Date of Graduation

7-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts in Art (MFA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Art

Advisor

Thomas Layley Hapgood, Jr.

Committee Member

Marty Maxwell Lane

Second Committee Member

Bree A. McMahon

Third Committee Member

Abra R. Levenson

Keywords

Design, Healthy Masculinity, Interactive Design, User Experience, Violence Against Women and Girls

Abstract

While awareness about violence against women and girls is growing, there is still a lack of evidence about what changes behavior to prevent it from happening. As a graphic designer, I wanted to find the root problem of this issue and work towards a solution. Through my research and questioning, I concluded that this problem begins with men’s thoughts on hierarchy, language, and behavior, and supported by a prevalence of toxic masculinity in men’s culture.

Where does this violence come from? What has society done to raise this kind of man? Violence against women and girls is being couched in ideas about masculine superiority and natural dominance. Most expressions of masculinity, whether in the images we see of how ‘real men’ should look or the stories we tell about how ‘real men’ should behave, are often violent and aggressive. Sadly, when changing the story, including women’s empowerment initiatives, we do not engage with men as part of the solution. As half the world’s population, effective interventions must involve men to address the underlying discriminatory social norms that promote male power, control, and use of violence (Virtual Knowledge Center to End Violence against Women and Girls 2010).

When discussing the subject at hand, the lack of public and visual design educating men and boys about their role in stopping violence against women and girls has moved me as a designer to provide avenues to solutions through my interactive pieces. Although organizations work with and educate boys and men in a preventative manner, these activities are held as classes, workshops, and conferences in private places with no public visual campaign raising the awareness about this issue in our communities. My designs make use of physical interactions to link the viewer to the information through action and response, making them aware of the effects of their presence has in a space.

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