PComp- Finals/Feminism

Aaaaah finalsss. I’m actually really excited. I look forward to collaborating and playing with others, but for now I’m going to stick to my artist’s statement when ideating some initial concepts.

I came to ITP to help and give back. You tend to arrive at that place after many years of taking from brands. And, good or bad, there are plenty of problems to help solve out there. I mean, just read the news for, like, a second. For now, I’m going to try and keep my ideas personal or, as they say, “write what you know”.

I spent a long time in a male-dominated industry. It was a place where you felt pressured to “be one of the boys” or lose all the best opportunities. It caused me to dismiss feminism as being man-hating, while dumbing myself down to fit in. I shouldn’t have been so complicit. A male peer gave me some unsolicited advice once, that I should “never say I’m a feminist because then men won’t like you.” Oof. The bright side of all of it is that it led me to fourth-wave feminism and the idea that it’s simple a human rights issue. Oh yeah!

That said, it’s a personal journey to me and I intend on using it to help others and use my privilege to strengthen voices that want to be amplified. I’m interested in modern feminism and its relationship to intersectionality *deep breath in* so here goes…

IDEA 1

Ok, so I don’t want to tell dudes what to do, especially if I don’t want them to tell me what to do, but can we all agree that manspreading is a dumb, (I hope?) subconscious, way of making a power grab in a public space? Next idea!

IDEA 2

Presenting the first pair of pants that helps you be a good MTA denizen, while correcting the habit of manspreading. It works simply by using two distance measuring sensors on the inseam of the pants which alert you when your legs have exceeded the threshold from comfortable distance into manspreading territory.

Questions left to answer:

  • What alert does the wearer get? A sound, a vibration?
  • How far apart qualifies as manspreading (gather data from ITP students)

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I recently participated in the #MeToo movement and it struck a chord with me, as it did with many others (just look at your newsfeed). I swept harassment under the rug for years, in fear of losing my job or alienating myself from creative directors who gave me performance reviews. The weird part is how nuanced it all was. Sure, there was some Weinstein crap that totally traumatized me, but I’ve since become interested in the more subtle power moves- a light touch of a boss’s hand on my wrist while I was talking, an operations manager giving me a surprise back rub while I was on a shoot, spontaneous interview cheek kisses *shudder*. My favorite, though, was the hand on the lower back. That brings me to my final idea:

IDEA 2

Working in advertising for 10 years, I had my fair share of unsolicited touching. Especially the lower back. The entitlement to touching it is particularly uncool. If we haven’t given you permission, it’s an unwelcome surprise. I want to create a wearable that senses when a hand is close to touching your lower back.

  • Could it send a slight shock to keep the encounter quiet and brief?
  • Could it make a loud noise? Might be embarrassing to the wearer.

Here’s a rough sketch:

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I’m going to try, now, to not get married to any of these ideas, keep my options open, and see if there are any others in the class who aim to work in similar territories. Intersectionality is key, so bring it on!

 

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