Sunday, 19 March 2017

Product Range Distribution: Brief interpretation + Research and Feedback

This brief was a bit confusing at the beginning. Speaking in terms of sustainability and without knowing very much about it is quite difficult to think about something else rather than environmental issues.

It became much more clearer what the brief was about after the presentation of famous pieces of work that also served as a range of ideas to be used in the brief itself. The challenge is to find a cohesion between a human issue and the aesthetics.

Something that has helped it's the fact that I own a Facebook page (in Spanish) where I like to post and reflect about social and political issues, but there is a common topic and that is feminism.

As this page is mostly used to share content on internet the research has been already done, but now it's necessary a second research, which is to identify which in what direction or what specific aspect of feminism is going to be explored with the publication.

The approaches can be very varied. These are some examples:

- 50% of humanity is being discriminated and those who dare to point it out are called feminazis.

- A woman holding a banner that says: "I know, I know. I stand up for myself. I'm such a bitch..."

- As a male and open supporter of feminism I've never been called a feminazi. I guess being a male doesn't make me evil enough.

- Please, keep attacking feminism. The quality of your arguments only makes it more necessary.

- A woman holding a banner that says: "Excuse me, we are being murdered".

- Linday Denley was an expert in martial arts. She was in the "black belt hall of fame" with Chuck Norris and Jackie Chan. She has been 16 times world champion in Taekwondo and she doesn't even have a wikipedia.

- The word 'feminazi' was popularised in the 90's by Rush Limbough, one of the strongest Trump supporters.

- There is machismo in our society. That's not an opinion. An opinion is if you think it is wrong or not.

- If a man cannot freely cry it's because this behaviour is considered feminine, and being like a woman is never good.

- Those men afraid of feminism think women want to do with them what men did with women.

- Feminism doesn't hate men. Feminism is about women. Get over it.

- Greatest f̶e̶m̶a̶l̶e̶ athlete ever. Nike.

- This was thought following the theories of logocentrism of Jacques Derrida.

Why is it called mother nature? Even in languages like in English, which this word is genderless. When we think about nature, what do we think about? We call it wise, but we don't understand it. It is definetely not something cultural. Culture makes sense to us, it represents the civilisation, the rational, the logic. If the mother is the nature in this binary thought, then the father has to be the culture.

- Dialogue.

A) Women are very hard to read

B) Actually, we just...

A) Such complex creatures...

B) If you just liste...

A) So mysterious!

- Women shouldn't have to be brave. They should be able to decide if they want to be brave.

Other issues not related with feminism:

- In Germany it is a crime to make apology to fascism. In Spain it is a crime to make fun of it

- "If a white man wants to lynch me, that's his problem. If he's got the power to lynch me, that's my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude, it's a question of power".

- Heterosexual white men are victims of never been oppressed, they have only been oppressors. Please, be more considerate.

- List of rights earned through moderation and being politically correct. (Blank page).

- Brexit didn't cause racism or hate. It was already there and it was spoken when the opportunity was right.

- "In 20 years a movie called 'Aleppo' will win 7 oscars and everyone will say something like that should never be allowed to happen again" @ayeshamirza_

There are many different approaches to make one single point. As it is a piece of graphic design what is going to be produced, it is a good idea to isolate those ideas that can be more visually striking. They have been highlighted in different shades of yellow to identify the strongest ones but not to neglect others with potential.

These ideas were explained to Simon in order to get Feedback about how to reach further with the research. He helped to identify the purpose of this campaign, which would be educational - raising awareness about importance of feminism - . It is also important to avoid a angry approach, it's important to keep the message possitive. What can also help to expand the research is to identify the potential target audience of this design.

Taking the chance that the 8th of March was the international women's day I attended to an exhibition that took place in the Art Hostel, at Leeds City Centre, where the Fanny Collective was running the exhibition "Pretty", which was a celebration of the female body as it is. As a male designer myself I don't think doing something along this lines will convey the same message as if it created by a female designer, which is very interesting as it shows how important it is the relation between the creative and the piece he or she is creating. Although, this visit has lit some bulbs, as it is celebrating the parts of the femininity that normally have negative connotations like the period, the hair, etc.

The focus on this project will be on pointing out that male related sport achievements are considered neutral whilst female's are considered lower ranged. For instance, one needs to specifically refer to women's football to give a context of what is going to be explained, but men's football needs no context. In all these sports there's an assumption that just because males are, in general, more physically capable male's sports are then more interesting, as the athletes meet higher expectations. In basketball, for instance, it's true that the male's basketball is more physical, but no one is aware that female's basketball is more technical and strategic.

The message has to be conveyed in a positive way. The "Pretty" exhibition turned around what is usually understood as a negative or hidden side of women and made something positive out of it, showing that things like hair, menstruation, etc are part of women's identity. Using this approach the female sports can be represented as interesting as male sports by not denying that women might be less physical, but by admitting women's sports might be better in some aspects.

In this article by they explain why female's basketball is different:

"The team mechanics and styles are also very different. Men will always attempt to plow through things with athleticism and skill while women tend to analyze a situation and come up with a response. Women’s basketball tends to be slightly more technical, and the women’s learning styles are far more different and vocal. Men will ask a question, and answer a question. Nice and simple. Women will ask a question, answer the question, and analyze it. Coming ups with in-depth and correct answers that not only help the coaches but also help the players."

After reading this, there's a statement that can be made: if a woman is better than a man in, for example, basketball she will never have the opportunity to beat him or to play a specific role in a team. Same could be applicable to Linda Denley: would she be famous if she had the opportunity to defeat a man? In other words: should sports be gender mixed for a more equal society?

The Science of the Sport website has an article about this issue written by Ross Tucker. This quote from the book "Genetic, technology and sport" is further discussed:

“We have argued that it (gender categories in sport) should be abolished. Women and men should compete against one another on equal terms on sports arenas. The reasons for giving up sexual discrimination within sports, and for allowing individuals of both sexes to compete with each other is simple. In sports it is crucial that the best person wins. The sexual differences are simply irrelevant. If a female athlete can perform better than a male athlete, this female athlete should be allowed to compete with, and beat, the male athlete. If she cannot beat a certain male athlete, so be it. If the competition was fair, she should be able to face the fact that he was more talented. It is really as simple as that. Sexual discrimination within sports does not have any better rationale than sexual discrimination in any other fields of our lives”.


On a counter-point this should be also taken in consideration: "no female athlete makes the top 500 of any athletic, swimming event each year, and so the chance that “a female athlete will perform better than a male athlete” at the top level of competition (Olympic Games) is basically zero".

Mixing genders would probably result in a much more competitive scene, and many argue that keeping both sports separated is positive for gender equality. But then one of the main principles of sports is neglected: "may the best win". If it's true that males are always better in sports then the right thing to do would be keeping female sports to safeguard the proliferation of female athletes, but at the same time male sports should be actually neutral and accept women that can perform better than them.

In this article of the BBC are mentioned several sports that could be gender mixed. Some examples are Golf, Gymnastics, Bobsleigh, Cycling... While in this other article it's pointed out 3 sports where males and females are mixed: Moto 3, Badminton and Ironman decathlon. This article adds two more to this small list: equestrian and sailing.

An interesting survey shows the vote of different people in a website of debates where the 67% thinks that sports should be mixed whilst 33% thinks they shouldn't.

This article makes strong points of why sports should be gender mixed by analysing two very deep analysis of the topic.

In opposition: On the other hand, in sports with a more technical emphasis (although all still physical, perhaps less so than the brute force sports like those listed above) such as badminton, hockey, golf, tennis, netball and others where physical differences between individual players are not so obviously influential on the result of a match can be made up for in technical ability, mixed teams are far more feasible and are definitely to be encouraged.

In favour: "Consider these examples. Athletic Bilbao, a football team that only recruits players with connections to the Basque region, isn’t operating unfairly. Stonewall FC, a team that calls itself a “gay football club” and aims to recruit homosexual players, isn’t doing anything wrong. These teams offer ‘two bites at the cherry’ to certain people, but that’s okay. Sustaining a dedicated sporting platform for a portion of society that struggles for representation amongst mainstream sport, and wishes to assert an identity that our society endorses, is completely acceptable. Likewise, even if we abolished male-only sports, women would be – for as long as they struggle for sporting representation – entitled to a dedicated sporting platform. That’s one of the roles of female-only sports, and that’s why it wouldn’t be unfair if we let them continue. There’s no reason whatsoever to wait around over this. Male-only sports are arbitrary and unjust, and we should start getting rid of them today."

But in the end, this seems to be a debate that still goes on. To see what people would normally think about this issue I made a questionnaire with only one question. From left to right, the answers are from strongly disagree to strongly agree.

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