Final: “Ain’t I A Real Woman?”
For our final project, we got to do whatever we wanted that we thought might be useful to people in some way, maybe with our academic department of choice. Lots of really cool projects came out of this, like a customizable diabetes pump clip, an affordable tool for chemistry labs, and some educational models of things I do not understand at all!
With the recent panic over which women are “real” enough to use women’s bathrooms, I wanted to explore other ways in which we use a woman’s physicality to determine her “womanhood status.” So I made some figurines and stuck them to bathroom signs around campus! Each figure is a 3D person who I think is not adequately represented by the “triangle dress” woman or wheelchair figure on bathroom signs. “Woman 1” is fat, “Woman 2” has a form of dwarfism, and “Woman 3” is an amputee who uses forearm crutches. (I want to thank Dr. Laura Taalman for her help inspiring this project!)
I designed them all on Autodesk Fusion 360, using the revolve tool a lot to make them geometric shapes with more character than just cylinders. Woman 1 and Woman 2 were fairly straightforward to print, since they were flat and then needed no supports. I had the most trouble with Woman 3’s forearm crutches, because they are so small and spindly. I ended up slicing them in half so they would lay flat, and then super glueing them together, and onto her arms!
What I also like about this project is that while I focused on women’s signs, these figurines can be used in other cool ways to disrupt gender norms. I could have put each of these up on men’s rooms signs; I could make two square frames and put the same figure in each, labeling one men’s and one women’s. Or I could put them on a sign that just said “bathroom” and see what people did….I like that people can play around with them.
The files for these figurines are on thingiverse, so that people all over the place can print out these people and see what comes of it. I’ve really enjoyed the results so far, though the project has been very limited in scope based on time constraints. I’m hoping to leave them up on campus as long as I can.
What do you think? How could this project be better, or go further?