violet elder

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how might we make men listen?

Little Critters title Little Critters screencap Faux fur coat photo Faux fur coat photo Faux fur coat photo Faux fur coat photo

Important Note!

The photos of me above were taken by Demi Chang and edited by me.

Background

In a Humanitarian Design class taught by Emily Pilloton, founder of Project H, in 2016 students spent the quarter working on one specific project related to a social issue of their choice. I was interested in interrogating how to talk to sexist men about feminism, and how men interested in feminist causes might best interact with feminist spaces - and, in a larger sense, how to be a good ally. I conducted a number of interviews and researched the topic, as well as analogous topics, such as allyship and how it is addressed in other communities and movements. I later readdressed this project in a different medium for a class on Experimental Fashion taken in 2017. This return to the topic was informed by female-fronted punk groups, the unabashed expression of self, and free physical movement.

What is it?

The first iteration of the project produced a video game called "Little Critters." While valuable video game development practice, "Little Critters" was made in response to a feeling many women are familiar with: the feeling that I ought to ease off, be quiet, be less "pushy." The game was designed to "trick" players into empathy, rather than allowing women to speak plainly about their experiences and issues - which was the whole point of the project! I was unsatisfied with the result of my work, and considered other expressions of the concept for some time. The second iteration of the project looked at taking up physical and creating visual noise as an analogy for taking up space in a conversation and making audible noise. I designed and constructed a bright pink, faux-fur coat with pockets meant to hold speakers. The coat was accompanied by a thrifted children's karaoke machine, one small secondhand speaker, and a microphone, with which the wearer could amplify their voice. The goal of the project was one based on the idea of "passing the microphone," so that the people who are authorities on their own experiences can be the ones speaking on those experiences.