miiko shan he humorously objectifies sperm donors as flake toys

miiko shan he humorously objectifies sperm donors as flake toys

as a designer, miiko shan he is always seeking alternative means that encourage people to think critically about certain social issues. instead of redesigning existing products or developing new ones, she wants to use design as a tool for critique. hence, for her thesis project, she draws attention on the objectification of women by men – with the ‘sperm bank cumulus centre’ proposal.

not limited to online service, cumulus center also provides offline resale vending machines



by employing humour and satire, miiko shan he intends to redirect the objectification of women as reproductive tools by highlighting the notion that they should have full freedom to choose whether or not they want children. in fact, as explained by the designer, this global perception of women has caused them to ‘self-objectify’ themselves. ‘modern industrialized society chronically and pervasively objectifies the female body, and many women have come to view themselves through the lens of an external observer, habitually monitoring their own appearance whether in public or private settings. given the negative effects associated with self-objectification—such as body shame, appearance anxiety, depression, and disordered eating’. 



cumulus center
video from miiko shan he



with this project, shan he has switched the roles around; in the cumulus centre, all male donors are objectified as humanoid virtual objects – called flakes. women pick and purchase them from the center’s website based on a series of preferences. not limited to an online service, cumulus also provides offline resale vending machines  – like gashapon, which allows women to buy random capsules that include a flake toy and sperm sample.

with the gashapon machines, women can obtain random capsules containing flake sperm samples



as is shown in the video, there are currently only five different types of fakes: the socialite (pink),  the artist (blue), the poetic (green), the sporty (yellow) and intellectual (orange).the design of the flake types and characteristics reflect the criteria that women set for men – and if fulfilled, they can become sperm donors. this process ultimately symbolizes the self-objectification of the male species.

the gashapon machine dispensing a flake sample

capsules of flakes from the gashapon machine – expiration time: 3 month + price: $20

the head is the container of the sperm, while the body is a sealed plug

the flake toys need to be stored in the refrigerator to keep fresh

women can decide whether they want to use  the flakes or not before the expiration time

flakes from gamified website – expiration time: 6 months + price: $30 – $200

the design of the packaging referencing the one of garage toy kits

after purchasing flakes online, cumulus center will send the specimen through the mail



project info:


video animation: nestor pestana
photography: jonathan allen and miiko shan he



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom


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