I Touch Myself Project and Wunderman Thompson Highlight Gender Bias in Tech for International Women’s Day

Today, 85% of women seek health advice online.[1]  Yet ‘how do I check my breasts?’ is just one of the life-saving questions that one of the most recognisable voice assistants currently can’t answer. Though when it comes to the male body, it can tell you how to check your testicles for signs of cancer and even respond to slang terms for the male anatomy.

 

The gender bias ingrained in technology platforms inspired the I Touch Myself Project to take action. For International Women’s Day, the project launched a powerful campaign with Wunderman Thompson and the help of one of the world’s most recognisable female voices – Karen Jacobsen, whose voice can be heard on over a billion devices.

 

The campaign video, created in partnership with Wunderman Thompson and Collider, begins with Jacobsen’s ubiquitous voice encouraging women to ‘touch themselves’, then explains in detail the step-by-step process. For the awareness message to be shared widely, the team behind the campaign skirted around nudity censorship guidelines on social media by creating a digital body for the voice assistant.  

 

Jacobsen said that she was moved to be part of a campaign that could save women’s lives: “I jumped at the chance to advocate for women to no longer be penalised by gender bias in tech devices. With

one in eight women diagnosed with breast cancer, hopefully women will receive the lifesaving information they need.”

 

Sinead Roarty, Creative Director says: “The I Touch Myself Project’s mission is to encourage young women to touch themselves regularly to find early signs of cancer. But with draconian nipple regulations on social media and inconsistent responses by voice assistants, the implication that the female body is inherently pornographic has created a barrier to delivering basic health messages. It’s sexist and dangerous.”

 

Angela Morris, National Chief Strategy Officer, Wunderman Thompson adds: “As our reliance on voice tech increases, so does the responsibility of the companies behind them to design them without gender bias. This campaign shines a light on that. For real, sustainable change we need to see a commitment to eliminate all forms of bias when developing products.”

 

Andrew van der Westhuyzen at Collider explained the collaboration process with the UTS Protospace team on the voice assistant visuals: “We collaborated with the incredible team at UTS ProtoSpace to laser scan the human form and integrated these 3D scans into a digital world that people might imagine for a voice assistant. We then experimented with various light and sound responsive visual effects whilst ensuring legibility of the breast check poses. We are always proud to be part of the I Touch Myself Project campaigns and champion such an important cause.”

 

The campaign lives across social and digital platforms, as well as a microsite featuring breast health information. Wunderman Thompson has also built a Breast Check Skill for Alexa, that once approved, will enable Amazon devices to respond to the question “How do I check my breasts?” and other words women use to talk about their breasts, helping to close the information gap even further.

 

Video links:

Vertical video for mobile:https://youtu.be/XAAbdBP8mgk

Landscape video:https://youtu.be/D0z6fjz0r2o

 

 

About I Touch Myself Project

 

Wunderman Thompson Sydney, in conjuction with the estate of Chrissy Amphlett, launched I Touch Myself Project on the first anniversary of the passing of the celebrated Australian artist, Chrissy Amphlett who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2013. Chrissy was passionate about spreading awareness of the importance of early detection of breast cancer and wanted her global hit, ‘I Touch Myself’, to become an anthem for women’s health around the world. The 2014 breast health anthem reached over 400 million people worldwide. In 2016 I Touch Myself Project partnered with the bra brand Berlei to launch The Chrissy Bra, a skin-like bra to remind women to check themselves before they dress each day. And in 2018, Serena Williams lent her voice to the project and reached over a billion people.

 

Credits

Featuring: Karen Jacobsen

I Touch Myself Project Ambassador: Rahni Sadler

I Touch Myself Project Directors: Charley Drayton, Marcia Mason, Bernard Drayton

Collider Director: Andrew van der Westhuyzen

Technical Director: Hugh Carrick-Allan

3D scans courtesy of UTS ProtoSpace

DoP: Jonathon Pilkington

Managing Director: Rachael Ford-Davies

Producer: Lucy Pilkington

Head of Studio, Production: Naomi Iland

EP, Digital: Annabel Stevens

HMU: Shaina Ehrlich

Lighting & Camera Assistant: Jon Brown

Smashbox Studios New York

Avatar Model: Danielle Jackson

 

Music composition: Pat Thrall

Song Zu Sound Designer: Abby Sie 

Producer: Olivia Ray

 

Original Music Track Songwriters:

Christina Amphlett, Tom Kelly, Billy Steinberg, Mark McEntee

 

PR: Hill + Knowlton Strategies

 

Wunderman Thompson Australia

National Chief Creative Officer: Simon Langley     

Creative Director Sydney: Sinead Roarty                    

National Chief Strategy Officer: Angela Morris      

Art Director: Amee Wilson                    

Copywriter: James Southey                 

Partner: Ana Lynch                           

Engagement Manager: Bronte Rohrig                   

Senior Producer: Gabe Hammond              

Editor: Kel Gronow                        

Junior Producer: Chloe Marshall                 

Creative Director, Content: Brie Stewart  

Senior Front End Developer: Sam Cole                             

Senior Front End Developer: Joe Campbell                    

Junior Front End Developer: Ari Friedgut                       

Creative Designer: Evelyn Tran                        

Senior UX Designer: Lachlan Sunderland        

Delivery Lead: Emmanuelle Revelut      

Head of Production: Jackie Archer                     

Editor: Dave Wade                        

Senior Designer: Daniella Coles                    

Associate Producer: Heidi Fidel                           

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