the design subversion

November 9 | 2015

art and design are one of many ways to express one’s own views, emotions and perceptions, as well as conveying a message to others. In the professional sector of art and design, conveying messages can vary from advertising a product, over illustrative comedy or satire, to campaigning a serious charity or cause. All of this can be diverse, thought-provoking and sometimes controversial. Some might or might not agree with one art piece or another, but the ability to choose the narrative that suits you is a luxury we have from freedom of speech. It’s one of the most advanced achievements of modern society and should be cherished dearly.

however, many politically motivated groups on both sides have a problem with free speech, especially when their views are to be criticized and challenged. So much so, that people would refrain to questionable methods in order to avoid any confrontation. Design and advertising for example have been portrayed by feminist groups as discriminatory for many years. I have explored the issue a bit further in.

this leads to one question: Why? The answer is simple: To push a political agenda on society in order to control it. There were many attempts to achieve this over the years. Since tastes are different and some might like alternative options to their lifestyles/goods, this is not about choice. The goal behind this is far more sinister: The purpose is to shift and destroy biological/psychological/societal differences between people and vilify them by imposing their version of how a society should function.

to get a taste of this, you can look at the latest attempt of political indoctrination in the gaming industry. In 2014, a couple of ideologically-motivated media outlets have tried to portray geek/gamer culture as sexist and unwelcoming towards women. Despite of this not being true, mainstream media has fallen for these false claims and continued on to vilify the geek/gaming culture. What no one expected is that male and female gamers alike decided to fight back. That is how the hashtag #GamerGate on twitter came about. But instead of being heard out, they were put in the same category as trolls. Despite the fact that trolls is an internet phenomena on its own, it was misused as a tool to dismiss their opposing voices. As if that wasn’t enough, other methods were used as well, such as:

  • disabling users from commenting
  • getting users blocked or suspended by abusing the report feature on social media.
  • filing complaints in order to get people fired from their real life jobs or otherwise denounce them and destroy their professional careers.

this however didn’t stop geeks and gamers from speaking out. This is also crucial for game companies, developers and designers. If some political groups would have gotten their way, any type of artistic expressive freedom will be brutally violated and undermined through policing and content control. Designers and artists will have to fear their work being labeled as [insert *ist/*phobic here] which will impact their future work and career, worst case even destroy their lives and their families’. As a result, many will comply, especially when have to put food on the table. Let this sink in for a second. Is this a society people would want to live in?

while it’s legitimate to have different views, it is not acceptable when any political ideology is trying to take over society and impose it on people’s lives. We’ve seen this fail miserably throughout history and the present and we surely don’t need any of this in the future. It’s ok to criticise and question, but it’s also it’s ok to disagree. People can decide for themselves how they think, but at the same time, they have a responsibility to deal with their views being challenged, yet still have a chance to respond accordingly. This is what freedom of speech and expression is all about and it should stay that way.

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