about boys will be boys
Every day, more and more women are coming forward to shine a light on the painful realities they face at the hands of powerful men. Long protected by their positions of power, it finally feels like these men are beginning to topple and women are finally being heard. That said, we still have so far to go. We’ve been thinking a lot about how we work toward restorative justice while allowing for healing. And what do we do about men who have never crossed a line but perpetually dance along it? How do we approach those who act on learned behavior because they were never taught differently? What should we do about historical figures, their work, and their impact on our society? Smashing the patriarchy is a complicated business.
The art and design communities are obviously not immune to problematic men. With artists, filmmakers, and other creatives at the forefront of accusations, it’s not surprising that we can easily uncover abusers in our history. One only needs to look at celebrated designer and artist, Eric Gill, to see how we have chosen to ignore rather than deal with men whose work continues to impact the field. Gill was a known sexual predator toward the women in his family, including his daughters and sisters, and wrote about performing sexual acts on his dog. His sculptures still stand as part of prominent buildings and memorials in England, and two of his typefaces, Gill Sans and Perpetua, are commonly installed in word processing programs.
To bring to light the continued realities of harassment and sexual abuse against women, we paired troubling statistics with the sexually explicit illustrations of Eric Gill. Finally, the narrative that ‘boys will be boys’ has rightfully come under fire in recent years for helping to perpetuate our rape culture and deflect blame onto victims rather than the men who perpetrate the abuse.