Trigger Warning Label that may be seen on some sites.
In the article Better Online Living Through Content Moderation by Melissa King, King argues that modes of controlling the ability for online content to reach certain individuals or an audience that could be potentially harmed by anxiety triggering digital content is extremely helpful and necessary for stopping the effects of abuse: “Content control is helpful in limiting the worst of these [cyber] attacks, which themselves can cause PTSD if severe or long-term enough. While using content control features is not guaranteed to stop the effects of abuse, they do help and their use should not be disparaged and discouraged” (King). King goes on to articulate and provides rebuttals to some of the arguments formed against her point of view on the matter, focusing three counter arguments: the Exposure Theory counter that some triggering web content seen by those with PTSD has the same effect as a psychological treatment process of showing triggering images or sounds to a patient with PTSD in a controlled environment to help the anxiety ridden patient rid of their anxiety: “Exposure Therapy is not about having random internet strangers hurl insults and threats at someone with the hope they somehow come out more mentally durable. Without controlled exposure, someone suffering from PTSD is likely to have their trauma magnified rather than reduced when faced with triggering content” (King). The second argument articulated by King is one where those blocked by massblocklists claim “defamation for statements and opinions that they did not make” (King). King replies that these claims cannot possibly hold up when blocklists make its filtration of content methodology clear and those blocked have been blocked because the flirtation system picked up triggering web content from their modem. Thirdly, King rebukes the argument that online bullying or triggering content are simply words on the screen without any real tangible effect or any valid legal ramifications because cyber attacks or exposure to triggering content (especially when over a prolonged period of time) have been proven to have lasting negative effects, and threatening, stalking, and other forms of cyber attacks are in fact illegal in most states.
A cartoon depiction of cyber-attacking and its effects.
King explains the discouragement of forms of online protection is a show of inadequate human empathy and the proven lasting effects online triggers is why there remains a necessity for content control. Admitting that a generalized approach to the problem (large-scale censorship of certain online triggers) wouldn’t work, King still calls for solution in the stead of complacency for violence online:”On a personal level, nobody has a responsibility to weather outright harassment, and should be allowed and encouraged to mitigate what they can not handle. Telling people otherwise is complicity in a system of violence against marginalized people: anti-content control rhetoric supplants widely-available psychological and sociological facts for misinformed opinions that are not only insufficient for helping others manage their own mental state, but offer wholly inadequate solutions for increasingly pervasive and harmful patterns of online abuse” (King).
In article Color Walking by Phia Bennin and Brendan McMullan the two carry out an experiment attributed to William Burroughs called color walking. The duo describe it as a pretty simplistic idea to call attention to the beautiful color within the normalcy we experience day to day: “Just walk out your door, pick a color that catches your eye, and watch your surroundings pop as you follow the color from object to object. While you walk, you’ll be struck by the red of a bicyclist’s shorts, the sunburn on a woman’s shoulders, the pealing paint on the fire hydrant” (Bennin, McMullan). The two authors used a method of color walking that allowed them to change which colors directed them where and embarked on their journey. Posting a digital map allowing the reader to interact with their color catalyzed journey, the audience can see what colors pulled them where. Lastly, we’re provided with several tips to help those who chose to embark on their own color journey: “Give yourself an hour of uninterrupted time, no commutes, no errands, just eye time. Pick a color, or let a color pick you–follow the one that makes your heart go thump-thump. If you get lost, pick another color. If you get really lost, you’re on the right track” (Bennin, McMullan). This listing of directions on how to color walk further acts as a mode of interaction with digital space for the audience in addition with the virtual mapping of the authors’ color walk. This multimodal aspect of the digital sphere is what connects the audience to the article and enables that learned from this article to be enacted outside the digital sphere and in reality.
In the article Making Bathrooms More Accommodating by Emily Bazelon, the author focuses on how with the emergence of more political correctness and acceptance of the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) community, the emergence of problems with integrating and making accommodations for them (more specifically transgendered) to live their life as easily as possible in a society where what they identify as is a huge minority. The integration of public restrooms to accommodate the transgendered has caused huge controversy in the past years somewhat reminiscent of the integration of public facilities after the Civil Rights Act was signed into law. Many of the opposing arguments to the gender neutralization of restrooms or other public facilities such as locker rooms where people feel vulnerable or privacy is a value (like locker rooms) utilize fear tactics like the images of men assaulting women. This acts to further marginalize these people who’s identities aren’t widely accepted in the first place. Another stigma that comes with the acceptance of transgendered people is the word ‘accommodating’ in itself. The word accommodation is to make room for and that in itself suggests that being transgender is outside of the norm and irregularities in the majorities everyday lives have to be placed for transgendered people to acquire some sort of right. Allowing something as individualistic, private and necessary as using the restroom be dictated by the masses.
In my opinion the gender neutralization of bathrooms is something that should be done in order to make those who do not fit within the confines of “woman” or “man” (as we understand in our society) comfortable. It should be an inherent right to go and use the restroom (and act that involves no other party but oneself ) in whichever bathroom you would like whether that be unisex, woman, or man. However there are people who could potentially utilize the gender neutralization as means of sexual assault or a breach in privacy.
In the article: His & Hers: Designing for a Post Gender Society by Suzanne Tick the author argues that because of the human cycle in which social progression occurs naturally, we now live in a post gendered society and its time that our industries market accordingly. Corporate America and its industries have always been predominantly male, and therefore is primarily marketed for men and not women. This male dominated corporate hierarchy is also not conducive to including or marketing to those who don’t strictly in one kind of gender based demographic. Therefore, in order to progress with the social changes, an industrial change needs to occur also. The modes in which these changes need to occur are based on design, whether that be as general as architecturally or as personal as fashion. Some architectural changes Tick implores society to make architecturally for example would be public bathrooms and offices. Public bathrooms have always been gendered and as of recently due to the more widespread acceptance of gender fluidity and openness unisex bathrooms are being built. As far as fashion goes which is very individualistic, designs are being made to be more gender neutral in that designers are creating unisex lines or are taking clothing items that perpetuate gender norms such as skirts for women and military wear or suits for men, and turning them upside down. For example prominent young celebrity Jaden Smith wearing a skirt in an highly publicized ad for Louis Vuitton, and the creation of make up lines for men and women alike. I think that in a fantastical world this way of thinking and this article would be conducive to enacting change. However we do not live in a post gendered society in the least bit. Gender norms are still inherently apart of our culture as much as enforcing aid gender norms are. The only differential from the early 1900s to now is not the amount of people who do not identify or specifically feel as if they fit into a gendered norm, or the level of acceptance of these people, but the fact that it is more apparent in day to day life. In a world where society was post gendered an article petitioning corporate or industrialized america to be more inclusive and market towards a demographic of people to whom which gender is completely applicable wouldn’t be necessary. This article, (although hopeful in prospectives) would be much more efficient if Tick showed some regard for the state of society as it is now, and then called for some sort of action based on where we are now. Although social change is naturally human and progressive change is upon us, these things occurs over years and in step by step processes.
Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photography of a Forgotten New York written by Irina Nessarova from Illinois State University is a secondary source accounting on Margaret Morton’s works: The Tunnel: The Underground Homeless of New York City and Fragile Dwelling, both of which capture and explore the realities of homelessness in the United States inner city, specifically New York.
Nessarova explains how “homelessness” as we know it is not truly the “absence of a home” but in actuality “the absence of a stable home.” This distinction is key because homemaking is a huge part of the human identity, and because of this homeless are as much apart of homemaking as those who live in an apartment, condo or even a mansion. Homeless people build/make homes out of the discarded materials and the abandoned places where other members of society are not. This is a prime example of the homeless identity. However because of restrictive laws about homelessness in the inner cities of New York (such as closing off the tunnels in which many homeless New Yorkers sought shelter as captured by Morton) society is further perpetuating its fear of poverty and taking away a crucial part of the human identity (dehumanizing) from the homeless: a solid, identifiable, stable home.
In exploration of Margaret Morton’s means of conveying the dehumanization and realities of homelessness in inner city New York, one has to consider the reality of humanity at the time. While Morton was a derive artist, meaning she set out with a purpose when she captured her art and told the stories of those homeless on the streets of New York, she set out to show the realities of homelessness- an ugly an widely ignored issue- in a world where mass media reigned over what people saw and accepted. Morton sought to use her work as an anti-capitalist backdrop to show the people what they refused to see. As an international situationist using derive form of “understanding the environments psychological impact” Morton was able to see directly how the environment affected her even as someone merely passing through it and attempting to capture its truth. This along with interviewing the members of the communities themselves really cemented her ability to accurately convey the effects of the environment on the daily civilian. Another form of capturing the environment around oneself is flaneur where one loses themselves in the environment that they are observing. This form of field work is very hard to do, but this allows one to not put themselves in the shoes of the homeless who live the tunnels and shanty towns of inner city New York City, but simply capture the picturesque qualities of that reality.
The Architectural Exclusion piece by Sarah Schindler: Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment was not only deeply insightful and thought provoking, but also maddening. In this piece Schindler breaks down exactly what architectural exclusion is and how architecture is used to alter the behavior and abilities of the people within or surrounded by said architecture, and even how it is purposely constructed to exclude.
Schindler describes architectural exclusion as “a man made built environment with specific features that make it difficult for certain individuals- usually poor people and people of color- to access certain places”. Some of these exclusionary architectural pieces are obvious, such as walls or gates, others such as bus stops and traffic signs are more insidious in their purpose of denying unwanted people into suburbia or other places of higher socioeconomic status. Lawmakers and civil activists have catalyzed progressive change in acts of exclusion towards minorities or those living in poverty such as rezoning, however when it comes to architectural exclusion many things such as lack of streets signs to allow for people who are unfamiliar with the area (people of lower socioeconomic status who couldn’t afford to live there) to be able to get around efficiently, thus discouraging people who don’t live in the neighborhood to travel in that area.
Another example of architectural exclusion given by the author is the placement of bus and train stops. It doesn’t usually come to the attention of the minds of people who don’t use public transportation, however to those who utilize public transportation, they are affected directly by the decision made by suburban predominantly white areas to blocked transportation stops from their areas. This keeps out undesirable people from living, visiting and working in their areas. This form of exclusion not only acts to keep people of lower socioeconomic out, but also inhibits them from acquiring higher paying jobs if not jobs at all. Schindler provides an example of how this form of built environment has even proved to be dangerous for those trying to escape the confines of the environment they live in. Cynthia Wiggins, a 17-year-old girl African American girl had to walk across a 7 lane highway to walk to work, and got struck and died. She was on her way to work at Walden Galleria, a suburban upscale mall. She was forced to cross the highway every time on her way to work because her bus route did not cross Walden Avenue, a street that split two cities. Transit stops also prevent those in a lower socioeconomic place from getting jobs in that they can’t get to the jobs. However money isn’t the problem. Some areas with higher socioeconomic stature will readily raise the minimum wage to encourage older people and teenagers already living in the area to work. Further proving the blocking of transit is really to architecturally exclude.
This article really shocked me in that our society has even more insidious ways of enforcing institutionalized racism and peniaphobia. Schindlers piece on architectural exclusion breaks down the many ways that we do that, and reveals how subconscious America’s exclusion of those who are not of a certain culture or socioeconomic stature really is.