Gender Issues Collage
Collage is defined as an artistic composition of materials and objects pasted over a
surface often with unifying elements of art. The world collage comes from the French
work coller which means to glue. Another French term used for collage is papiers colles
or pasted papers.
Collage was launched as an artistic media in mainstream Paris by Georges Braque in
1909. It was used by Braques and Picasso during the cubist period. Collage can be
grouped into three general types:
1. Saving momentos
2. Composing imagery
3. Abstracted composition
Within these three categories the art element “space” is portrayed in a variety of ways
1. Shallow, overlapping only
2. Conventional-overlapping figure ground relationships, aerial perspective
3. Unconventional-layering, repetition, segmenting, aerial perspective, surreal
"Everything we read...constructs us, makes us who we are, by presenting our image of
ourselves as girls and women, as boys and men" (Mem Fox, 1993).
From a young age, we are introduced to gender roles through what we are exposed to and
the environments we grow up in. Our cultural heritage sets certain boundaries on gender
roles and responsibilities. Gender identity are affected by a variety of social structures,
including the person's ethnic group, employment status, religion or irreligion, and family.
As young children we are introduced to comics, cartoons and children’s books which
begin to make an impression on our role in society. Besides being an important resource
for developing children's language skills, children's books play a significant part in
transmitting a society's culture to children. Gender roles are an important part of our
culture. How genders are portrayed in children's books thus contributes to the image
children develop of their own role and that of their gender in society. Many classics and
popular stories where girls are portrayed usually reflect stereotypes of masculine and
feminine roles. For example, what if Sleeping Beauty was a boy? How would that change
the story? What if Robin Hood was a girl? Children’s literature moves into mass media
and marketing, which then directs us to print advertisements and magazines. Our version
of the “ideal” man and woman derived from somewhere. This assignment will help
For this assignment you will create a collage making a personal statement about gender
issues. Whether or not you agree or disagree with the way men and/or women are
portrayed in society through media and advertising and why.
You will need to be reflective of both your personal opinion and that of your
cultural background. (What have you been exposed to within your family, religion
or cultural heritage).
You will find images, symbols, words, and images from magazines, cut them out
and create a reflective collage. These symbols and images should reflect the roles
that the media has placed upon media and women in advertising, music and
political and social issues.
You will also locate photographs from your personal collection that demonstrate
the roles males and females play within your family. Some photographs need to
be Xerox copied, so you can apply color pencil to the image, tracing paper can be
used to trace images in a simplified form (tracing the photo image onto the tracing
paper and then tracing the simplified image multiple times on the collage, either
directly on the paper, or on top of other images.)
Use of other two dimensional media can be used if appropriate to enhance your
collage (song lyrics, poems, excerpts from articles, etc.) Remember, you are
creating a personal statement, as well as creating a form of art.
Be prepared to present your work in class. Within your presentation you will
discuss how you created your collage and the selection of materials (why you
chose what you did). You will mention the design elements and principles you
used to make your work successful as well as convey your point of view.
1st Step- Read and answer the questions below in your sketchbook and keep them in
mind as you complete your collage. We will discuss these in class.
1. What images of men and women most appeal to the general public?
2. How do merchandisers use the male and female image to sell their product?
3. How accurate is the portrayal of men and women in advertising?
4. How would other cultures view or magazines?
5. What roles do men and women play within society? How is that portrayed within
6. What offends you most within advertising?
7. What is the “typical male” in advertising?
8. What is the “typical female” in advertising?
9. What is too much in advertising to you?
10. If a magazine is created to accurately portray the typical American teenager, what
would the pictures look like? Specifically, describe the male and female imagery.
2nd - Begin collecting imagery from all print media. You can include online imagery.
Remember all imagery must be school appropriate. Collect photographs that represent
traditional gender roles within your family and/or cultural heritage. Xerox copy some of
the images so color can be used to create more of an artistic composition.
3rd - Collect various other items to include within your collage. Song lyrics, mementos,
poems that will help make your statement regarding your collage.
4th - Glue the imagery and items down in collage format
5th- Write about it using formal critique format (describe, analyze, interpret, judge)
6th- Present to class. Prepare a 3-5 minute presentation for your collage
You will also discuss the answers to these questions within your collage presentation.
1. Name the magazines you used to collect your clippings.
2. List or describe what you see (Include descriptions of the common body language
of men and women)
3. What do you think it means? And why? (analyze and interpret)
4. How does body language affect you as a teenager? How do you think it affects
your peers and friends?
100 pt. for Collage
50 pt for Presentation
50 pt for Critical Analysis
Below are examples of types of materials appropriate for your collage.
Poems, lyrics, words
Xerox photographs and regular photographs
Fixatives or glue
Paper- 12 x 18 or 18 x 24- poster board, foam core or matt board