THE GIRL GUIDE
A lot of young girls do not receive sex education either at school or from their parents at home, which can result in confusion, embarrassment, and making uninformed decisions as they grow up.
This was a solo project completed as part of a class called "Race, Class, and Girlhood".
Give girls a source of information on topics that they may be too embarrassed to ask their parents about.
UNDERSTANDING THE USER
This project was inspired by a selection of readings and discussions from a Sociology class I took called “Race, Class, and Girlhood.”
Two readings that particularly inspired me were Jessica Valenti’s "The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession With Virginity Is Hurting Young Women," and Julia Alvarez' "Once Upon A Quinceañera: Coming Of Age In The USA," which discuss purity balls and quinceañeras respectively and how they promote virginity, to the point where sex is not discussed at all. As a result, young girls are shielded from the important information about their bodies and relationships that they’ll need to know as they grow up.
A lot of my classmates also explained that as they went to religious schools, they
were not given sex education classes, even with regard to puberty, as the topic was deemed to be taboo and inappropriate. This attitude can leave girls feeling embarrassed, confused and ashamed, as well as too scared to ask for more information or help, especially with regard to periods.
Girls may not understand why they are in pain and how to treat it (especially if they have undiagnosed conditions like endometriosis or PCOS), how often they should change their sanitary products (or even which products are available), how often periods occur and how long they last, or, most importantly, what to do if they miss a period.
I, therefore, decided to design an application that provides girls with access to legitimate information concerning their mental and physical health as they grow up. This would encourage them to seek appropriate solutions and advice from the right sources, thereby reducing the chances of developing any more severe issues later on.
It would neither encourage or discourage any activities and would simply
give girls the tools to do the things they choose in a safe and responsible way, without judgment.
BREAKING DOWN THE PROCESS
I created this project as the final for this class, which simply needed to be a creative response to any of the material we had covered.
Informed by the information outlined above, I began to design a Figma prototype of a mobile application that would provide girls with the basic sex education information they would need.
When thinking about the visual design, I decided to go for a hand-drawn approach to make the app feel less serious and more playful and make the young users feel at ease. Similarly, I wanted the names of the sections to feel like headlines in a girlie teen magazine so that it would feel approachable.
Here, the user creates an avatar that resembles them as much as possible.
The options include:
Hair (texture, color, length)
Skin (color, blemishes, scars, freckles)
Face (face shape, lips, nose)
Eyes (shape, color, glasses)
Body (genitals, weight/shape, height, breast size, disabilities – missing or deformed limbs/wheelchair, etc.)
The avatar will grow and develop with the user as they do. In order to find out more about how and why their body is changing, the user can select the different nodes to zoom in on a particular body part. They can also add personal updates by clicking on the various options:
Statistics, including height
Other – diets, surgery, existing health conditions etc.
Don't Tell My Parents!
This section features answers to several questions that girls may have as they grow up, especially those they may not want to discuss with their parents.
Sex and Relationships, including safe sex, consent, pregnancy, rape
Mental & Physical Health, including depression, anxiety, endo/PCOS, diets, conditions causing infertility
Drugs + Alcohol, including law, types, dosage, overdosing, first aid)
LGBTQ+ (e.g. definitions, coming out, dealing with negativity)
Where Can I Get Help?
This section includes a list of resources, including online links and local organizations (filtered by the location the user enters in settings).
Sex and Relationships
Mental & Physical Health
Drugs + Alcohol
STEM + Careers
Sports + Hobbies
I Need To Talk To Someone!
Profiles will not include any personal information, and users will instead find potential friends in the themed groups available, such as “#strictparentsclub”.
A video walkthrough of the full prototype can be found below.
KEY TAKEAWAYS & FUTURE GOALS
This class gave me a lot of insight into the disparity in sex education around the world and this project afforded me the opportunity to look at healthcare from a less clinical perspective, and rather through the lens of social impact.
I would like to develop this project in the future, specifically testing out the functionality of the growing avatar with a coded prototype.