NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS : concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Full concept/idea title
A 3D sexual education kit for breaking taboos about female sexual organs
In 2020, 84% of 13 years old girls did not know how to draw their own sexual organs. This lack of knowledge has many effects on women’s health, autonomy and fulfilment. To address this issue, the toolkit “Revulving” offers comprehensive tools to represent female reproductive and sexual organs in 3D and to explain their specific functions. Designed for and with teachers, health professionals and non-profit organizations, this kit helps to break taboos for an audience of men and women of all ages.
Where is your concept/idea being developed or intended to be implemented in the EU?
Pays de la Loire
8 boulevard de Launay
II. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea
Even today, female reproductive and sexual organs are subject to taboos which hinder women from gaining knowledge and feel a sense of ownership of their bodies. This unfamiliarity is limiting their access to health care, such as treatments, contraception, abortion, and to a satisfying, respectful and respected sexuality. Therefore, this ignorance is limiting their physical and psychological well-being, their autonomy and emancipation.
It is stunning to notice the lack of relevant and complete teaching aid explaining the physiology of female reproductive and sexual organs. However, United Nations has emphasised the significance of emotional and sexual education as a major vector for achieving gender equality and equal rights for womens and mens in our society.
In order to solve this lack of awareness, I designed a set of mediating tools about female reproductive and sexual organs to explain their functions. Designed to establish dialog, this kit is meant to be used by professionals who are addressing issues about female sexual organs in several contexts : a medical consultation, a sex education class, an awareness-raising event organised by a non-profit organization. Depending on the broached subjects, the kit can be used with children, teenagers or adults, women and men taken together.
Made up of 12 objects representing the main parts of the female genital system (vulva, vagina, perineum, clitoris, uterus, endometrium, various cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries), the kit is delivered with a stand enabling to assemble them with each other and to visualize their location as in a real body.
With this kit, we can explain a complete menstrual cycle, the set up of an intra uterine device (IUD) or describe perineum’s location when re-education is required.
These 12 organ-objects are designed to be handled and for role-playing. Dramatization helps to break shyness or embarrassment and shift focus away from initial taboos.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of sustainability and how these would be met
Our first aim was to design a low-tech educational tool to support a network of professionals and volunteers who are already involved in sharing knowledge on female genitalia. By encouraging conversation and overcoming taboos, Revulving aims for knowledge to be passed on, in a more oral and immaterial way, from peer to peer.
Revulving was designed with a sustainable mindset, as all the elements of the kit are:
washable (canvas or plastic), repairable (sewing), easily replaceable and improvable so they fit a specific use;
co-designed (with actors of sexual education : teachers, gynaecologist, midwife, socio-sexologist), to match every context or purpose of use, and tailored to be accepted by any audience;
frugal in material, and low-tech: all textile items (perineum, vulva, vagina, uterus, one ovary) are hand-sewn. The plastic elements (fallopian tubes, uterus, other ovary) are repurposed materials (PVC pipe, joints, fly baby) in order to avoid having to craft purpose-made plastic moulds;
light and easy to package and transport;
manufactured in small batches by ethical, human and environment-minded small-business, and when possible, locally by social integration businesses, charities, FabLabs or nonprofits;
easily craftable by anyone with a thimble, a needle and basic sewing knowledge. The do-it-yourself approach allows for people to feel empowered, contributing to their autonomy, creativity and resilience.
Furthermore, the purpose of the Revulving kit is to further gender equality, set forward as one of the key factors for sustainable development by the United Nations.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met
Our main challenge with Revulving was to work around the fears a realistic representation of the body might cause. I therefore chose to focus on the functions of the organs rather than their genuine colors and texture. The forms of the organs are hence schematic and on an 1:1 scale so that one can perceive the location of each organ within the genital apparatus, and more globally in the pelvis.
The idea is to represent via functional analogy. For instance, the strength of the climbing rope evokes the perineum’s, a network of essential muscles one must take care of. Another illustration of the functional analogy are the ovaries, which from birth, contain all of a woman’s ovocytes - none other will be produced in the course of her life. Therefore, one of the ovaries is represented by a small bag of marbles, like a finite stock. The second ovary is represented as a small pump which would expel the mature egg.
The plasticity of the objects serve a learning purpose, conveying information without having to voice it, only via the senses.
The materials used are comforting, imparting the objects with an appealing quality, which makes the audience want to manipulate them. They can be looked at from every angle so one can try and understand how they interlock, like one would with a building set.
This approach is an effective way to help young pupils and teenagers get over the fear or the repulsion of touching an object representing a vagina.
The emphasis on volume also tries to break with the 2-dimension frontal representation of the female genitalia, with the ovaries on each side and the uterus above the vagina. This leads to misunderstandings, for instance: the uterus is not in the exact continuity of the vagina, a fact that only becomes clear on a 3-D model. This, in turn, can help understand the pain caused by a woman during an IUD insertion procedure.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion and how these would be been met
The Revulving project is socially inclusive in many ways:
its long-term goal is to promote gender equality, by empowering women with regards their own bodies. By doing so, it enables them further to make enlightened choices on topics such as birth control, family planning and sexuality. Sexuality is not just a private matter, it is a political one too. Women’s self-confidence is essential for them to take their full place in society.
Revulving is not intended solely for women, but for the whole society. A better collective understanding of the specificity of female sexual health is a major political issue in that it can help improve women rights: menstrual paid leave, free access to or tax-free menstrual kits (e.g.: Scotland), paid leave after a miscarriage (e.g.: New Zealand), etc.
Inclusion of audiences with disabilities : the project can be used by educators working with hearing-impaired children - little information being available for them - and visually impaired children - feeling to understand, 3D objects.
Inclusion of future users via a co-design method involving health and education professionals (interdisciplinarity, design for education, design for healthcare, design for social work)
Inclusion via an open-source model : the business model includes a free and open-source distribution of the blueprints in addition to the sales of small-scale batches
Inclusion for each link of the Revulving project chain : workers who will manufacture the kit’s objects will get female sexual health sensibilisation courses.
Please explain the innovative character of your concept/ idea
The first innovation of Revulving is to offer a mediation toolkit in a field where scarcely anything has been designed for the general public. Teachers interviewed have voiced frustration from the lack of available tools to support captivating and non-moralizing sexual education courses. More generally, women interviewed explained suffering from the lack of explanations when consulting a health professional.
To allow for a broader distribution the kit will be packaged in 2 formats:
a ready-made educational package, handmade in France, which most doctors and teachers prefer
free, open source blueprints to make your own kit at a lesser cost, anywhere in the world. This kit is easily replicable with recovered items and sewn elements.
Currently, for want of a better alternative, sexual education practicians are using anatomical figures or sextoys as teaching tools. Both are unappropriate. Current anatomical objects have been thought as a means to teach the subject to future health professionals. They have been designed to look like real bodies and real organs. Visually, they are showing too many details, are more complicated to understand for the general public and can generate discomfort among audiences.
As for sextoys, they are visually aiming at displaying performance, play and technique. Using them as an educational tool can generate exclusion, inhibitions and complexes.
The Revulving kit is also innovative because it reveals organs which have been deliberately unshown, hidden or mis-represented for centuries as a counter-shape to male genitalia. Revulving was born in march 2017, and is clearly in line with the grievances of the Metoo movement. It isn’t easy to talk about sexual aggression or harassment. To a lesser extent, it’s also not easy to pronounce the words vulva, vagina, clitoris, menstruation, vaginal discharge… Yet it is the daily life of more than half of the world’s population.
Please detail the plans you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea, with a particular attention to the initiatives to be taken before May 2022
Initially, I designed this project for my Masters degree at ENSCI-Les Ateliers (based in Paris and partner of the New European Bauhaus).
Now, the kit is at its prototype stage. The business model, especially around manufacturing and distribution phases is still to be defined. Nevertheless, the project is already gathering a strong and enthusiastic community of professionals from various horizons (1500 on Facebook, 600 on Instagram, 300 on Twitter) ready or in demand to get and use this kit.
The next steps for the coming year :
DESIGN / PRODUCTION
- BETA TEST : produce 20 kits, write a user guide and launch a beta test with various professionnals (gynaecologists, obstetricians, midwifes, doctors, family planning clinics, sexologists, biology teachers, school nurses, feminist non-profit organizations…) in different contexts (social, geographical…) and with a diversity of audiences (childrens, teenagers, adults, women, men, non-binary…) + DOCUMENT these beta tests + FEEDBACK via surveys of the user’s experience
- ITERATION / IMPROVEMENT of the kit depending on beta test’s results ;
- Manufacturing preparation: process rationalisation, materials, assembly… ;
- SALE of the 300 first self-produced kits (with an earlybird presale system to generate a cash-flow to cover production costs).
- REGISTER Les Parleuses / Revulving as a non-profit organization
- DEFINE THE BUSINESS MODEL and its offers (sell of readymade manufactured kits, training courses on how to use the kit, DIY courses using the blueprints) ;
- IDENTIFY and set-up a scientific council/committee/board responsible for the accuracy and latest scientific developments ;
- GRANTS AND FUNDING: sponsorship, participative financing campaign…
- DEFINE THE GRAPHICAL IDENTITY (with a professional graphist)
- UPDATE THE WEBSITE https://www.lesparleuses.fr/
- PUBLISH CONTENT and animate the user’s community following the project on social medias
III. UPLOAD PICTURES
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Rising Stars Awards more than once in the same category.
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