Day 4 | Challenge stereotypes | Make an avatar

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From 25 Nov to 10 Dec, Take Back The Tech! invites you to take one action per day to end violence against women. Each daily action explores an issue of violence against women and its interconnection with communication rights, and approaches different communication platforms - online and off - in creative and tactical ways.Take Back The Tech! End violence against women.

Day 4 | Challenge stereotypes | Make an avatar





We are often judged by our appearances. Sometimes what we wear, the way we carry ourselves and even the length or visibility of our hair in particular spaces erases who we are as individuals. We become instead, stereotypes that fit into particular ideas of how women and men should be. Instead of people with different thoughts, opinions, experiences and lives, we become convenient paper dolls that call for certain types of responses. 

 

These visual markers do not just run on the lines of gender, they also cut across categories such as ethnicity, sexuality, able-bodiedness, age and more, which is turn shifts according to contexts. A woman with long hair sitting by herself in a bar wearing a short skirt is assumed to be sexually available. When she is raped, we think to ourselves, maybe she deserved it. A woman in a head scarf walking next to a man on the street is assumed to be oppressed. When she takes off her scarf, we think to ourselves, she must be progressive. 

 

Challenge our own stereotypes and the images that perpetuate them. Make an avatar! 

 

1. Think of stereotypes

  • What are our own stereotypes about women and men?
  • What are the markers which turns them from actual people into mere objects? Gender? Clothes? Age? Place?
  • List them down.
  • It might be easier to write it up as a situation you are in, especially if it actually happened. Maybe it's when someone treated you according to a stereotype, or when you responded to someone as a stereotype.
  • E.g. Being called "girlie" by an elderly stranger. Walking past a police officer in uniform down the street and giving him a face because you assumed he was abusive of his power. 

2. Make an avatar

  • In computing terms, an avatar is commonly used to refer to the visual representation of the self, usually in the form of an icon, image, text or 3D model. The term is borrowed from the Sanskrit word for "form of self", used in many Indian languages.
  •  Make an avatar that challenges the stereotype you identified.
  • Change their gender, clothes, bodies and more.
  • There are many free avatar creators online. These are just some we've tried out. 

a) Minidolls

  • Go to Minidolls - an online service that lets you create and save avatars
  • Click on each of the category to change them. This application allows you to change the background, your body and clothes, and add another person or even a pet. Click on different tabs to change her/his gender.
  • When you're done, click on the button that says "GIF", and then "save". Save the image on your computer. 

b) Doppelme

  • Or if you prefer, you can also go to Doppelme, which is another online service that lets you create avatars and stores it for you.
  • You have to register to use this service. We've created a takebackthetech account for all campaigners in case you don't want to register for an account. Send us an email if you'd like to use the shared account.
  • Sign in and start making your avatar by clicking the options. You can change the avatar's gender, skin colour, expression, hair, clothes, background and more.
  • Once you're done, click "I'm done". You'll be taken to your profile page where your avatar is.
  • Click on "Quick code" to get the html link to your avatar 

c) Draw it

  • If you don't want to be limited by the options given, simply draw your avatar using paper, pencil and some colour.
  • Once you're done, take a picture of it with your camera or mobile phone, or scan it if you have a scanner.
  • Save that on your computer.

3. Add word bubbles

  • You can also use words to further disrupt the stereotype. Give your avatar a voice and opinion.
  • Go to Kyolo and add a speech bubble! 
  • Upload your picture by locating it on your computer, or adding the URL (in the html link, it's the one that appears after "img src" and looks like this "http://www.doppelme....../Avatar.gif"
  • Upload the image and add a speech bubble. You can change the size of the bubble and the font by clicking on the options.
  • To save the image, you have to sign up an account with Kyolo.
  • Again, you can sign up an account with them, or opt to use our shared account. The username and password is the same as the one we used for Doppelme.
  • You can also use print screen to save the picture (without signing in). Save the image on your computer, and crop it so it's just showing the avatar. Then crop the image using an image editor like GIMP, or even on Microsoft word.

 Here's an avatar we made over at Kyolo.

 

4. Share it

  • How are we shaking up stereotypes? Share your avatar!
  • Create an account on this site, or login if you already have an account.
  • If you saved your image on your computer, login to this site, click on "create content", then "image" to upload it.
  • If you set up an account on Kyolo, copy the link that says "Code 2 for blogs/forums", and paste the code on the comment section of this page. 

Have fun experimenting :) 

Take Back The Tech & shatter stereotypes!

Day 4 | Challenge Stereotypes | Make an avatar! "I don't have to show my boobs to be taken seriously as a gamer right?"

  

 

 

Comments

Doppleme

"Charlie" (Charlotte)

muy moña, ¿no? - Aren't I cute?

muy mona ¿no?My daughter also helped her dad to make an avatar.  She offered to make it for him, but he assured her that after seeing her go through every. single. image. and. combination possible he'd kinda gotten the drift. No need to translate or help out. 

He called his avatar "Mona" - which can be a name or mean "cute woman-cutie".  When he was finished I asked him what he was trying to say with his avatar, and he said - It's not what I'm saying, it's about what YOU think when you see him/her, and what Mona saying "Aren't I cute?" makes YOU think.

Hmmmm. What does Mona make you think????

We came up against a technical problem when making Mona, too. For some reason, tho s/he appeared with hearts in the background, every time we saved her image in doppelme the hearts disappeared.  My daughter asked, Why can't he have hearts?!!  And all of us gasped, thinking we had some heart-censoring for male-identified avatars going on over at the doppelme system!!... but no, the hearts didn't appear when Mona identified as female either.  false alarm!

By the way, those folks over at doppelme seem very interesting. have to admit I love that the doppelme avatars don't have super cleavage, muscle monsters, or cinched waists. And the definition of doppel was interesting, too:

Dop⋅pel⋅gäng⋅er [dop-uhl-gang-er; Ger. daw-puhl-geng-er] 

–noun: a ghostly double or counterpart of a living person. origin: 1850–55; < G: lit., double-walker

 

So I love dogs okay, what's it to you! (and privacy)

So I love dogs, what's it to you?!K. explored every single option available to her in doppelme. We mus admit serious interest in the superman outfit. But you had to have 8 points for that one. And how do you get points in doppleme?  By referring other people to doppleme to make their avatars. And what is doppelme's privacy policy????  Well, it is posted, but it doesn't say what it does with the information when you refer someone to the site.  It does say: 

Information is collected for the following purposes:

Completing an activity or transaction
Website and system administration
Research and Development
Tailoring content according to user interests
Contact users for marketing

The following organizations have access to the information we collect.

Ourselves

Our web site uses cookies to enhance how it operates and ensure we better serve our visitors.

Okay, I can deal with cookies, am glad to see that supposedly they are the absolute only ones who see the information that they collect - that seems to imply they don't sell it or give it to anyone else.  But that "contact users for marketing" makes me nervous and think SPAM..... Soo, we sent off a quick email to the folks over at doppelme to ask them to be a bit more explicit about privacy and point-plumping referrals (so we can make our cool supergirl avatar) and also how much contacting for marketing they might be doing.  We'll see what they have to say.

And meanwhile, tho frustrated by the limitation to only ONE accessory for her avatar, my daughter had no trouble choosing the top priority - a puppy dog - and thus her avatar says "So I love dogs, WHAT'S IT TO YOU?!"

(k. is with me as I type this and says, can you add something? I ask, what? and she says: Doggies are sooo cute.  My daughter has a one track mind.)

 

¡Y no soy ñoña!

Made avatars last nigI'm no nerd! I'm brilliant AND fun!ht with the family and compadres. My daughter read out loud the Daily Action. She cracked us all up when she finished, saying, 'I just don't get one thing, so what are stereotypes?' We had a discussion on gender stereotypes as well as cultural ones, but before we could get too deep K. plunged into dobbleme to get started on  her avatar, translating the programme for my comadre as she went along.  Once she saw how straightforward it was despite the English, my comadre chose to have her avatar toting a laptop at the beach, saying "No soy ñoña, soy brillante Y divertida."   I had a hard time getting her point - ñoña, she said, means nerd or geek. And the avatar was saying with defiance, I'm no nerd!!  I said, so what's wrong with being a geek?  My comadre said that was her whole point.  The problem with ñoñas are that stereotypically they are always closed up in with their computers (my comadre was quick to tell me, with no offense at all intended), only interested in being first in the class or studying, with no social life or life at all. She says you can be nerdy and have lots of fun, too. Being smart and skilled with technology doesn't mean that you aren't social.

Desafiando los estereotipos

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