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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna at DePaul University

March 9, 2019

VCFA MFA in Graphic Design MFA candidate Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna will be presenting her research at DePaul’s research colloquium on March 15th, 2019.

I’m Not Kidding!: Childfree by Choice – Research and Reflections

About the presentation:

“Pronatalism” means “pro” – “natal” or “pro-baby.” It is the idea that parenthood and raising children should be the central focus of every person’s adult life. The book, Pronatalism: The Myth of Mom and Apple Pie, defines pronatalism as “…an attitude or policy that is pro-birth, that encourages reproduction, that exalts the role of parenthood.” Pronatalism is a strong social force that glorifies parenthood and includes a collection or beliefs deeply embedded that they have come to be seen as “true.” Thanks to celebrities and the media, pregnancy and the raising of children is glamorized like no other time in the history.

For some people, there might be nothing more fulfilling than bringing a child into this world and raising it. Having said that, it isn’t necessarily true that parenthood is the right choice for everyone. And that is the problem with pronatalism – it leads everyone to believe that they should have children. It also leads people to believe that they have the right to have as many children as they want. It’s time to take another hard look at pronatalism and it’s assumptions. This research project and comic series is the manifesto to ignite a transition into a society that can respect and support true reproductive freedom and choice.

I picked a humous approach for design and vocabulary to open the stage for parents, childfree, and the childless. The comic series urges people considering the childfree lifestyle to refuse to “follow the pack” because the society expects us to conform to tradition. And to carefully consider the long-term implications of creating new lives and subsequently deciding against is empowering. To be clear, this project is not against people who choose to become parents. I am only trying to take a closer look at the pronatal situation at hand in order to see the truth about parenthood and reproduction. It’s time we realize that either choice is equally legit and is equally acceptable and respectable. There’s no reason to think otherwise.

About Shruthi Manjula Balakrishna

Shruthi is the legitimate love-child of strategy and creativity. With more than 10 years of advertising experience, Shruthi’s background is as varied and diverse as the creative she produces. She had a traditional design education from the Art Institute of Colorado and she brings together a variety of creative disciplines and experience – by which she is able to supply not merely design, but rather a crafted product which feels together, connected and harmonized via one creative approach which bleeds the same blood throughout the elements.
Her design sensibilities are heavily inspired by traditional print design and a deep love for diverse cultural history. She has worked with a variety of international, national and local brands, such as Google, Seiko Watch Corporation, Nolte Germany, AIGA, KOA, Jenny Craig, Which Which, Lyra Health, Man Therapy, Odell Brewing, and The Colorado Lottery. She is currently working as a Senior Brand Designer at Gensler and is pursuing her MFA in Graphic Design at Vermont College of Fine Arts.