Parsons / The New School

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2016–17

Mallory Brennan
A False Dilemma

A False Dilemma occurs when two opposing views are presented in such a way that they appear to be the only possibilities, ignoring a potential spectrum of alternatives that most likely exist between the two extremes. Black- and-white thinking, either-or reasoning, no middle ground, polarization; however you call it, these binary constructs are pervasive in our world and lead to harmful stereotypes, hierarchies, bias, and privilege. The belief that constructs such as race, gender, and sex are fixed traits is at the root of oppression. In this belief lies binary opposition where for each trait there are two ways of “being” that are in opposition to each other: Male/female, black/white, straight/ gay. This way of thinking privileges the trait that begot power first, and disregards the full range of human experience. As I begin to take stock of the privilege in my life the knots and crossroads between issues become apparent, where my existence as a white person is intertwined with my class status. The oppression that I may experience as a queer identified woman must take into account the privilege I experience as a cis-gendered, able-bodied person. Nothing is black and white. A False Dilemma is a series of printed zines and an online collage of images, drawings, and quotes exposing binary thinking and the subtle ways it shapes our world. Through satire and a lo-res aesthetic, this ephemera tackles challenging subject matter in an accessible way, exposing the spectrum of human experience that lies between two extremes.

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Parsons / The New School

BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2016–17