Winter Semester 2020/21
Prof. Petra Müller-Csernetzky
With gaining prominence of different gender identities in the 21st century, there is still an awareness gap in society regarding the use of gender-neutral terminology. It is well established that representations of individuals are mostly in terms of binary. It has its foundation in a lack of awareness, assumptions, and dualistic models. And the language is one such result of evolution that holds immeasurable power to provide representation. This study investigates the question of how to playfully and continuously teach the use of the English language while developing sensitivity towards gender-neutral pronouns to integrate different identities in society.
To test our hypothesis of developing sensitivity towards neutral vocabulary, we focused on designing an artifact that helped
by playfully teaching gender-neutral pronouns. Following the design methodology of Research through Design (Frayling, 1993), a card game was created to promote the usage of gender- neutral terminologies. To examine the feasibility of the game, different prototypes were implemented. Structured interviews were conducted with 30 participants from nine countries with an age range of 18-36. Codifying and analyzing the qualitative and quantitative data gathered during the design process supported the aesthetic decisions made for the project‘s final solution. These aspects helped in gaining clarity and a better understanding of target-users along with the working of the prototype.
Our analysis suggests a correlation between awareness of inclusive language and the practice of using gender-neutral pronouns. We conclude that accepting the habit of using neutral pronouns gives a better chance to integrate of various identities in society. Further research, however, is needed to improve the solution in terms of target groups and accessibility. Although allegedly efficient regarding enhancing gender-awareness, the scope demands more consistent and continuous reflections about its outreach. Due to deadline and pandemic restrictions, it was not possible to amplify the project target-range and precisely test its implications. Neither was it available to implement a virtual version of it.