Polarised [ongoing] Personal research project employing design as a method for protest.

Polarised.me is a personal research project exploring the hyper-commercialisation of gender and its contribution to issues of gender inequality in supporting the gender binary and confining males and females to their ‘expected’ characteristics.

Gender segmentation is a common marketing technique used by companies to increase product sales. Key elements such as colour, shape, icons, verbiage and product placement are used to define the gender of a product.

Throughout the project I explore design as a method of protest, seeking to undermine, subvert and obstruct the commercial construction of gender and its contribution to gender inequalities. I use feminism to both critically reflect upon and actively respond to current commercial infrastructure.

‘Heinz Baked Beans for him/her’, gendered cucumbers and ‘pineapples for ladies/men’ were just a few of the products I create. Placing them back upon the shop shelves, the new objects ridicule the reality of current marketing techniques and facilitate consumer scrutiny. The act of returning them to their original context presents a quiet yet powerful rebellion against the institution from which they were prescribed.

Alongside the genered products I conduct a range interventions from rearranging gendered toy aisles to performing modifications on fashion mannequins in shop window displays. These interventions saw Batman next to Barbie and tool kits amongst vanity cases, as well as transgender mannequins welcoming shoppers into Topshop.

I developed interventions into a sequence of ‘DIY’ tactics and presented them within a field guide for anyone to act and endorse.

This project was displayed at London Design Festival 2016 as part of an exhibition called Under Development about the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It aimed to raise awareness of the goals and draw attention to the people who are working creatively within and around these areas.