thinking about the topic prior to the interview, in which we were able to discuss the findings in conjunction with the questions I had prepared.

“The term ‘feminism’ attaches a gender to the equality movement that discourages men from labelling themselves as feminists.”

– Tristan

Insights and Realisations

1. There’s not much “feminism”.

In the initial discussion about the probe task, Tristan identified that he didn’t really see that much “feminism” around his life. He spoke about how in different interactions he had, i.e. commuting, uni, work, he didn’t really witness that many obvious cases of feminism. I was careful to phrase the question as ‘gender inequalities’ at this point to see whether he would identify any male discrimination, however he only discussed the experiences of woman. It is interesting that due to the history of feminism and seeking equality we are so accustomed to seeing this as a “women’s” issue that we fail to recognise the influence and impact of men as well. Perhaps this comes back to issues of men being seen as weak or sensitive, and thus unlikely to vocalise their experiences of prejudice. Initially I was surprised as I (strangely) imagined that there would be a lot to discuss here. However, reflecting on my own social interactions, experiencing gender inequality isn’t something that I can often pinpoint or label as “sexism!”, but that it is more of a general feeling or atmosphere. I’d also suggest that this is a case of blind privilege, in that as a male, most inequality isn’t acknowledged simply because of a lack of knowledge, awareness and opportunities to empathise with women.

2. Complying with voyeurs in a patriarchal society

Tristan explained that his sister, Amy, is a ‘cyber feminist’, a term I had never heard before that recognises contemporary feminists with an interest in the web and technology for communicating and understanding feminism. He relayed a story from Amy, who is 5’3” with shaved hair on the side of her head and a dark, ‘tough’ style, of her experience of getting onto a bus to find older men give her shocked judging looks because of her appearance. The mentality was that because she is not traditional “eye-candy”, to use Tristan’s expression, the men felt uncomfortable staring at her the way they would normally stare at less alternative women in the same situation. Tristan’s explanation was that these men often think that they have a right to stare if a woman is attractive, and that it is almost an offence to them if a woman does not comply with what they would be comfortable to gaze at. This is a very simple example of the influence of a patriarchal society, and early expressions of the mentality that women who dress a certain way are “asking for it”.

3. A Physical Difference

After discussing the probe findings further, Tristan identified that he did witness a lot of gender division at the gym, more specifically the weights versus the cardio zones. What he identified as a “natural separation” between the genders occurs probably due to the nature of the exercises. From what he has witnessed, when a female enters the weights zone it is like a “rite of passage” where she is “observed” by the men in the area, as though she has to “earn” the right to be there through strength, technique and stamina. On the other hand, the men in the cardio section are often older and/or not as muscular as those in the weights area. Similarly, Tristan retold an experience he had recently had outside a club, in which a female friend had prevented a fight between himself and another man by standing between them. In this scenario the other man had said he would not hit a woman, and Tristan identified that this came down to a “physical psyche” where women are not seen as physical threats to men. Whilst initially I would have said that this was more of a considerate move, our discussion lead me to understand that in the physical sphere, men rarely see women as their equal, whether at a club or in the gym. Although this may not seem significant, when considering the extreme cases of domestic violence against women, lack of support towards women’s sport, or even the judgemental stares at the gym, these little differences continue to perpetuate inequality in our society.  

4. Males with good intentions can perpetuate the problem.

Discussing the topic with both Tristan and Keegan towards the end of the interview, I asked them how they felt about their own position in the gender equality discussion. They both openly stated that they were feminists, simply because in their eyes there was no reason not to be, and that the opposite would be being sexist. Along with this, they identified that for men there was a reluctance to get involved in the feminist movement because of the stigma of men resulting from the second wave feminist mentality. As Keegan explained, he felt restrained and criticised in trying to stand up for women knowing that traditionally people listen more to men and that he is therefore perpetuating the problem but not allowing women to stand up for themselves. Tristan described further than feminism attaches a gender to the equality movement that disconnects men from wanting to label themselves as feminists. This creates a void between sexism and feminism filled with people wanting to identify with gender equality but not feeling comfortable characterising themselves with an unestablished term.

5. Even the informed have lots to learn.

I was surprised to hear how both Tristan and Keegan shared the same “massive hesitancy” when approaching women, as due to the negative stigma perpetuated by some males, they couldn’t speak to an unknown woman without feeling like they were being creepy, patronising or being judged. On the other hand, when I shared my own negative experiences with men in date or club situations, the boys were shocked to hear what was happening. We all began to better understand the reasons behind this shift in our social and cultural interactions through shared understanding here. This is just one example of how through the whole interview, I was constantly being surprised by the stories and opinions I heard from both of the boys. I am both delighted and embarrassed to admit that both Tristan and Keegan had a really well informed stance on feminism, which had initially been something I hadn’t expected from males. These kind of social findings that can’t effectively be recorded showed me that although I can continue to investigate this topic, until I properly find out psyche of both males and females and understand a broad range of opinions on the matter I can’t possibly consider myself as well-informed as I have been doing.

Reflecting on the Study

In hindsight, overall I am really happy with how this ethnographic study turned out, despite a few things that I would change. Reflecting on my preparation, I ended up rejecting most of the questions that I had prepared as they tended to be irrelevant to the flow of the interview and/or to the openness and stance that both men were presenting. If I were to do this again I might have grouped my questions based upon opinions rather than topics, as most of my questions on a single area, for example university, shifted tone and weren’t as cohesive for me to work with as an interviewer. Considering my probe task, for the purposes of collecting data it would have been easier for me if I had given Tristan a physical form or task to fill in, however I don’t feel like this would have lead to the same open discussion and personal reflection that he undertook for the probe. Had I been grouped with peers that were less open or informed on the topic I would have had a lot of issues with this interview, but due to the smooth communication had with both men I was able to glean some really great insights into the issue to inform the next stages of my research.

Feature Image:

Cartoon by Melanie Gillman, 2012, reflecting an attitude brought up by my interviewees regarding the negative stigma of men that approach women in public.
Sourced: 29 Aug 2016 from <;

Post 3 – Gender Equality over a complex landscape.

Mapping the Issue of Gender Equality

Stakeholders in Gender Equality_mapping

Image A. A developed map of the stakeholders involved in the issue of gender equality based upon a mapping exercise in week 3.

In the process of mapping and refining the topic of gender equality, it was very easy to identify a range of areas relating to the oppression and/or promotion of women’s rights, particularly in the form of legislation, key figures, and communication channels. Without even considering the content of our original map, the tangled, interwoven connections provided at a glance just what a widespread and complex system this social issue really is. In my refinement process, I felt that a venn diagram was the most simple and effective way to convey the overlapping contributors in the gender equality debate (refer to image A). The challenge of mapping an issue such as gender equality, and further feminism, is that it is not simply a case of understanding the involved actors and field and level of engagement. There is a secondary tier that considers their position on the spectrum of the feminism debate: are they pro-feminism and anti-men’s rights? Do they promote a shared respect for the implications of feminism to both males and females? Do they actively classify all gender-specific labels as socio-cultural sexism?

An interesting insight that this map highlights is the areas that are currently dominated by women’s rights activism, as opposed to considering the role of both men and women in the gender debate. Legislation tends to be heavily weighted towards the rights of women, rather than gender equality, which highlights an area that is currently creating negative attitudes towards the involvement of women. Comparatively if we consider the media, as this is a highly accessible communication outlet for the public, there is a higher level of discussion around men’s involvement in gender equality, i.e. #HeForShe Campaign. I would like to investigate further the ways that different fields foster or inhibit the feminist discussion across genders, and whether we can achieve a cultural systemic change by approaching equality from the right component in the map.

Investigating Images

1.‘Everything Covered by her Eyes’ – Political Cartoon

1. CqnFxoPWAAAM5_4Image 1. Cartoon by Malcolm Evans, n.d., original source unknown, juxtaposing women influenced by different patriarchal cultures.

This cartoon offers an different perspective upon the rights of women in a global context. So often we think of feminism and gender equality as having two binaries, males and females, however the issue is so much more complex than this. Evans, in his juxtaposition of the two woman who are evidently dressing to achieve the same outcome of pleasing men, calls to question what it really means to have women’s rights and freedom in a traditionally patriarchal global society. The cartoon, with it’s omission of visualising men, hints at the dichotomy within women’s rights activism and feminist belief, suggesting that if women can not empathise with one another it is impossible to achieve an outcome that is mutually beneficial, let alone introducing males into the equation. On a personal level, this cartoon reminded me that my definition of what gender equality is heavily shaped by a Western, upper-middle class caucasian female’s worldview, and that to truly understand the issue I need to take a few big steps backwards and examine the complex system that creates the society that we live in.

Peffer, C., n.d., ‘Cartoon calls wardrobe preferences into question’, The Gannon Knight, viewed 27 Aug 2016, accessed at <;.

2. ‘Free the Nipple in Auckland’ – Photograph

2. NZ Free the Nipple
Image 2. Photograph by Doug Sherring from a Gender Equality gathering held in Aotea Square, Auckland, Dec 2015.

In December 2015, a group of topless people, both men and women, gathered in Aotea Square in Auckland to promote gender equality. Most commonly we associate ‘free the nipple’ protesters as being outspoken, ‘alternative’ young women, but in this particularly campaign both males and females were present and, according to the accompanying article by Corazon Miller, ‘Aucklanders march to “Free the Nipple”’, majority of the public did not “react too badly”. Further, it is unusual to see two members of an older generation in apparent support of the two topless women, smiling and showing the thumbs up, as often we see more resentment from this generation in regards to the changing culture around feminism. I also wonder at how different the message of this photograph would be without the presence of the older woman, presumably the man’s wife. Without the woman in this photograph to reflect his support, the man could easily be interpreted as a voyeur and shunned based upon the stigma that surrounds men in this scenario, but with her presence he is celebrated for supporting the movement.

Miller, C., 2015, ‘Aucklanders march to “free the nipple”’, NZ Herald, viewed 24 Aug 2016, accessed at: <;.

3.   ‘This is What a Feminist Looks Like’ – Photograph and Meme

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 10.31.52 PM.pngImage 3. Photograph/memes from the ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ campaign, 2014 (left), 2013 (right). Left: Elle UK, Benedict Cumberbatch styling their campaign shirt in conjunction with The Fawcett Society. Right: Original photograph of Kelly Martin Broderick, meme author unknown.

I wanted to discuss these two images together because they both demonstrate a range of issues associated with the gender equality debate, in particularly the exclusion and critique of stakeholders. ‘This is What a Feminist Looks Like’ is a campaign sparked after Emma Watson’s UN Speech about Feminism and gender equality, and publicised the idea that feminism is for everyone, not just women seeking equality. ‘This is What a Feminist Looks Like’ shirts were created through a collaboration with ELLE Uk and The Fawcett Society, a UK women’s advocacy group, and are increasingly shown being worn by male icons, for example Benedict Cumberbatch (as shown in image 3A). There is much controversy around these shirts, however, as they are allegedly being produced in a Mauritian sweatshop which employs mostly women, according to a number of sources (Katebi, 2015; Boycott, 2014; Donahue, 2014). Not only is the sweatshop labour striking a blow for international women’s rights, but as a result, the males are being critiqued for wearing them and not acknowledged for their positive stance on the issue of feminism. 

But men are not the only victims of the feminist debate here. Open feminist Kelly Martin Broderick was horrified to find her Facebook and OKCupid display picture turned into a “fat-shaming, anti-feminist meme” (Broderick, 2013) and that virtually overnight the meme had been liked, retweeted, re-grammed, reblogging and sharing thousands of times all over the internet. One comment on Facebook read ‘That’s also what a lifelong virgin looks like’, and an article in response was titled ‘Feminism rears it’s ugly face: Kelly Martin Broderick’ referring to her as an “ugly blob…of whale blubber” (Ill Folks, 2013). The anti-feminist backlash around what was a message to show that all feminists are different has been overdramatic and extremely unpleasant to say the least. If a woman can’t even be supported in peacefully promoting her right to equality due to her appearance and stigma, how can we possibly move forwards with this issue?

Although the message and motive of the “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” campaign is clear and morally just, both these examples reflect the layers of hypocrisy within the feminism debate that affect all the parties involved and prevent action towards a solution.

Boycott, R., 2014, ‘Scandal of the 62p-an-hour T-shirts: Shame on the feminists who betrayed the cause’, The Daily Mail Australia, viewed 25 Aug 2016, accessed at <;.
Broderick, K.M., 2013. ‘My picture was stolen and turned into a fat-shaming anti-feminist meme on facebook’, XOJane, viewed 28 Aug 2016, accessed at: <;.
Donahue, A., 2014, ‘Pitfalls of a slogan tee’, 29 Secrets, viewed 27 Aug 2016, accessed at:
‘Ill Folks’, 2013, ‘Feminism rears its ugly face: Kelly Martin Broderick’, Disgusted by Amusement, viewed 28 Aug 2016, accessed at: <;.
Katebi, H., 2015, ‘This is what a feminist looks like. The feminist shirt controversy’, Conscious Magazine, viewed 28 Aug 2016, accessed at: <>.

4. ‘What War on Women?’ – Graph4. what war on women

Image 4. Original creator unknown, statistics from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2012. Graph contrasting deaths of women with deaths in terror attacks and war zones over 10 years in the US.

I hadn’t previously done a lot of research and consideration upon the issue of Violence Against Women as a branch within the gender equality discussion until I saw this graph. Although this graph is outdated in the statistics that it represents, the impact of this visualisation is staggering. Whilst the figures relate to the US only and just over a 10 year period, the message is powerful and reinforces how serious gender inequality really is. The overall tone of the visualisation is matter-of-fact and allows the statistics do the talking. Strategically contrasting an a topic that is important to many Americans, i.e. the army and gun laws/use, reinforces the blind-eye that is being turned towards deaths that are occurring right under society’s nose.

Graff, E.J. 2012, ’Chart of the day: what war on women?’, The American Prospect, viewed 25 Aug 2016, accessed at: <;.

5. Gender Equality Emoji’s – Apple iOS 10 Update

5. Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 9.34.25 PM

Image 5. Apple, 2016. A selection of emojis in the latest iOS update for Apple that includes a diverse range of alternatives to previously single-gender emojis.

The latest iOS update by Apple includes the release of a new emoji pack that includes greater gender diversity in the tiny icons. This latest pack introduces gender alternatives and redesigns, as well as additional family options and the rainbow LGBTIQ flag (Apple, 2016). Not only are there now male equivalents to the head massage, haircut and dancing emojis, among others, there are female alternatives to the previously male-only athletes and professionals (Ians, 2016). Linking back to the issue map earlier in this post, it is clear how important the media’s role is in working towards gender equality, as this is a form of communication and expression that the public interacts with on a daily basis. Whilst changes like this may seem tokenistic and superfluous, they play an important role and the shift towards a gender equal mentality that will permeate through our communication channels and have a widespread impact.

Apple, 2016, ‘Apple adds more gender diverse emoji in iOS 10’, Apple Newsroom, viewed 24 Aug 2016, accessed at: <;.
Ians, 2016, ‘Apple brings gender equality in iOS 10 emoji pack’, The Economic Times, viewed 24 Aug 2016, accessed at: <;.

6. ‘Women Versus Men Participants in the Summer Olympic Games’ – Graph6. Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 9.29.44 PM

Image 6. International Olympic Committee, 2016 – Graph representing the increasing participation and representation of women in the Summer Olympic Games. At 2016 women  make up 45% of participants. 

This is one of the more uplifting images that I have found for this topic, as it offers an insight into the influence of the gender equality movement in a small slice of global culture. A very topical graph, we can very clearly see the increasing representation of women in the Summer Olympics since 1896, increasing from 0% almost half in just 120 years. What this graph does not include is the increased number events that have allowed women’s participation since 1900, as this also reflects the greater access and respect for women. Women in sport has always been a heated topic of contention, based upon the ideology that women are not as good as men, however as we are fortunate to witness every four years, women are increasingly being celebrated for their incredible efforts in their sporting fields separately from the celebration of men (Keuk Ser, 2016). An interesting fact that I discovered during this analysis was that whilst currently Equestrian is currently the only sport where women compete directly against men, in the past men and women had competed against one another in some shooting events and sailing events. Now women compete in the same sports than men, including two women-only sports: Rhythmic Gymnastics and Synchronised Swimming, however men continue to compete in more events than women.

Kuek Ser, K.K., 2016, ‘See 120 years of struggle for gender equality at the Olympics’, Pri, viewed 24 Aug 2016, accessed at: <;.

7. ‘Who Needs Feminism?’ – Campaign Photographs

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.02.34 PM.pngImage 7. Who Needs Feminism group at Duke University, n.d. – Two students showing their reasons for why they need feminism as part of the campaign started by the Duke University students in North Carolina. 

This campaign runs along the same vein as the ‘This is What a Feminist Looks Like” campaign in my third image analysis. There are hundreds of images that I could have analysed that are part of this campaign, calling on the public to stop misunderstanding and denigrating what feminism is all about. The founders of the movement, a group of students from Duke University in North Carolina, stated that they wanted the campaign to challenge existing stereotypes and didn’t provide a definition of feminism so as to “decrease negative associations with the word that would keep anyone from identifying with the movement” (Who Needs Feminism, n.d.). I chose these two specific images because I strongly identify with them as both a female and an older sister to two brothers, whom I want to enter into a world where they continue to respect women, and are not called names that further oppress women for it (i.e. pussy, bitch). A strength of this campaign, reflected in the two images I have selected, is that the movement does not discriminate based on gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., and recognises that feminism affects everyone in both small and large ways. It is easy to digest and relate to and highlights the forgotten reasons for needing equality.

Who Needs Feminism, n.d., ‘Who We Are’, Who Needs Feminism, viewed 28 Aug 2016, accessed at: <;.

8. ‘Be A Man,’ – Campaign Poster

8. white ribbon campaign

Image 8. White Ribbon, 2016 – Campaign poster to promote the discussion around redefining masculinity to reflect changing social attitudes and behaviours. 

White Ribbon is a global movement that works to end men’s violence against women, promote gender equality, healthy relationships and a new vision of masculinity, focusing on the role of men and boys (White Ribbon, 2016). As part of the ‘Be A Man’ campaign, men are invited to redefine what masculinity means by celebrating the diversity and complexity of men, for example being comfortable with openly expressing emotions and challenging stereotypes. What is interesting about this campaign is that nowhere does it mention feminism, which so often males find difficult to interact with as a concept or ideology. Further, the gender debate often criticises men for their contribution to an inequality mentality, when most of this arises from being enculturated into a patriarchal society from an early age. In this campaign, blame and guilt is not used as a tool to subserve, and men are inspired to interact with this positive expression of masculinity that is conducive to a healthy, respectful society. This call to action is an interesting insight into the changing role of gender and the decreasing relevance of stereotypes across society, as well as putting gender equality into terms that males want to engage with.

White Ribbon, 2016, ‘Be a man’, White Ribbon, viewed 28 Aug 2016, accessed at: <;.

9. ‘It’s okay to talk’ – Selfie 

9. #it's okay to talk

Image 9. Luke Ambler, 2016 – A selfie taken by Luke Ambler, the initiator of the #itsokaytotalk campaign, showing the ‘okay’ symbol with his hands. This selfie was accompanied with a caption encouraging males to talk about their mental health and went on to be mimicked by the public across the world with the same message. 

This selfie, taken by and of Luke Ambler, was the first in a campaign of thousands of selfies posted across the internet with the hashtag #itsokaytotalk, aimed at raising awareness around male mental health and suicide. The campaign was sparked by Ambler’s brother-in-law committing suicide in April 2016, and has since spread across the world in an effort to encourage men to feel supported in talking about their emotions. This selfie was the first blow to the unhealthy idea of masculinity and the negative stigma surrounding males expressing sensitivity or ‘weakness’ that has contributed to gender inequality for generations. In correlation with White Ribbon’s ‘Be a Man’ campaign, #itsokaytotalk encourages men to redefine what contemporary masculinity entails, including respecting and supporting the feelings of their other male family members and friends. If men feel more comfortable expressing their emotions, something that has traditionally been dubbed ‘female behaviour’, then it encourages a rejection of other “masculine” behaviours that oppress or degrade women that can result in sexism in the workplace and domestic violence. The only challenge I can foresee with this campaign is that with the widespread nature of the campaign and rate at which it flows across friendship circles on social media, is the message lost in the tokenism of the action? Are people doing it to fit in with their friends or do they really believe what they are posting about? Either way, it is still an important movement that is encouraging awareness of a serious societal issue that can lead to systemic change with hugely beneficial impacts.

10. Beach Dress Code Law Enforcement – Photographs

10. juxtapose.png

Image 10. Photographers Unknown – Left: Photograph from the late 1920s as a policeman ensures that the woman’s beachwear complied with the legal modesty standards. Right: Policeman in Nice, France, forces Muslim to take off her modest covering to comply with new laws regarding the wearing of appropriate ‘beach attire’ amidst social unrest surrounding terrorism. Juxtaposed, these images represent two very different implications of law enforcement.

Dress codes have always been a point of contention in the gender equality discussion, most often pointing the finger at women to conform to set standards. Whilst in the past they related to cases of public decency and morality, in recent years society has responded to unnecessary cases of enforced dress codes as oppressing women’s rights to their bodies. In this juxtaposition between law enforcement in the 1920s to ensure not too much skin was showing to law enforcement in 2016, forcing a Muslim woman to take off her modest clothing or to leave the beach, as she failed to comply with the new ‘proper beach attire’ laws. It is almost unbelievable that in the 21st century we are witnessing armed men force a woman to oppose her religious beliefs and undress in public with the support of the law. Many people are suggesting that these new laws “protect women’s equality from the demands of a backward, moralistic and cultural religion” (SB, 2016), however this is an extremely narrow-minded mentality that presumes that the woman is forced to comply with her religious moral guidelines. This brings forward a lot of questions surrounding how religious belief impacts how people perceive gender equality, returning the debate back to image number 1.

‘SB’, 2016, ‘False equivalency used to defend oppressive swimwear’, Whale Oil, viewed 28 Aug 2016, accessed at: <;.

Post 3: Adjust the focus. Gender Equality is a Men’s issue too

By Basilia Dulawan

Mapping Participants (human + non human)

Week 2 Map

Stakeholder Map created in collaboration with Anna Carmody, Camilla Ahlstrom and Andrew Vuong.

Which actors share the same values, views (worldviews) and which do not? 

While looking at our map and thinking about which actors share the same values and worldviews, I found that a lot of my answers were that some stakeholders within the categories identified would share the same values with other stakeholders and others in the same category would not. This is probably a reflection that our map was too broad/general. For example, society and the media were two of our stakeholders and we identified that they held the most influence (alongside the UN, Policy Makers and Men), however some people in society would hold the same values and views as the media, and some of course would not. The one thing that was made clear, was that one stakeholder would not have it’s influence if it wasn’t for the other – they directly feed off each other – society has the power to decide where their values lie and the media will respond to that, but at the same time, the media has an incredible power to sway society, and place specific perspectives, worldviews and values into the minds of their audience – who then again, get to decide what is of value to them and what their perspective is. It is a constant feedback loop between these ‘actors’.

Week 5 Map

During this mapping exercise, now paired with other people who are exploring the same issue of Gender Equality and Women’s Rights, we took a slightly different approach and created sub-headings of factors that have contributed to Gender Inequality and Gender Equality, and listed the stakeholders underneath them. For me this was a really interesting exercise as the factors and stakeholders the other group members came up with broadened my understanding of Gender Equality.

While looking at this new map, I can see again that the Media – specifically mainstream Women’s and Men’s Magazines as well as social media, hold a negative impact on Gender Equality, as are driving forces for Body Shaming and Body Image issues, and defining what it is to be feminine and masculine. However, I do feel that media is changing with the rise of social media and celebrities/women in media such as Jennifer Lawrence, Tavi Gevinson , Emma Watson and Jessica Walsh are speaking up about Gender Inequality and through their own work, showing other girls that there is no one way to be. Women can no longer be restricted to what Men, the Media and Society has told women they should be. Therefore, as lot of these stakeholders have the same values and worldviews, there are a lot more stakeholders peppered throughout this list that are coming up to challenge and hopefully change their perspective on Gender Equality.


Categorising 21 words associated with Gender Equality and Women’s rights from Emotive, Inflammatory, Factual, Antagonistic, Divisive and Disruptive.

Another exercise that I found really interesting was categorising 21 of the 100 words associated with Gender Equality and Women’s rights which we came up with as a group. From these categories we plotted the words onto a line between two different variables i.e Simple and Complex, Positive and Negative and Active and Passive. After doing this we took the words plotted along the Simple and Complex scale and turned them into (somewhat) a poem.

Male Advocacy, Like a Girl.
Misogyny, Contradiction
Voice and Capability
Masculinity and Motherhood. 
Consent – Victim Blaming
Slut, or Princess?
Male Privilege, Double Standards.
Self-Esteem and Confidence.
Objectify, Perspective. 
Pay Gap, Rape Culture. 

After performing this in front of our peers as a group, the pairs we drew from these words simply by following the way in which we plotted the words along the scale from Simple to Complex created a real depth to understanding the issue of Gender Equality and Women’s Rights. What it highlights for me is how important the role of males are in the issue.


10 Images + Annotations

We are Equal

In this poster designed by Kevin Aderland titled ‘Facial’ he depicts two specific character traits of Men and Women – Masculinity, the moustache and Femininity, the bright red painted lips. As each are of equal proportion Aderland’s poster represents Gender Equality underlined by the words ‘we are equal’, typeset without the use of capitalisation or uppercase letters, further emphasising the idea of Gender Equality, that no one holds more power than the other.

Women’s Voice in Power

This poster design visualises what I’ve found most true in my research. Above in the stakeholders map I mentioned that the actors that hold the most influence in achieving Gender Equality and Women’s Rights was Policy Makers i.e Men in Power. This is also true when I read this report for one the 25 articles I read when I first started researching this issue. What it highlights is that Men are the majority who hold positions of power – in Government, in the Workplace and in the Boardrooms, therefore if they are the majority of voices – who is being heard? Who’s issues are given priority? Who’s policies are most likely to change? In saying this, I would like to see how many of those male voices are too standing up for Gender Equality.

Canada’s Cabinet Members 2016

Which leads me to the great Justin Trudeau – Canada’s current Prime Minister, who appointed for the first time in Canada’s history, a Gender Equal cabinet with 15 Women and 15 Men. He is a man in power using not only his voice but his actions to empower society. This photo represents a step toward Gender Equality especially at a global level.

The issue of Gender Equality needs to put it to Men, get them involved in the conversation – adjust the focus.

When I found this poster design, I resonated with me so much. After listening to these Ted talks by Michael Kimmel titled “Why Gender Equality if Good for Everyone – Men included” and “Violence against Women – it’s a Men’s Issue” by Jackson Katz, they shared the same sentiment that Gender Equality is a Men’s Issue, but we need to invite men into the conversation. If we adjust the focus, and get men engaged with understanding the issue and educating them on how it influences them too, then we can truly start to implement some changes, specifically attitudinal ones that switch the conversation from being seen as man-hating/women loving feminism, to what it is actually about: Men and Women being equal.

Rio Olympic Headline exemplifying how men are glorified over women in Media.

During the recent Rio Olympics Gender InEquality was definitely highlighted by the way in which Media portrayed female athletes. From crediting Women’s success to their husbands and celebrating Men’s success over Women’s. In this case this headline captures that explicitly as Katie Ledecky a female US Swimmer, had set a world record and won gold in her event yet her headline was placed below Phelps who had tied for silver. When I saw this image circulating around Facebook, I started to notice these subtle differences in the portrayal of Men and Women through the media coverage of the Rio Olympics. After finding the actual source of the image, and looking at the reaction from other twitter users, many were divided – one person arguing that this wasn’t a case of Gender Equality, but just the fact that Phelps was more of a household name. Besides the fact that Phelps is an incredible athlete who has reached enormous success in his sport, is the reason Ledecky isn’t a household name (until now), because Women aren’t covered as much and given the same amount of exposure in the sporting arena?

Headline that speaks about male Olympians the way media talk about Female Olympians

Although, when they are covered by the sports media, they are given a very different treatment to male athletes especially when they are interviewed. In this video #CoverTheAthlete, it shows what happens when Male Athletes are asked the same questions female athletes are asked. I think what this video depicts is the clear gender inequality in sports media. Therefore, I thought this image below was incredibly powerful in exposing this inequalities as it’s sub-title reads “…if we talked about male Olympians the way we talk about female athletes.” – speaking about them in reference to their famous/successful partners rather than using their actual name in their own right.

_06Always #likeagirl
Smashing stereotypes. Unstoppable #LikeAGirl campaign

This still from the follow-up campaign to Always #LikeAGirl titled Always UnStoppable #LikeAGirl represents a young girl literally and metaphorically getting rid of the restrictions that society places on females that in essence, box them in. It’s powerful to see that she is kicking the box on which she wrote “Can’t be Brave” – something she’s noticed in fairytales and films – that the Women are the ones who always need saving, and it is the Men who come to rescue them.

Auto complete sexism from the Auto Complete Truth Campaign

Based on actual Google search results that creators Memac Ogilvy and Mather Dubai say was in no way engineered to produce those results and it was in fact these search results when they typed in “women should”, that sparked the whole idea for the campaign as they were naturally shocked by the results. However, they mention that the campaign is so much about the Google autocomplete suggestions, but rather used the medium to highlight the issue of gender inequality that women face. These images are so simple, and so powerful. By covering the women’s mouths with a search bar which the words “women should” and their results, effectively communicates the idea that societal norms and traditions of Gender roles dictate what Women should and shouldn’t do. What it doesn’t represent is the other side of Gender stereotypes – Men, as this too would be a powerful addition to highlight that these stereotypes do exist and that by fighting to break these Gender traditions, Women and Men can achieve equality.

NotThereYet Campaign supported by the Clinton Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

NotThereYet Campaign co-opted 40+ existing advertisements to remove the women from their ad on International Women’s Day 2015 to highlight that women are “not there” yet in terms of Gender Equality. I think the concept is an interesting one, and the website is a great resource to find out more about Gender Inequality, however when I first saw it I thought “What do you mean we’re not there?” If you look at the magazine stand, 4 out of 5 magazines feature women on their cover, and there are enormous billboards that feature Women – so by removing them, it highlighted to me that we are physically there in terms of media presence. What I do think it was successful in doing, was starting the conversation by asking “What is not there?” and being prompted to check out the website that replaces where the Women in the Ads once were.

‘Stop Ignoring’ by Ruonan Yan

For me this image does well in highlighting two things:

1. That society holds Men as priority

2. Gender Equality cannot be achieved without the Men. We cannot have one without the other, we cannot ignore 50% of the population.




Aderland, K. 2012, Facial, Poster for Tomorrow, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Alsuwaidi, M. 2012, Gender Equality, Poster for Tomorrow, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Always, 2015, Always #LikeAGirl – Confidence Summit announcing partnership with TED, YouTube, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Cohen, C. 2015, Justin Trudeau names Canada’s first equal cabinet with 15 men and 15 women ‘because it’s 2015’, The Telegraph, viewed 20 August 2016 <>.

Ember, S. 2015, ‘Not There’ Campaign Removes Women From Ads for International Women’s Day, The New York Times, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Griner, D. 2013, After Viral Success of Inequality Ads, Creators Say They Will Expand Campaign ‘Auto-Complete Truth’ sparks global debate, Ad Week, viewed 20 August 2016 <>.

Lanigan, R. 2016, Congrats girl! France of former Miss California scoops his 25th medal, The Tab, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Leong, N. 2016, This headline is a metaphor for basically the entire world, Twitter, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Moralez Garcidueñas, C. 2012, Women’s voice in Power, Poster for Tomorrow, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Yan, R. 2012, Stop Ignoring, Poster for Tomorrow, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.

Who does this impact? Literally everyone…


Lara Meacock

stakeholders(Meacock 2016)

By creating a stakeholder map the idea that literally every single person being intertwined complexly in the issue became more and more true. I think the most valuable standpoint the stakeholder map reinforces is that in order to see true change for gender equality we must fundamentally change societies values and way of thinking. We need to stop perceiving gender equality as a “women’s issue” and start seeing it as everyone’s issue. The impacts of a gender equal society effect people of all genders, and all institutions and human constructs and until all of these people included can see the benefits we will still live in an unequal society.

This is the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Forum (World Economic Forum 2014) which gives some insight as to where the world is at.

IMAGE 1 (Wlokka & Regeheim 2015)


This set of advertisements by Terre Des Femmes has a strong message about the perceptions of clothing and sexuality. The slogan of the posters, “don’t measure a woman’s worth by her clothes,”(Wlokka & Regeheim 2015) aids in the understanding that society puts perceptions on a woman’s sexuality based on what she wears. The scale filled with derogatory terms emphasizes the way in which society judges women, no matter what they wear, and finds a way to link this to women’s sexuality. This outline of perceptions creates the understanding that it isn’t the fashion that needs to be altered, but societies understanding and perception of women that has to be changed.

IMAGE 2 (Who Needs Feminism n.d.)


The Who Needs Feminism? campaign is about people posting an image explaining why they need feminism. It started to overturn the perception of feminists as “man-hating, bra-burning, whiny liberal[s],” (Who Needs Feminism n.d.) and aim to promote the importance of feminism to everyone within society. I chose this particular entrant because I think in terms of feminism and gender equality, it is often seen as a women’s issue and the implications of males (or non-gendered people) are often overlooked or unspoken about. I think the term “MAN UP” really encapsulates the gendered pressures of society that men face and the expectations that are placed upon them.

IMAGE 3 (UNWomen 2014)


This image by UNWomen featuring Emma Watson was created for the HeForShe campaign. I found this image particularly powerful through the capture of the true essence of femininity and masculinity. Society has constructed a belief that women are sensitive, and men are strong and this is what segregates us and provides gender roles. The emotion captured in Emma’s eyes shows strength and sensitivity at the same time and the repeated phrase; “both men and women should feel free to be sensitive/strong,” brings to light that gender doesn’t alter the way we do or should feel about ourselves and about situations. These gendered stereotypes create boundaries for both men and women restricting them from being their true selves and accepting all ends of the emotional spectrum.

IMAGE 4 (UNWomen 2013)


This set of images comes from a campaign by UNWomen which used google’s text prediction to highlight people’s understanding of women and the way in which they are perceived. The placement of the search box over the mouth of these women is metaphorical for the way in which their voices are taken away and these sexist perceptions prevail. The following statements below the search bar, including; “women need to be seen as equal,” accentuate the shift that needs to be made in society for equality to be reached. It points out the flaws of the way gender stereotypes force us into having certain perceptions based on genders and how they are unjust and unfair.

IMAGE 5 (Unknown n/a)


Although this image isn’t very visually provocative, what’s really nice about it is that it explains how it is okay to change your perception or way of thinking about something. By crossing out particular genders and their particular roles and explaining what we should all do collectively as humans, “it is a person’s job to respect another person.” Through editing old values to put hope forward for new ones, it provides people with an understanding of how they should treat people and suggests a way of viewing people of different genders.

IMAGE 6 (Unknown 2013)


I think this image is really powerful in that it explains through the text how gender can completely change perception, and that gender stereotypes interplay more than we may realize. These stereotypes that we place upon gender are basically jumping to conclusions without knowing any details. The subjects of the Baby X study weren’t able to speak to the baby or see the image it was reacting to, however “literally identical behavior could be constructed differently based on the perceived gender of the subject.” (Unknown 2013) The combination of this image and text explains how we place a stereotype on people before they have even developed or are able to express how they feel. In order to achieve gender equality and shift societal values so that men, women and other gendered people feel comfortable and valued in society, we must stop placing generalizations on people, particularly children – who haven’t learnt who they are or want to be.

IMAGE 7 (Unknown n.d.)


This image has a pretty similar standpoint to images 2, 3, and 6 in that it shows that this issue concerns everyone and that it is purely a way of thinking, not segregation based upon fact. It isn’t that associating with masculinity or femininity is a negative thing – it is that your gender shouldn’t discern which one you associate with or if you associate with either. There should be equal avenues for both sexes and neither should feel like their gender has an impact on the decisions they make.

IMAGE 8 (Withnall 2014)


This image has a similar standpoint to image 6 in that it values teaching children not to fall into these stereotypes and to do what they want to do. The things children learn at a young age set a foundation for their perspective on the world and the decisions they make as to the person they want to be. Considering this letter was said to be put out in the 1970s it was a pretty forward way of thinking and promotes letting children choose for themselves “whatever appeals to them.” There is a lot going around the media currently about the impact of gendered toys and how this gendering is shaping young people’s understanding of gender from a very young age, limiting them from exploring what they truly enjoy if it is classified as the opposite gender’s ‘thing’.

IMAGE 9 (Always 2016)


This image is a part of the #LikeAGirl campaign which is challenging the way in which feminine qualities are used to put down men and is a highly-offensive insult – e.g. ‘don’t throw like a girl.’ The text questioning what is meant by this derogatory term, alongside a small girl with both a powerful stature and glance emphasizes the unjust nature of the phrase and the second-hand sexism implied in the statement. It is trying to overthrow this common way of thinking that ‘girls are weak’ and reinforce that women are capable of anything if they believe in themselves and are supported. Being a girl should not be a disadvantage in terms of sport, or anything else for that matter.

IMAGE 10 (look_at_this_pusssy 2016)


This image and statement was posted on the instagram look_at_this_pusssy which is a feminist instagram which posts images of everyday things which resemble the female genitalia often alongside a statement about female oppression or gender equality. This one particularly stood out to me because the image represents the combination genitalia in resemblance alluding to both sexes importance in building the human race. The statement explains that feminists aren’t arguing against men or saying that their issues are less important. Feminists are looking to bring to light the way in which women have often received the short straw. It promotes egalitarian values and that people should be in all senses equally… basically that people should “simply act like A Fucking Human.”

Always 2016, #LikeAGirl, <;&gt;.

look_at_this_pusssy 2016,  There often a tittie for tat outrage that come…,  Photograph, <;.

Meacock, L. 2016, Stakeholders Map, Mindmap.

Ogilvy, M. & Dubai, M. 2013,  The Autocomplete Truth,  UNWomen,<;.

Unknown 2013, Big Strong Boy Little Cute Girl, Tumblr, <;>.

Unknown n/a, It is a person’s job to respect another person. period. Pinterest, <;>.

Unknown n/a, We Aren’t Born Sexist, Tumblr, <>.

UNWomen 2014,  Feminism,  <;.

Who Needs Feminism n/a, I need feminism because I don’t need to be told to “MAN UP”, Public entrant, <;.

Withnall, A. 2014, Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later, Independent, viewed August 18 2016, <>.

Wlokka, T. & Regeheim, F. 2015, Don’t Measure a Woman’s Worth By Her Clothes, Campaign, Terre Des Femmes, <;.

World Economic Forum 2014, Global Gender Gap Report, viewed August 18 2016, <

Post 4: The power that words carry

By Basilia Dulawan

When I started researching a design studio that works in an emergent practice context as well as one that responds or advocates for Gender Equality, I wasn’t so sure I would find one. However, the Always #LikeAGirl campaign that I have written about previously here, I realised fits in the emergent practice context as it is design activism. The film produced challenges the current perception of what it means when someone says the phrase “like a girl”.

The #LikeAGirl campaign was born out of Always trying to connect with the next generation of girls who would use their products – something their competitors had already done via social media (D&AD, 2015). The campaign was a collaborative effort from Leo Burnett Chicago and Toronto, Holler – a creative agency in London, and most significantly, documentary filmmaker Lauren Greenfield who has studied ‘Girl Culture’ since 2002. Together they identified that “More than half of girls lose confidence during puberty – and a contributing factor to that drop are societal put-downs based solely on gender.” (Kauffman, K. 2015) In response to this, they created a social experiment aimed at challenging and changing both men and women’s perspective of the usually derogatory phrase “like a girl” (D&AD, 2015) which John notes, has “been around forever”. With this social experiment they recruited real women, men, boys and pre-pubescent girls and asked them to act out what they thought it meant to run like a girl, throw like a girl and fight like a girl. While filming these live responses Greenfield was able to capture authentic reactions and insights into what these people perceive to be “like a girl”. It is interesting that the semi-structured interview approach of their research which was filmed is actually what became the finished product for the campaign. There is no doubt that they did an incredible job analysing the responses they got from each interviewee to notice the shift in perspectives from the pre-pubescent girls who were seemingly unaffected by the phrase, to the men and women interviewed who held that negative association with it. Moreover, it was how they then edited and pieced together each question and response that allows the audience to experience the same insights they found while conducting this research.

I think the reason this campaign went viral in 2015, was because they weren’t trying to design anything new, but they basically found a creative way to put up a mirror to the audience and to allow them to see what we’re really doing when we say phrases such as “Oh, you run like a girl!” and the power that words carry. But instead of just leaving it at that, Greenfield has the great skill of then challenging her subjects and in-affect challenging the audience’s own perspective when she asks the questions: “When did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult?”, “So do you think you just insulted your sister?” and “Is ‘like a girl’ a good thing?” All in all, this design response is a true success in redefining the phrase ‘Like a girl’ from an insult, into an expression of strength and confidence in themselves.




D&AD 2016, Case Study: Always #LikeAGirl, London, viewed 15 August 2016, <>.

Kauffman, K. 2015, Leo’s Cannes Contenders: Always “#LikeAGirl”, Leo Burnett, viewed 15 August 2016, <>.


Marketing New Thinking Awards 2016, The Results: Brand Evolution, Sky Media, viewed 20 August 2016, <>.




The Story is Everything



Lara Meacock

Kurzgesagt (In A Nutshell) is a creative information design agency based in Munich, Germany. The company started, in their own words, as “a passion project that we worked on at night and on the weekend and turned into our full time job. We use it to explore what is possible with videos that explain things, sharing our excitement about this universe with as many people as possible.” (Kurzgesagt, 2016) Kurzgesagt covers many social topics confronting controversial issues such as the state of our earth, impact of diseases, terrorism and mass surveillance, war, genetic engineering, humanity, gender equality and many more. They create bright, beautiful and influential info/motion graphics videos to try to induce change within society. Kurzgesagt focuses on these controversial issues because they “are convinced that good things take time, care and precision.” (Kurzgesagt, 2016) They are consistent with their productions, regularly posting youtube videos with a countdown until their next production featured on their website. They take on sponsored work as well as working on commercial work in which a company employs them for specific campaign work.

Kurzgesagt recently participated in a project working for the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation which explored data, gender and disease. The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation believes that “all lives have equal value,”(Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2016) and started the project to look at the limiting factors women face due to inequality still being unrecorded. Focusing specifically on Kurzgesagt’s info/motion graphic about the gender data gap (click here to view), I think some really interesting things were revealed. They used the info-visualisation to explore how there is “a lack of data about women,” (GatesFoundation, 2016) and how this effects women and cause for change. The fact that we still don’t know everything makes it so much harder to push for a global shift in gender equality – purely because so much gender inequality that occurs in the world goes unreported and remains invisible. The motto of the info/motion graphic is to “make the invisible visible.” (GatesFoundation, 2016) They clearly outline the ways in which women are disadvantaged and how without recording all of the data that proves and explains this “we can’t see exactly what it is that we are trying to fix.” (GatesFoundation, 2016) They unpick this lacking of data and explain how things that seem unrelated can have a huge effect, for example “simply recording births and marriages, can help reveal early and forced marriages.” (GatesFoundation, 2016) I think it’s a really valuable lesson to learn that regulations and order, whilst seemingly unrelated, have a huge impact on inequalities and the way in which we plan to unpin these inequities.

The really valuable thing that Kurzgesagt do with their videos is capturing a lot of information in a short span of time. The language is easy to understand and very succinct and therefore they are able to reach a wide audience creating such awareness around issues that go unspoken. The most captivating thing about the videos is the story that they create – and these stories are clearly at the heart of what they do – “There is no boring topic, you just have to tell a good story.” (Kurzgesagt, 2016) The ability to be able to tell a good story is the ability to take facts, make them interesting to an audience, and frame this story with a cause of action that viewers are able to follow and feel a need to act upon. The strong, bright and modern graphic style creates not only beautiful, but also easily relatable and interesting illustrations, which spell out the issues to the viewer. The combination of factual content with the storytelling element creates a compelling and influential standpoint for all of the topics that they cover.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 2016, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, viewed 18 August 2016, <>.

GatesFoundation 2016, The Data Gender Gap You Don’t Know About, videorecording, Youtube, viewed 19 August 2016, <;

Kurzgesagt 2016, Kurzgesagt, Moby Digg, Germany, viewed 12 August 2016, <>.

Kurzgesagt 2016,  The Data Gender Gap You Don’t Know About,  Kurgesagt, Germany <×1080.png&gt;



Identified Project in an Emerging Issue

(WGEA 2015)
(WGEA 2015)

The Workplace and Gender Equality Agency is an Australian Government statutory division created as one of the enforcers of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.

They work collaboratively with employers to further the cause of equal representation of men and women in the workplace. In their collaborations they provide advice, education and tools to help employers achieve positive gender equity goals. The Data Explorer (WGEA 2015) tool has been created for this purpose, it is an entry point for the public to explore the agencies data more clearly and in detail. It provides overviews of industries by gender pay equity and workforce comparison, and allows the user to explore data across a range of topics in the majority of industries. The Data Explorer also enables the user to specifically compose role and employee types in order to get a more specific result of gender pay gaps. It additionally shows comparison to prior years and how strategies and actions towards gender equality affects this data.

Industries by pay equity and gender composition
(WGEA 2015)

Datasets traditionally face the issue of lack of accessibility and lack of impact due to difficulty in synthetising and processing its complexity. What the data explorer effectively achieves is simplified and visual access to statistics. This takes an issue that is often dehumanised by numbers and brings it into the clear light of day by giving all users simple access to the explorer.

Corrs (2015)
(Corrs 2015)

WGEA also encourages employers and employees to use the social media tag #MyEqualityStat to share the statistics uncovered using the explorer. Once again this is a clever way to raise awareness through simple and social digital tools.

The Data Explorer was built and designed by Flink Labs (2015), which is a design agency specialising in data mining and visualisation. Their work revolves around solving problems by designing and creating interactive data visualisations, that in the end provoke conversations and enhance understanding and engagement in the subject. They achieve this through simple and beautiful presentations of complex data in a format that allows both exploration and understanding regardless of analytical ability. Flink Labs collaborates with various different clients, with many projects focusing on the processing and presentation of economic data relevant to peoples everyday lives.

The Data Explorer is an excellent example of a growing area of design where data visualisation is used to communicate a message that otherwise would have been lost in the depths of complex numerical representations. Global leaders in the media space such as the New York Times have adopted data visualisation as a key tool of communication and designers continually improve the visual representation of this information to provide users with an engaging and informative experience (New York Times 2015).

The self service nature of the visualisation tool also plays an important role, where traditional written journalism requires writers to communicate a single point to readers data visualisation acts as a choose your own journey style of communication. This leaves users with access to the most relevant and interesting data to them, rather than simplified and generic information.

Data journalism and visualisation represents a growing amalgamation of the fields of journalism and design. Both rely on the basic concept of conveying meaning to people, with one achieving this through words and the other through images and interactive visual elements. In this particular example data journalism has a significant advantage over traditional written articles, particularly in a situation like this where the issue is often considered a contentious one. Visualisation presents statistics in self service fashion without bias or perspective, this allows conclusions to be drawn by the viewer on their own merit rather than under the influence of the opinion of the author, which has been seen throughout some of my other research in this area.

To summarise,

we see this data explorer as excellent example of the growing practice of data visualisation and data journalism in design. The use of interactive visual design to represent complex datasets to users in a simple and easily digestible form. In this case this visualisation is used to shine a light on the stark nature of gender inequality in the workplace in Australia. Often a hotly debated issue in the media this tool allows users to draw their own conclusions from the queries they put into the tool. As a result the tool is able to draw focus to an issue that is often misrepresented or lost in complex historical records and statistics.

By Camilla Ahlström

Corrs, 2016, ‘Domestic Violence is also a workplace issue’, Twitter post, 26 November, viewed 21 August 2016, <>
Flink Labs, 2016,  viewed on 21 August 2016 <;
New York Times, 2015, ‘2015: The Year in Visual Stories and Graphics’, viewed 21 August 2016, <>
WGEA, 2015, WGEA Data Explorer, viewed on 21 August 2016 <>