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Publication of the children’s book “Feminism is for Boys”

Elizabeth Rhodes, a UX designer in the U.S., created and published the children's book "Feminism is for Boys" in order to show gender equality.

 

 

 

Wacom supports individual projects while respecting the interests/concerns of team members (employees). A project by Elizabeth Rhodes used this program in part.


Elizabeth is on the UX design team in the U.S. She published a children's book "Feminism is for Boys" for children 0-4 years of age to show gender equality. Her activities made us aware of new possibilities for Lifelong Ink. Here is an interview with her about her project, which drew on her experience as an UX designer at Wacom.


What inspired you to publish the children's book "Feminism is for Boys"?

I got my first inspiration when I met my partner. He was the first in our family to call himself a feminist. When I first met him, I was still oblivious to the complexity of the ways our society was failing me as a woman. I was still at a place in my life where I thought I needed to change or hide the parts of me that didn’t fit into our culture's expectation of what it means to be a woman. My relationship with him was the first where I felt that I was an equal, where I was met with acceptance, respect, and encouragement of my true self. He became a huge part of my emotional and mental growth. He helped me to have confidence in who I was, and to use that confidence to stand up against unfair treatment.

 

In 2017, we became parents. We filled our child’s bookshelf with feminist and inclusive books and read them as often as possible. One thing we found is that many parents we knew (even those who identified as feminists) were having a difficult time understanding how to teach Feminism to their boys. Additionally, we found that many men - friends and family - didn’t understand that they too were welcome in feminism. We found this to be a huge problem. You see, if we wanted the world that our child was growing up in to be successful in achieving equality, we knew there had to be a bridge to help people close the gap on their understanding of who feminism was for - which is everyone of course. So we decided to build a piece of that bridge and came up with the concept for the book "Feminism is for Boys."

 

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How did you draw on your professional skill and experience as a designer?

At Wacom, my focus is user experience design, with the majority of my projects revolving around web-based media. My years of work in this field have allowed me to practice the communication of complex ideas in simple organized ways. With that in mind, I decided the best way to teach the complex ideas surrounding feminism to parents and young children alike, would be to create a children’s book. I also specifically decided to create a picture book to utilize my illustration skills, knowing this would be a great opportunity to use a simple, iconographic style to help relay quick visual ideas to children who may not even be able to understand language just yet.

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Were there any difficulties or challenges to creating a book?

Having never done something like this before, I believe the biggest challenge was learning the industry of children’s books and navigating how to go about getting it professionally published. Not only that, but also navigating this territory while having a very busy home life as I had just become a first-time mother. Luckily, I was able to publish this book through a partnership with Mascot Books that does what is known as hybrid publishing.

I also appreciate that Wacom respects the interests of individuals. I was able to create this book by partially using the company's program, which supports individual projects. Wacom Intuos Pro was indispensable in the design of the book and creating illustrations. This product also supported the project.

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What sort of reactions did you get from readers?

I got overwhelmingly positive reactions. We are finding so many people connecting to even just the title, that Feminism is for Boys. It is incredible to see how many people needed to see or hear that phrase. As feminists, so many of us have come up against people who disagree with feminism because they believe it is anti-man. This book is giving people a chance to better approach this opposition.
It has given us the opportunity to also engage negativity on our social media outlets - and surprisingly enough, they often end on a very positive note. Many of the people seem to be caught off guard by an account that supports feminism AND boys, all at the same time. They may not always agree with our understanding of the term feminism, but we can find common ground in supporting children’s emotions, interests, friendships, and the belief that we all deserve to be treated equal. Hopefully, the work we have done engaging these people will help to set the ground work for them to be more open to hearing the reality of the inequality issues that exist today.

What are your plans for the future?

 

This project has led to many connections to people and ideas that I didn’t have access to previously. Through those connections, I hope to take on new projects within the category of gender equality and inclusivity. Although I would like to do more books in the future, I think the next project may be even more connected with my UX design experience. I plan to continue to use my expertise to help move our culture to a more accepting and supportive version of itself for all people.

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