From "leaning in" to "having it all," it can sometimes be hard to keep track of where we have and haven't made progress when it comes to gender roles. A new project however, simplifies everyday gender stereotypes, making it impossible to ignore their negative implications.
A new book from Taschen titled Man Meets Woman, features simple green and pink pictograms by Beijing-born, Berlin-based designer Yang Liu that examine modern gender roles. The 38-year-old uses minimalist imagery to illustrate a complex culture of gender stereotyping. The end result is an effective commentary on everyday sexism found in the workplace, during parenthood and even in the bedroom.
"Women today are trying very hard to fight against [these] stereotypes, which is a very important process on the way to reach the equality between the genders. And there's still many things to be done," Liu told The Huffington Post. "But on [the] other hand, during this process, we become scared to face to the fact that men and women are just different in many aspects."
"As a working wife and mother, I am compelled to realize time and time again how many minor and major differences exist between men and women, despite today's ongoing debate on the subject and the constant redefinition of male and female roles," Liu writes in the introduction to Man Meets Woman. "Many of these differences arise out of traditional gender models and are dictated by social and professional structures."
Some of the pictograms are straightforward, illustrating the differences in everyday female and male experiences that point to problematic gendered stereotypes such as the gender pay gap. Others however, take a more tongue-in-cheek approach to comparing uncomfortable realities -- such as the fact that the depiction of women is the same in both men's and women's magazines.
In her introduction, Liu encourages readers to look past what may be accepted as the norm and prompts them to question where these gender stereotypes come from. A man doing housework and taking care of his children is a "modern man," yet a woman doing the same is deemed a "housewife." A woman's self-image is drastically exaggerated, while a man's is slightly the opposite. A man might feel he should exaggerate the number of sexual partners he has had or wants to have, while a woman might think she needs to minimize her "number."
There is a reason a person's gender fundamentally impacts the way she or he experiences the world, and while Liu presents some of the problems that arise from strict gender roles, she doesn't necessarily offer prescriptions to fix them, leaving it to the reader to consider solutions on a small scale.
"With this little book I would like to present a visual documentary of my personal views on the subject of communication between men and women," Liu writes. "I thereby hope to be able to encourage all of us to approach this subject with a little more humor and, in our daily interactions, to look at and think about things from the viewpoint of the opposite sex."
Man Meets Woman comes out this fall on October 6.
[h/t Fast Company]