How can jewelry design make the shifts in meaning of gender identities visible?
Typically male — typically female? This binary classification of the sexes and their symbols is no longer possible. We are experiencing a shift in gender conventions and their symbols, towards a more open understanding and more fluid identities.
This Master’s thesis aims to understand, using qualitative research, expert interviews and experiments with passers-by in metropolitan cities of the world, whether and how the pearl can be stripped of its socially and culturally significant meaning. The aim is to examine whether the pearl, traditionally associated with femininity, can be liberated from its socially and culturally shaped symbolism and used as male, and masculine jewelry. The study has discovered that both the pearl as a symbol of femininity, and the gender conventions and boundaries undergo changes that vary according to the cultural and social context. The resulting publication «Man, is that female!» presents these changes.