This thesis delves into the unique gendered experiences of female university students in Japan within the context of new graduate recruitment practices. Through the lens of performance theory, the study analyzes how they “perform gender” during job hunting, mainly through their appearance.
Furthermore, the research employs a discursive design approach to critically visualize and embody the gender norms and the subsequent mental and physical burdens imposed on female students. It focuses on stockings as an essential “prop” for them to perform femininity as society expects. The process creates two alternative artifacts; bioplastic stockings and body hair stockings. These artifacts serve as critical objects, highlighting the absurdity of female students’ struggles during job hunting with two focus points: sustainability and male gaze.
The interactions between the research participants and these artifacts and the ensuing discussions are examined, demonstrating the potential of discursive design to provide new perspectives and provoke thoughts about gender norms and alternative solutions. Ultimately, this research aims to contribute to the broader conversation for a shift towards more inclusive job-hunting experiences for all, regardless of gender.
Keywords: discursive design, gender performativity, Japan’s new graduate recruitment practices