Sex Symbol (Independent Study)

Sex Symbol: Artist Statement

pictograph of woman, transgendered person and manHow do you visually represent gender equality? Equality is what I’ve been taught to strive for. But in the eyes of society, no one is equal. From the day we are born, we are categorized and expected to follow gender norms. Society creates gender-binary; everything from schools to gyms to job applications push citizens to identify as either male or female. Because of the expectation that everyone will fall neatly into one of these two categories, most public spaces are not inclusive of all gender identities.

This symbol challenges the binary system. By utilizing the traditional representation of man and woman, the symbol fosters a connection that leads to understanding. All genders are not represented in the symbol, but it attempts to indicate the spectrum of gender identities.

This symbol was created in response to The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence University of Waterloo initiative. The campaign began on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November) and ended on Human Rights Day (10 December). The 16 Days campaign worked to bring attention to issues of racism, sexism, cultures of violence, and homophobia; it called for the implementation of human rights obligations for all, including the right to healthcare, reproductive rights, and an end to militarism and gender-based violence.

When considering the focus of the campaign in context of the University of Waterloo community, I created work to speak to gender-based issues relevant to campus. That is, to promote a campus body that is educated on gender issues and unified in the fight against gender-based violence. The symbol represents my ideal social space that is gender-inclusive and equal for everyone – everyone has a right to gender fluidity and equality.

16 Days Schedule

DAY 1 - Wed Nov 25 - International Day Against Violence Against Women

  • Installed at Student Life Centre – with chalk

DAY 2 - Thurs Nov 26

  • Installed symbol at Davis Centre – window paint on both entrances

DAY 3 - Friday Nov 27

  • Installed at Dana Porter entrance with chalk

DAY 4 - Sat Nov 28

  • Installed smaller versions of symbols all over campus 4”x 2” stickers

DAY 5 - Sun Nov 29 International Women Human Rights Defenders Day

  • Installed smaller versions of symbols all over campus 4” x 2” stickers

DAY 6 - Mon Nov 30

  • Handed out 100 “do it yourself kits” – kits included artist statement, small stencil of symbol and piece of chalk

DAY 7 - Tues Dec 1 World Aids day

  • Walked to all help lines on campus and installed symbol near by

DAY 8 - Wed Dec 2


  • Checked major locations for state of symbols


  • Installed symbol in the Engineering overpass walkway – window paint

DAY 9 - Thurs Dec 3

  • Installed at South Campus Hall near entrance to the University

DAY 10 - Fri Dec 4

  • Installed smaller stickers at East Campus Hall

DAY 11 - Sat Dec 5

  • Installed at colleges

DAY 12 - Sun Dec 6

  • Installed stickers in bathrooms in Engineering 3

DAY 13 - Mon Dec 7

  • Installed at PAC, near main entrance

DAY 14 - Tues Dec 8

  • Checked in at sites

DAY 15 - Wed Dec 9

  • Checked in at sites

DAY 16 - Thurs Dec 10 International Human Rights Day


  • In lower level of Atrium of SLC led a discussion about the symbol, seeking input from UW community – Had artist statement available for people who wanted to read it.


  • Project symbol on Dana Porter


  • During the 16 days I documented my activities wearing a GoPro video camera and kept a log book entry for each day
  • The installs included window paint, chalk or vinyl stickers. It depended on what was most appropriate for that site on that specific day (adjustments made due to weather/construction etc)