Julia Sullivan


Manliness and Emotional Vulnerability


The American Psychological Association has warned that traditional masculine ideology is associated with adverse effects on mental and physical health. Men who adhere to masculine norms are more likely to have psychological problems such as depression, stress, body image problems, substance abuse, and poor social functioning. In response to this, I have created this project focused on exploring emotional vulnerability by breaking down traditional masculine norms that have formed society to place certain consequences and shame on emotions when it comes to being vulnerable.

My exhibition includes three spaces for self reflection on how we express emotions and what causes our behaviors around certain vulnerable emotions. I decided to use irreverent typography to show masculine norms both physically and metaphorically breaking down and the element of handwriting to cause disruption throughout my exhibit. I have included the catalogue, posters, and other assets.

This project along with others that I have worked on during my time at Parsons reflect the type of design work I aspire to do. As designers, we can get stuck chasing the idea of perfection. I have to remind myself of what I’ve learned. The most authentic brands are human—they are truthful, sometimes painful, always beautiful, and far from perfect. As a designer, I hope to create brands that tell stories of humanity — that connect us to one another, connect us to ourselves, and turn our flaws and imperfections into our most authentic traits that make us who we are.