CHOICES, creates an ambiguous reality that questions why gender is constructed in the way that it is today. This speculative future is exploring the intersection of two trends: the increasing acknowledgment of a range of gender identities and the concept of gender specific products.
Facebook recently released over 50 new gender identities for users to select from. This marks a big shift to normalizing the idea that gender is not a binary. At the same time, we see the increasing use of gender divisions as a marketing ploy. From Dove’s Man+Care soap to Bic for her pens, we began to see how product-centric our construction of gender actually is. When you look at the moments that display gender to the rest of the world, it manifests in things like clothing, makeup, deodorant, or hairstyle.
These seemingly useless gender divides in products cause us to begin to ask the questions: Why do we need gendered anything? When do we have to make these gendered choices? And who is ultimately benefiting from these categorical gender identities?
The implications of this exploration are that gender and sexuality are both social constructs and are not necessarily related to each other or biological form. Carl Jung says that "identity exists in a realm of myth and symbolism," and so this project aims to represent the myths and symbolisms of our modern culture of consumerism. There is also the idea of the "paradox of choice," which asserts that more choices do not necessarily imply more freedom.
Gender categories contribute to our cultural identities, but more often than not, these categories can uselessly alienate us from "normality." It is our hope that our audience is able to internalize what it means to not feel comfortable in your own skin, and move forward with a critical lens toward the entire concept of the construction of social identity.
Collaborators: Joe Wheeler and June West