Classroom interactive material focused on empowering 8 to 12-year-old boys to challenge hypermasculinity, give them a safe space to express vulnerability and allow them to communicate their feelings in other ways than aggression.
Hypermasculinity: is the psychological term for the exaggeration of stereotypical male behavior, such as an emphasis on physical strength, aggression, and sexuality.
Design for social change | Design research | Systems design | Service design
TEAM PROJECT | 4 MONTHS
In collaboration with Evie Cheung, Carly Simmons, Zihan Chen & Hannah Rudin.
We focused on this age group because it is at this age when they get their first health and sexual education courses, while these courses touch on the biological changes, they lack the emotional aspect of growing up. As boys grow older, it becomes less acceptable to show any other emotion than aggression or confidence; often being pressured to become manly men. The consequences, later on, can be traced to the increased suicide rates in men (76% of suicides are men), violence towards women and the prevalence of rape culture.
Being a boy seeks to fill this gap, proving boys with the opportunity to express their feelings and hopefully grow up into emotionally and mentally healthy adults.
RESEARCH & INSIGHTS
We talked to several experts about the current state of sexual education, what problems they have encountered as parents, teachers, and activists, but most importantly what they believed has worked and how can we build on it. We concluded that boys want and seek these conversations, they won't relate to constraints in behavior but will seek expression, we shouldn't tell them what to think, instead encourage them to find the answer themselves and think internally.
Our research question evolved several times during the project. We were constantly reframing and iterating based on insights from experts and potential users.
After testing with several boys and teachers, we discovered boys were eager to talk about feelings, they just had no space to do so. We also learned they liked the activities were you could build, hack and have a physical activity that corresponds to their feelings. A paper airplane and a mask were their favorite activities because they were making decisions on what they value and starting conversations with peers.
Currently working on expanding the content and activities based on feedback from users (boys age 8-10), parents, educators, as well as, sexual health activists. Being A Boy is divided into five sections: Feelings, Identity, Friendships, Role Models, and Crushes.