“The Genderbread Person”

Image found on google.

There’s a part in the article that I really want to illustrate well because I think it’s a really interesting analogy and could create an interesting spread in the article. Initially, I experimented it with using typography but I did have another idea of using photography and illustration combined. However, with the direction my article is heading, I think that it wouldn’t work using illustrations because it would detract from the photography already used in the article.

I would still like to use photography for this piece. Another idea I had was to take photos of people partly undressed; I asked around for volunteers and I have friends that I have taken photos of before who would have been willing but due to time span, it isn’t possible to be able to meet them to take photos in time for the end of this project. Last year, I had taken photos as part of my project for college which was about de-sexualising the body (however, they were never used for the actual submission of the project). There is one particular image I think would be good to use and I have spoken to the person who is in the image and she has given me permission to use the photo.

“In trans circles, it is a given that sexual orientation and gender identity are separate matters. It can be hard for some of us to imagine a sexuality that is not inextricably linked to our gender. But Tony often makes reference to a handy pictorial that was designed by trans activists. The Genderbread Person, shaped like a gingerbread man, has a cartoon heart denoting “sexual orientation”; a cartoon brain, for “gender identity”; a crotch area that represents “biological sex”; and a dotted line, surrounding the figure, that signifies “gender expression”—how you present yourself to the world, in behaviour and dress.”

The quote describes quite a clear description of what ‘The Genderbread Person’ looks like so it would be quite easy to just draw it but it is an image that has already been designed so it wouldn’t be my work. Also, I want to stick to using photography as the main visual theme throughout the article and I feel that it wouldn’t look right if I were to use an illustration. This particular image has no visual identity of who the person is and I think that it is a strong visual of just presenting the body as biological sex because we don’t need the face to know that the photo is of a woman. This image tells you nothing of the sexual orientation of the person, it is a visual of a woman identifying as a woman (feminine jewellery and clothing). It is separating the meaning of sexual orientation and gender identity as two different things – which is what the ‘The Genderbread Person’ is doing. People often mistake these things as the same or linked.

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Placing on the article

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Initially, I looked at keeping the pink colour theme so I created this colour block on the page covering her body. I like that you can see she’s naked and it is still quite clearly a she but the main part of her in covered. The page does have a lot going on and the text definitely needs to be reduced so I tried other variations of how the text should be positioned. I also looked at making the quote a lot larger so spanning the whole page which would make sense since the photo is primarily about that. I like the idea of doing this in an experimental way – so enlarging particular words in the quotes I felt were the most important.

I did initially think I should have the image partly covered but then this image is a visual to separate gender identity from sexual orientation so it makes more sense to have it fully shown. I think the spread works well have just the quote and photo side-by-side, no other images.

Looking at the article as a whole – so all 6 pages – I felt that it was very much the same and even though it needed to follow the same visual theme, using a photo as the background for each spread was too much the same and I felt that it need a bit of a break.

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I added a blank page to place the quote on and then moved the image so that you could only see half of the body. Visually, I like the separation of the two pages because I felt that it showed the spread was still linked but added pace to how it should be read. I chose to use the colour orange because I felt that it worked well with the image and I like that it’s a warm colour. I think that the typography could be improved, I like that there is boldness to certain words because at a first glance the most important words are what you see first but it seems a bit too messy and busy at the moment. Below are a couple of examples of quick experiments with type. I like the separation of the two pages so this is something I will definitely be continuing with.

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Author: ellenreiddesign

First year Graphic Communication student at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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