HRC Doc Lab Project: One Hundred Crossed-Out Messages of Gender Discrimination: A Crypto-philanthropic exploration of feminist NFT PFPs

One Hundred Crossed-Out Messages of Gender Discrimination: A Crypto-philanthropic exploration of feminist NFT PFPs is funded by HRC’s Doc Lab as part of  Doc Lab’s ongoing “Requests for Proposals: Documentary Projects.”

Faculty Advisor: Professor Jung Choi
Undergraduate Researcher: Xinran (Penelope) Lai

Project Summary
Crypto philanthropy, with the word “crypto” referring to “using blockchains and their cousin technologies as tools themselves to achieve impactful outcomes” and the word “philanthropy” concerning “allocating unrestricted capital towards the improvement of society, life, the physical world, and everything in between” (Lehrer 2022), is now gaining increased attention as the concept of cryptocurrency continues to emerge and thrive in many areas. For example, cheecoin (CHEE), Hollywood’s first NFT and game metaverse token, focuses on helping stray animals. To guarantee transparency and encourage philanthropic behavior, 5% of all minted CHEE is kept in the charity’s wallet and open for everyone to track. More than just wealth-based donations, crypto philanthropy also encompasses promoting philanthropic spirit through communities formed by on-chain activities. Most such communities are built and operated based on DAO. As opposed to the traditional centralized organizational form, “there is no central authority or management hierarchy” in a flat, bottom-up DAO. In the web iteration of Web3, DAO also plays an important role in promoting gender equality. For example, H.E.R DAO dedicates to promoting gender diversity in the Web3 ecosystem. In order to better unite the power of women on Web3 and accumulate funds to support female programmers, H.E.R. DAO also launched the H.E.R. X Minority PFP project, and 2222 NFT PFPs were released.

Other than the developmental path of building a DAO first, there are also teams that are empowering gender equality with Web3 that choose to release female-led NFT PFP projects first and then build communities based on owners of those PFPs and launch corresponding philanthropy-oriented, female-empowering activities. Representing the latter approach, World of Women (WoW) originated as an NFT PFP project to address the diversity of women by featuring 10,000 unique female illustrations. Since its launch in July 2021, WoW aims to bring more inclusiveness to the male-dominated Web3 ecosystem by representing women and empowering gender equality. WoW allocates its funds primarily to NFT artworks and crypto philanthropy. By purchasing lesser-known artworks created by female artists, WoW is working to empower female creators in the crypto world. However, while there is a recent increase in participation in Web3 female empowerment and crypto philanthropy, most practices of NFT PFP and DAOs are concentrated in Western countries. Moreover, those activities created using digital imaging techniques, and algorithm generations often remain isolated online lacking interventions to inequalities and discrimination in the real world. By incorporating traditional documentary media, our proposed NFT PFPs/DAO project will contribute to these relatively missing areas of Web3-empowered gender equality. The additional revenue generated by the implementation of this project will be further effectively invested in crypto philanthropy in China.

Titled “One Hundred Crossed-Out Messages of Gender Discrimination: A Crypto-philanthropic exploration of feminist NFT PFPs” which also works as part of Lai’s SW project “DAO, NFT PFP, and Crypto Philanthropy: Advantages and Challenges of decentralized Web 3.0 in Empowering Gender Equality”, this Doc Lab project will consist of 100 Polaroid photographs of small advertisements and posters with discriminatory messages on female’s bodies, age, and appearance, etc. Generally, this project is an interdisciplinary exploration of traditional documentary media, crypto art, and cyberfeminism. Each discriminatory message will be crossed out manually before being instantly photographed, as a metaphor for rebellion and criticism against this kind of gender inequality. Discriminatory messages posted publicly in the streets and alleys of China were chosen as the visual representation of this Doc Lab project because they reveal the oppression of women in the real world. For example, job advertisements that discriminate against women’s age and appearance on the advertising boards near the Kunshan Human Resources Market and on the telegraph poles in the surrounding streets would be the subject of the photographs. By manually crossing out the discriminatory information and minting the photos into NFT PFPs, the process of executing this project will serve as feminist activism to explore female empowerment and gender equality at the intersection of cyberspace and the real world. After all Polaroid photos are taken, they will be electronically scanned, minted into NFTs, and made available for purchase. After all NFT PFPs have been purchased, an alternative decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) named “Crossed-Out” that focuses on fighting against discrimination toward females in Chinese society will be built with this proposed project. Consequently, a series of related crypto philanthropic activities, including but not limited to donating the sales of NFTs to charitable organizations and organizing feminist seminars, will be carried out later by the DAO.

For more information, please visit the official website of this project:


Jung Choi

Jung Choi, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Art History and Visual Studies at Duke Kunshan University, a cross-disciplinary theorist and curator experimenting with different creative methods in digital humanities and arts. Choi’s research interest lies in the interactions between art and technology and contemporary visual and media culture, especially in how artistic and creative practices provide constructive criticism of our contemporary media environments. Her current research focuses on the spatio-temporal dimension of human experience in contemporary digital environments and the planetary media art practices that explore, reframe, and challenge the paradigms of the 21st-century climate crisis.

Xinran (Penelope) Lai

Xinran Lai (Penelope) is a Media and Arts (Creative Practice) major from the Undergraduate Class of 2023. Her research interests are located in the fields of digital humanities and computational art with a focus on cyberfeminism and de-anthropocentrism.