CONFLICT OF INTEREST: gender versus popculture (2015)
Gender is a contemporary subject within conflicts (of interest). There is a trend to reflect on it within art, fashion, social and political contexts: regarding both sexuality and gender roles. (My own social given composition gave me recognition to which I am), a woman who is attracted to women, but when I went out of this structure I was confronted with the conflict of gender. I find it interesting how the discussion around this conflict can heat up; the contradistinction of the social given positions of different genders is still really big in Europe, Holland or even a city like Eindhoven.
Gender issues versus the online pop-culture
In our digital era people get their information through the internet, their identity and opinion is based on what they find online. Where it used to be based on what the church said. The fact that people create their identity on what they find online they don’t have just one source but hundreds, and because of that they will collect small part of the story and not the whole.
This also reflects on the online pop culture, a culture mainly taken part by teenagers on the social networking website tumblr. These teenagers express themselves by creating images where they are playing with gender. Girls show of their hairy underarms and boys wearing nothing more then furry pink underpants. They see this as art, as a freedom of identity, but they are not aware about the issues around the subject gender they are playing with.
How can I reach teenagers in the western culture, and reduce the slackness towards gender?
This generation is visually oriented; both digitally as in clothing, clothes are a big part of their identity. So how can I reach these teens through fashion?
Every once in a while you have awareness campaigns at H&M, like ‘fashion against Aids’. It’s their way to ask attention about social subjects. Can I visualize the conflict of the online pop-culture versus gender issues in western culture to create a discussion about gender and create awareness within the Western culture that we are far from a ‘perfect’ gender-accepted society? To let them realize they shouldn’t have a lax attitude and say ‘everything is already perfect’ in the western culture. But stand up for equal rights and opportunities when it comes to gender.
What is the influence of the online pop-culture on the view on gender under teenagers in the western culture?
The fact that the media has a huge influence on people’s identity, and that these teenagers grow up in a digital era, shows how big the impact is of the online pop-culture towards this generation. It’s the medium they base their identity on.
And all kind of online media adapt to each other to fit in the expectations of these teenager, Facebook also did. They started to give you the possibility to choose between 72 genders instead of one. To they create a broader perspective towards gender identities, or do they create more and more corners to put people in, and by that create more ambiguities?
The fact that people adapt and adapt continuously, in a time that everything goes really fast, the question is if people are really aware of these changes or do they just copy to fit in the trends?
Are these teenagers aware that in all kind of layers in society people still get discriminated by their gender, or do they look to gender in a superficial way, because that is the way gender is shown in the online pop-culture? This online pop-culture is maybe the only thing they see, and then they don’t realise there is way more then that, in all kind of layers in society and vision and opinions towards gender.