Sharing Gender Space

Have you ever been walking down a straight path only to realize that there is a person walking the same path as you in the opposite direction? Have you ever thought to yourself what do I do now, do I move to the side or do I keep walking?

We were inspired to create this project after reading an article about how men and women share space while walking. In the article, it stated that if a man and a woman are walking in opposite directions of each other but on the same path, the woman will generally move out of the path to let the man pass by. We decided to look into this phenomenon that most people don’t realize is actually happening in everyday life. For most people, it is not a conscious decision whether to keep walking or to move to the side. We wanted to make people aware of this apparently small decision that has roots in a much larger social structure.

(Please watch in HD!!!)

What better way to capture this occurrence other than to videotape it actually happening?! We created this video to display how men and women share space, and to also gain insight from UMBC students about whether or not they notice that this is going on. Although most of the people we talked to in the video will continue to walk the same paths as they did before, we were able to make them stop and think about it- even for a second.

Going into this project we were not sure if our results would reflect what we thought would be the outcome. The conversations that we started based on this project put a lot of things into perspective. Sometimes it is hard to step out of the gender defined roles that society has laid out for us. Even if you consider yourself a feminist or an equal rights activist, you may still sway out of the path in which you were walking just because that is how society has conditioned you to behave. We also were not sure if people would want to participate. Next time we may include more participants other than students at UMBC to broaden the awareness we are trying to increase. We may also want to include other genders groups to decrease the male and female dichotomy.

This project has changed our relationship to activism because going into this class we did not really consider ourselves activists. This project has made us realize that to be an activist sometimes all you have to do is spark a thought in someone in an attempt to change an idea or behavior that they maintain. Our understanding of activism has definitely changed, since we can now be considered activists because we made a video to raise awareness. In a broader sense, we have learned that it does not take a huge production to enact change in the world.

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