In seminar my research question is how gender roles affect contraceptive use. I came across the information about how young adults are the leading group to get STDs, and a huge part of this is due to gender roles and how it’s more of an act of persuasion for women to ask their sexual partner to use a condom rather than a shared responsibility. I then wanted to think of a system to empower women to be the ones who take charge in relationships and make sure to use condoms.
This system in studio class is going to be intervening in the major condom brand Trojan by introducing Trojan Discreet. Trojan Discreet is going to be sold like regular trojan condoms however the packaging of the actual condoms will be different. The condoms will come in a small cylinder tin unlike the usual plastic tight wrapped condoms. The condom containers don’t resemble the regular condom packaging and if anything they resemble something you would carry in your purse like mints of some sort. This aspect of it was made specifically for women to feel empowered to carry these in their purse or on them wherever they go so that when the time comes, they feel comfortable to pull out their Trojan Discreet.
For the actual system I made the box that the 12 condoms come in, the tin packaging for the individual condoms, and lastly a poster advertisement that has a statistic about STDs while also promoting Trojan Discreet.
The purpose of this system is to challenge the gender roles of who should be carrying condoms in relationships. My goal is too impact women who when the time comes are hesitant and self conscious to ask their partner to wear a condom. Many people believe that it should be the man’s responsibility to wear a condom because he is the one wearing it, however, this role should be shared and shouldn’t be only the males choice whether or not he wears one. Condoms that are marketed towards women will help empower them to feel like it’s their responsibility and their choice as well.
This system relates to my research question because Trojan Discreet challenges the exact gender roles I’m researching. My research findings indicate that a huge reason for women not asking men to wear condoms is because it is more of an act of persuasion rather than a shared responsibility. My system challenges this problem.
One of the main parts of my research that led me to create this system was when I was finding information on why people in sexual relationships don’t wear condoms. I found that the confidence gap (Where men are more confident and women are more self conscious when asked to hold authority) is one of the main reasons to why condoms aren’t being used. Women have trouble voicing that they want their partner to wear a condom and I knew that after knowing this I wanted to find a way where this would be easier for them. Women shouldn’t have to worry that their partner might say no, instead they should be the ones who insist they wear the condoms, and by having them readily available it makes it easier for them.
After knowing that I wanted to market condoms towards women I also thought of how the system should be designed. I thought the color of the box/packaging/ad should be a purple/pink color so that it really states that it is also for women. I knew that the packaging should be different so that women would feel no discomfort in carrying the condoms in their purse or wallet. Having discreet individual packaging leaves women feeling more confident in carrying them anywhere. Lastly, I wanted to make STDs more aware by everyone especially women so I created the ad that says “1 in 5 Americans have genital herpes, 90% are unaware they have it.” This statistic in particular is the most terrifying because even if someone says they don’t have any STDs they could still have it and just be unaware. The ad also promotes Trojan Discrete as a way to reach out to women more.
My audience is women ages ranging from 15-24. The most successful way a person would be able to engage with my prototype would be to carry the condoms on them and/or use them. Realistically if I wanted feedback from my audience I would probably create a survey asking the intended audience how they would feel purchasing, carrying, and using the prototype and also how the advertisements affected them. Or I will ask for people to write honest feedback of the prototype and how each product affects them.
I talked to 10+ women on how my system would make them feel and how it would affect them. These are quotes from some of the women I spoke with.
“The statistic is really powerful because 1 in 5 is a HUGE percentage. If I was sexually active with multiple people at a different time then I would carry condoms like these. (On the individual packaging of the condoms) Yes I think it is effect because they are discreet enough to be used when wanted, not as a message that you want sex. It gives the woman the ability to use them when wanted.”
“They’re cute looking but maybe if you want the individual packaging to be more discreet then you could take off the trojan logo on it because it kind of makes it obvious that it is the condom brand. However if it’s in your purse then it probably wouldn’t be that noticeable at all.”
“They would make me feel more secure if I were to be put in the situation where I wanted to partake in protected sex.”
“Since the ‘Genital Herpes’ is in all caps and is meant to catch the eye of viewers, it does make it effective in terms of making it aware to me.”
“I believe the system would have a positive impact in terms of the double standard that men are usually the ones with condoms instead of women; the system is partially empowering due to it tapping into gender equality.”
“I think it’s important to have these condoms, especially the poster and how they’re marketed specifically to women.”
“The fact 90% are unaware they have it is almost too scary to be true”