(Look at photos in expanded view to see the whole thing!)
I was in a 3D Printing class this semester at Denison University, and 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. (I want to give a great big thank you to Laura Taalman [mathgrrl] for her help inspiring this as my final project!)
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.
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.
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, and it would be amazing to see these women, as well as all of your takes on them, pop up all over the place!
More specifics on the project and the figurines:
The title I gave this project is "Ain't I A Real Woman?" as a nod to the fact that race has long been a way we ascribe value to women through their bodies... And have you noticed how tiny people in wheelchairs are on these signs compared to the standing figures? Look at how big their heads are! It's as if this sign is reflecting our societal association with size and value, tellingly devaluing or infantilizing those in wheelchairs....I wanted my amputee figure to be active, since (aside from being tiny) wheelchair signs like this one often show the people sitting, as if in need of someone else to push them. And while that's super fine, making the assumption that people with disabilities automatically need the help of non-disabled people is not cool, yo.
What do you think? How could this project be better, or go further?