In cultures where ‘gender identity is considered crucial information, it is marked clearly through clothing’ Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz (2012). In Australian society, the representation of gender differences in the design and promotion of babies and children’s clothes is clearly recognisable from the first few months of life. Particularly noticeable is the preponderance of pink frilled clothing and accessories for girls and blue clothing and accessories for boys. The colour pink (and the feminine) is commonly regarded as signifying passivity, self-reflection , indecisiveness, fearfulness, vulnerability, warmth, caring, and an unadventurous nature, while the colour blue and masculinity is synonymous with physical capability, decisiveness, mathematical competence, responsibility, fearlessness and bravery. Is this what we really want for our girls and boys?
The idea behind my work is to create a dialogue with the women of Lismore, NSW, regarding gender stereotyping in retailing and in the community in general. Hopefully, we will look at the power of branding and whether it serves a useful purpose for ourselves and our children.
I live in Lismore for part of the week and I volunteer at a community gallery, The Serpentine. The Lismore show will be on from October 16-18 2014, and the Serpentine Gallery has been assigned a venue which we will use to display the member’s art pieces, provide children’s art activities and serve tea/coffee and biscuits. Usually, the patrons of the gallery are other artists, people who are interested in art or residents of the St Vincent De Paul Hostel next door. The agricultural show will give me the opportunity to speak to a wider range of people in a less precious setting.
I will be making three postcards which question the excessive use of the colour pink and possible links to the levels of representation of women in the highest offices in the Australian government. (based on the 2014 Parliamentary Library Research Paper ‘Representation of women in Australian parliaments’). I will also make pink and blue cookies to offer to the customers and check their preferences. Postcards are in line with the forms of distribution in other sections of the show.
Hopefully, people will find it interesting enough to discuss with their friends at a later date. I think the encouragement of dialogue is always worthwhile, even if it goes no further than the walls of the showground.
2 years, 6 months ago
How does project benefit the client (if there is a client)?
The human population
How does project benefit the people you are speaking to with your communication?
Hopefully it will help them think about the position of women/men in Australian society, and share their thoughts with others.
How does project benefit the wider society?
Hopefully a deluge of love and respect and dialogue will free the population from the tyranny of pink and blue.
How did/does this project benefit author (authors/makers of the project)?
It has given focus to a little bundle of discontent that has been crouching in my gut.
Tell us something about your view on communication. What is your / your organisation's / initiative's (visual) communication philosophy?
Art, being often a non-verbal medium, helps ideas and understanding flow through different channels of understanding.
What about the process of creating this work? Please describe it.
I have been particularly angry about the way in which politicians used gender signifiers to discredit Julia Gillard. I feel that I am doing something positive about it.
No other projects