Our second semester project dealt with the female body ideals – the ideals and the reality of how we look.
We were concerned about the tendency among women to believe that they had to look a certain way in order to feel good enough – eating disorders, surgery, women not wanting to show even their significant other how they look. We wanted to create events which might help to reduce this problem.
What we did:
We did surveys and interviews and took photographs of normal women encountered on the street – asked them how they felt about themselves. As my partner was Romanian, she looked into the cultural differences.
Meanwhile, I talked to naturists and life models, looking for ways in which engaging in these activities had helped them feel more relaxed about their bodies.
We looked into theories around self-image, social comparison, external gaze and regard and experience design and effect measuring models. We conducted market research, made personas and sketched a marketing campaign – viral marketing via coloured post-its.
We made an exhibition which encouraged people to leave positive comments for the natural, normal women we had photographed. Doing this, people would engage in a conversation with the unknown women, and hopefully also with themselves.
We also planned a small scale event where women who were a bit curious could experience relaxation, good food, take turns at life modelling and could go skinny dipping and just experience that the naked body was not dangerous, nor in itself had to be sexual. Engaging in these activities would let women see that everyone sees them differently and that nobody else is perfect either.
The market research relating to the last product suggested that up to 50 percent of women would like to go, especially if they had a friend who was going. This was rather surprising, so although it remains a niche product, it does seem to be possible.