Here’s a fascinating — if not exactly uplifting — look at the economics, business, and design strategies that led to our throwaway culture came about: Modern Waste is an Economic Strategy « Discard Studies:
About one third of MSW [municipal solid waste] —food scraps, and to a debatable extent, yard trimmings—are present in pre-modern waste.
The rest of modern MSW are disposables: paper, plastics, aluminum, textiles, and packaging.[i] In 1956, Lloyd Stouffer, editor of Modern Packaging Inc., famously (and controversially at the time) declared: “The future of plastics is in the trash can” (Stouffer 1963: 1).
Stouffer’s idea addressed an emerging problem for industry. Products tended to be durable, easy to fix, and limited in variation (such as color or style). With this mode of design, markets were quickly saturating (Packard 1960; Cohen 2003). Opportunities for growth, and thus profit, were rapidly diminishing, particularly after America’s Great Depression and the two World Wars, where an ethos of preservation, reuse, and frugality was cultivated.
In response, industry intervened on a material level and developed disposability through planned obsolescence, single-use items, cheap materials, throw-away packaging, fashion, and conspicuous consumption. These changes were supported by a regimen of advertising that telegraphed industrial principals of value into the social realm, suggesting the difference between durable and disposable, esteemed and taboo.
American industry designed a shift in values that circulated goods through, rather than into, the consumer realm. The truism that humans are inherently wasteful came into being at a particular time and place, by design.
There’s a ton of great info in this piece, it really is a good read. The over-arching point is that the shifts are so massive that we can’t solve them via individual behavior-change (recycling, etc.) alone; we need policy-level solutions.
I half-agree: Yes, we need policy-level solutions, but we’re more likely to get there by way of individual-level action, behavior change, and engagement. Which is what this site encourages.
THE BEGINNINGS OF KAWAII
No, no, you have no idea. It actually IS the beginning of the whole so-called “kawaii culture”. And it started because girls started using mechanical pencils, which provided fine handwriting. After being banished (more precisely, during the 80s), this kind of writing started being used in products like magazines and make-up. And, during this time, icons we usually associate with the whole kawaii industry (like the characters from Sanrio) came to life too.
And what many people don’t realize is that this subculture was born as a way for young girls to express themselves in their own way. And it was also used as something against the adult life and the traditional culture, often seen as dull and boring and oppressive. By embracing cuteness, these young girls (and adult women, after a while) were showing non-conformation with the current standards.
So yep. Kawaii is important, and it all started with cute, simple handwritting a few hearts and cat faces in some girls’ school notebooks <3
now this is what i like to see… if i’m gonna buy some fancy new Strong Product i wanna see it beat the weaker version of itself into total useless garbage…… its called innovation and i’ve never been so happy to be a capitalist…
sometimes i wonder if this website is okay
Let me talk to you about books.
Specifically, one book. This book.
This book should be a best seller. This book should be required reading for graduating from high school. Before you get that diploma, you read this book.
This book deals with debunking “Neurosexism,” which is a very fancy term for all of that evolutionary psychology bullshit that people spill about those “brain differences” between boys and girls.
This book debunks such myths as:
- Boys are better at math than girls
- Women make crappy lawyers/business CEOs/etc, as their brains are not cut out for aggression.
- Men make crappy counselors/primary school teachers/primary parents/etc, as their brains are not cut out for empathy.
- MEN ARE BUILT FOR GOING OUT AND HUNTING WHILE WOMEN ARE BUILT FOR STAYING HOME AND BABYMAKING IT’S NOT SEXISM IT’S JUST BIOLOGY
- And many other such myths.
Furthermore, this book covers topics such as:
- Neurosexism and gender perceptions in multiple races (as this is not a singularly white experience, just as the western world isn’t a singularly white experience)
- Sex discrimination in the workplace, and how women are (or, more often, are not) allowed to behave
- How science is used (badly) to support many of these claims
- Experiences of trans people, both through interviews and empirical studies.
AND FINALLY - It is all brilliantly researched, cited, compiled - and it’s easy to read! Cordelia Fine actually manages to be funny while writing this, which I think is important, because it makes all of this information infinitely accessible.
Delusions of Gender has reinforced what Oberlin taught me: The gender binary is stupid and arbitrary, and dangerous. And it is a self-perpetuating bias that needs to be addressed to be overcome.
So adding this to my to-read list.
And it’s currently available on Kindle for $3.34.
alphaalberto we need to read this.
A feminist group based in Guangzhou, China staged an online protest against the sexual exploitation of women in the workplace, revealing a photograph with a message boldly written in red on a whiteboard behind them: “My vagina does not come free with my labor.” More words were written on the women’s thighs, reiterating: “Not freebies.”
The campaign was in response to a recent fatal rape case involving a 20-year-old woman at a state-owned company who was asked by her boss to a dinner. She was sexually assaulted by her boss’s friend and died as a result of her injuries.“Don’t ask your staff to provide part-time escort services. Women should only be asked to provide knowledge or technical skills in the workplace, but not other things,” says Ye Haiyan, an advocate of women’s and children’s rights.
Read more via The New York Times.
Crying a lot today. Gotta let out all the shit you take in
grown. ass. men.
you scared she gonna strike out yr precious baby boy? OH TOO LATE.
they were doing a special on her on one of the news channels at the gym. i didnt have the headphones so i couldnt hear the story, but one of the photos they showed was of a little girl in the crowd holding up a sign that said “I want to throw like a girl.” For every pathetic, insecure grown man who is threatened by this amazingly talented girl, hopefully there is another little girl who is inspired. But that she has to put up wit this kind of abuse even though she is OBJECTIVELY the best pitcher in the league right now and can throw a ball SEVENTY MILES PER HOUR is absolutely uncalled for. She is truly phenomenal, and those dads can all go eat shit and live