In May 2018 I had the pleasure to go on a two week art residency looking at gender norms in the media and challenging stereotypes through comic strips with Nomadways.
We are surrounded by gender. It manifests itself as a pattern of relations that develop over time to define male and female, masculinity and femininity, simultaneously structuring and regulating people’s relation to society. Gender is embedded in our institutions, our actions, our beliefs, and our desires. It is rooted in the family, the neighbourhood, church, school, the media, walking down the street, eating in a restaurant, going to the restroom. Gender is asymmetrical. Whatever a person may feel about their current position on the social ladder, there is no question that male and female are not simply two equal sides of a coin. Inequality is built into gender at a very basic level, and what we experience as individuals emerges within a far-reaching social order that oppresses each of us. While the world is still obsessed with the continual differentiation of male and female, it is our job as activists, youth workers, scholars and artists to examine gender from a new perspective and research how this dichotomy came to be seen as common sense and contribute to our oppression. With our comics we wanted to look beyond the gender binary and try to reappropriate it.