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[non]sense


Colofon

Specialisation Brands & Innovation 2017-2018 Editors in Chief Britta Flinterman & Amber Blewanus Editors Spokesperson:Geesje Remijnse, Isabel Dingle, Loes Kleijngeld, Carlijn Stadig, Elizabeth Thomas, Hannah Woods Concept Spokesperson: Kertu Serkov Jeffrey Dral, Robin Huberts, Neal Jordan, Nina Steinlechner Graphic Design Spokesperson: Amber van Winssen Jeffrey Dral, Neal Jordan, Carmen Liebrecht Production Spokesperson:Maartje Weekers Sade de Jong, Nisse van Rossum PR Spokesperson:Sara Blanken, Iman Chin, Marcelle Novelli Printing Drukkerij Raddraaier, Amsterdam Binder Boekbinderij Hennink, Amsterdam Others Dagmar Amels, Rachel de Gooijer, Menno Kok, Sacha Kramer, Bregje Lampe, Ciska de Lange, Carlotte Mos, Yvette Pasman, Leah Simon, Frank Wijlens Client


Index Calling out ‘bullshit’: pointing out what needs to be changed 10 14 18 20 22 26

32

36 42 44 46

50 52

Photoseries Break-up Motel Eliminating Labels - The role of gender within Feminisation Culture makes bitches and whores Photoseries Lea Is mercy more important than justice? IHow does the media influence women empowerment? An interview with publisher Tori West Sensitivity, the most underestimated value in society. Interview with Esmay Wagemans Is Beyoncé a terrorist? Photoseries Stereotypical Suffication A plea for masculinity Some may see me as a barbarian, some may see me as an oversensitive man. Finding the balance is what matters It’s time to get rid of the prejudice Photoseries I am feminine

Seeing a shift in society Article: The crisis of masculinity 60 62 65 68 72

The crisis for masculinity Photoseries: a girls manipulation on boys toys A fundamental longing for nature The first division, a complicated gender puzzle Man versus woman versus machine

74

77 80 82 85 88 92 94 98 102 104

Jacob’s view upon feminisation in relation to technology and virtual identities Photoseries: Melancholic fairytale Science fiction: a suggestion of reality Why women need more confidence to lead Building trust through transparency Our substantial soft sides ensure healthful living spaces Photoseries: Synonymous Feminisation in spatial design Vaginasation Photoseries: Sharing a house.. ‘Walk a mile in her shoes’ ?

Learning to communicate, to listen and to be heard 112 116 120 124 126

130

134 136 138

Relation between loneliness and the feminised society Do rappers cry? Photoseries: Synonymous Only a nice ‘hello’ doesn’t solve loneliness The relation between the boy problem and feminisation in elementary education I’m Charlotte insinger, I know how to do my job and I’m a woman. In that exact order On the Brightside of hierarchy Photoseries: Dominating Nature Is Hip-Hop for Pussies?


140

142 146

A dedication to my grandmother and all the other women migrating around the world Photoseries: Tourist in my own thoughts Why I am who I am - an exploration

210 214 218 220 224

152 156 162

166 170 174 178 182 185 190 192

Emotional and physical touch

228

Dan Spiegelmann reinvents the meaning of confession Photoseries: Story on masculinity Why the jeans are the ultimate icon of feminisation and why we should thank calvin for that Photoseries: Girls night out Motthers are society My BFF robot Photoseries: Artificial affection The anthropomorphism of robots Photoseries: Melancholia Emotional Technology to the rescue Resolving mental health one conceptual design at a time

231

Personal preferences and the acceptance of differences in that 200 204 208

Empowering sexytime Porn - Political offense versus realistic needs Photoseries: Concede

234

‘Popc-porn’ for woman The Dream ma(n)chine Photoseries: My fe-male lover In conversation with Stacyian Jackson, play writer of “Don’t worry, Be Yoncé” Feminisation - The real cause of sustainable lifestyles? I’d rather be Glacier Girl’s victim than selling my soul to King Kylie Photoseries: Send my love to our new lovers Now what does your ‘guts’ tell you?


Life is a sum of infinite definitions, guidelines, rules and labels - in our postmodern society, everything asks for a description or label to help us view this world in a clearer way. We are asked to analyse and synthesise, question and challenge. To be present, open and use our senses. These man-made societal rules may have made it easy to follow a traditional path without questioning, but it only takes five chapters to break a habit. Feminisation: a word full of preconceptions, assumptions and old-fashioned associations. [non] sense, a bible presented to you, aims to challenge polarised values, and celebrate differences one sense at a time. Do not expect any guidelines, but there will be guidance. We ask you to distance yourself from what you think you know, stay away from what you want to see, and do not believe everything you have heard. Based on this, evaluate what you taste, smell and feel- and let your instinct guide you. Through the perceptions of various experts such as Tori West, telling us how media influences women empowerment, Samantha Smith questioning if mercy is more important than justice and Dr. Khiet P. Truong tells us about the anthropomorphism of robots. Approaching gender division in a whole other way with articles discussing the prejudice on Islamic women, BeyoncĂŠ, vagina logic and emotional storytelling. Feminisation is not only a movement, it's deconstructionism, rebellion, the reflection of our Zeitgeist, our culture.

[non]sense

[NON]SENSE


s me l l


Calling out ‘bullshit’: pointing out what needs to be changed


Nothing is more memorable than a smell, whereas nothing revives memories of the past more perfectly than a scent that was once associated with it. The compelling odours of the past have the persuasive potential so strong, to restrain memories, emotions, connections and habits floating through the mazes of what once was normal. From the labyrinths of the past, new odours emerge as there exists an urgency for change as we are situated at the edge of a shifting society. As two scents apart, femininity and masculinity floated through the air for a long time apart from each other. However slowly but surely, these two invisible concepts seem to blur, blend and infuse into one wholly new perfume. Throughout this chapter you are taken on an odoured expedition through shifting values on the edge of a feminising society. You will discover that there are certain problematic phenomenons in our culture occurring, that do not add up to our quality of being anymore. Through various topics as the law system, immigration, sensitivity, social media, gender identity and the modus operandi of popular culture, you will uncover the smelly truth of our not quite so fitting, outdated values which are about to kick-off for change. Because to be honest, this presentday narrow-mindedness smells like bullshit, doesn’t it?

9

[non]sense

s me l l


Break-up motel Welcome to the break-up motel: A place where the artificiality of masculinity and femininity are exposed. A place that pictures the clash of the cold colour scheme of the world of commerce and progress, which came to be the expression of a ‘male’ dominated professional world, with traces of (materialistic) indulgence, which came to be the expression of the ‘female’-dominated world of consumption. A place that disrupts the traditional marriage between women and consumerism by hinting to a male presence.

by Marcelle Hoekstra


11


Smell me


Eliminating Labels - The Role of Gender within ‘Feminisation’ An interview with Anthropology student Jesse Cornelissen and Social Cultural Studies student Derek Westervelt.

The movement of ‘Feminisation’ seems to discuss gender, but does it really? Why is it called Feminisation and to what extent can we link it gender? Anthropology student Jesse Cornelissen and Social Cultural Science student Derek Westervelt will share their knowledge about the role of gender within the movement of Feminisation. by Geesje Remijnse

So guys, what does

To what extent do you think

Feminisation mean in your

that is? Is that a bit, or rather

opinion?

a lot?

After a long thought, Jesse

“In my opinion feminisation

opens the conversation

has everything to do with

and begins to construct an

gender, because we use the

answer to this first question:

word ‘feminine’ in describing

“Feminisation in my opinion

the traits” argues Jesse. “Thus”

means that society is putting

he continues, “it links to gender

more emphasis on traits that

and whatever we ascribe to the

are ascribed to the female

female gender, not the female

sex, whether it is because of

sex per se. If you analyse it

positive of negative shifts.” In

more critically, we should care

Derek’s opinion, femininity has

at all why gender is ascribed

historical connotations with

to values and traits in the first

softness and sexuality; which

place.” Derek elaborates:

would mean that females either

“I think it is nonsense to link

are being seen as virgin Mary,

certain values to gender. This

or a sexual men-hater. These

image is very outdated. By

are both images which can be

linking values like empathy

redirected to an actually really

and compassion to the female

aged image of femininity.

gender, you basically say that those are values that men

14

Okay. So Feminisation pretty

naturally do not possess. What

much has to do with gender.

is seen as Feminisation here


femininity and masculinity are

these ideas, what means that

direction of society to a more

outdated terms which are in

these terms are no solid truth

humane approach towards

need of a new definition and

at all. “For example, before

each other.”

from which the use of them

the second World War pink

only aims at a narrow mindset.

was seen as a very strong,

If we take a look at the

“Men are no stereotype horny,

masculine colour. As opposite

future, do you think

primitive animals anymore,

to the very ‘gentle’ blue

it becomes more of a

who put women in the kitchen

colour, which had a very girly

necessity?

after fertilising them.”

connotation.” He thinks this

Jesse states that it is extremely

is a very problematic thought,

important and necessary for

I myself find it interesting

but he also states that we will

society to accept every way of

to question why link

laugh about it in twenty, thirty

behaving, and not describe it

the shift of softer norms

years. Just like we laugh about

per se to a gender or label.

and values in society to

teachers now, who used to

“I think it will be a big step

‘Feminisation’. Why do you

smoke in front of their classes.

forward if people stop putting

think we instantly associate

others in boxes and start to

these norms and values to

Hence, in this current system

accept each other for who

femininity?

of representation we link

they are.” Derek agrees and

“Historically women have been

femininity to softer values

adds that in a world where

in a lower social position and

and masculinity to harder,

political tension is dominating,

their role was to take care

values. Do you think it is

society looks harder than ever.

of the family, whereas men

possible to change this

“Extremist groups pop up

went to work and were the

system of representation?

everywhere and parents are

breadwinner at home” says

“I think that this way of

protesting against the softening

Jesse. According to Derek,

representing and especially

of society. Take for example

femininity and masculinity

labelling and categorising

the SIRE example where ‘boys

are terms that are culturally,

people can be changed, but

are called out to be real boys

socially and historically

I think it will be hard. Most

again’.” Utter bullshit, claims

decided. In essence that means

of all, people should stop

Derek fiercely. In his opinion

people themselves constructed

worrying about the labels 15

[non]sense

should actually be a general


obtain an open view” states

and I think the main problem

a very feminine trait, but in

do with equality. Accepting

Jesse. “The problem is that

is that people do not feel

Italy it is a ‘habit to impone’

values that are regarded as

people want to immediately

acknowledged within the

to impress women. I think the

feminine have to do with

label or categorise another

gender system. They do not fit

main problem is that people do

women and anything other

person, so they can understand

with the binary opposition of

not feel acknowledged within

than ‘heterosexual white male’

it better. People should be

sexes. People want to obtain an

the gender system. They do not

at the same position as for

accepted for who they are,

open view” states Jesse. “The

fit with the binary opposition

example heterosexual males.”

regardless of their gender

problem is that people want to

of sexes. People want to

Derek totally disagrees with

identity.”

immediately label or categorise

categorise other people by

Jesses answer. He argues that

another person, so they can

using a biological sex. That

it actually shows everything

Why do you think an

understand it better. People

does not work for everyone.”

but equality. When I ask if

increasing amount of people

should be accepted for who

Jesse elaborates. “Me, I do

he can elaborate on that, he

is having critique on the

they are, regardless of their

not per se feel feminine, but

answers that as long as assign

gender-system and gender-

gender identity.”

I certainly do not fit into the

specific values to feminine or

category of ‘cis-gender’ male

masculine, we keep creating

and nor would I want to.”

the concept of difference,

roles lately? Derek stresses that femininity

Why do you think an

and masculinity are no solid

increasing amount of people

terms, but terms that are

is having critique on the

In how far does Feminisation

what to with women who

constantly moving, especially

gender system and gender-

have to do with equality?

do not fit to a certain label?

in culture. “Paying a lot of

roles lately?

instead of equality. Because

This is a very interesting part

Exactly, we do not totally

attention to your body for

Derek stresses that femininity

whereby Derek and Jesse at

accept them, because we do

example, is a thing we see as

and masculinity are no solid

first sight seem to have total

not register this behaviour as

a very feminine trait, but in

terms, but terms that are

opposite opinions. However, if

‘normal’. Maybe it is time that

Italy it is a ‘habit to impone’ to

constantly moving, especially

you listen more closely you can

we give these gender-roles a

impress women.

in culture. “Paying a lot of

notice that their answers are

little bit of an update.

attention to your body for

heading in the same direction.

example, is a thing we see as

“I think it has everything to 16


The current binary gender-

was accepted as objective truth

equally. Both don’t really

system is often imposed as

back than. “If you really want

have a specific idea on the

biology and thereby used

to use the biology argument”,

development of Feminisation,

as an argument that the

Jesse interrupts, “people

but they do hope that this

perception on gender is

should know that actually there

movement will give people

impossible to change.

more freedom to be themselves

instead of two. We just needed

and eliminates the labels that

states that gender is definitely

two opposites to understand

society is assigning.

changeable, because the

human-kind better, in early

difference between biological

postmodernism. Because the

sex and gender is that

other four are a grey area in

gender is a social construct,

between. Let that sink in for a

which changes over time

second.”

[non]sense

are six biological genders,

In an anthropologist way, Jesse

and places. “Gender is not static,but should be placed on

Last but not least, do you

a continuum in my opinion.

think there is a possibility

If people realise this gender

that we are heading to a

can be shifted and changed

complete gender-neutral

over time. The emphasis

society?

on the difference between

Both Jesse and Derek agree

sex and gender is extremely

that a complete gender-neutral

important.” Derek adds that

society would not be possible.

we just only already should

There will always be people

question the idea that science

who will disagree. However,

itself is neutral. In the forties

they both hope that, as a

and fifties it was for example

society, we can become more

very common for Nazi doctors

gender-neutral in general. In

to find the ‘scientific truth’

Derek’s opinion it is also not

about the ‘divergent behaviour’

totally necessary to move to

of Jews. This is a social

a complete gender-neutral

conformation which seems

society, as long as there is

absolutely absurd if we look

space for the ones who feel

back, but definitely one that

the need to live their lives 17


Culture makes bitches and whores Rap seems to believe that women live in a male-dominated world, as described by money, sex, and violence. Its lyrics are very much surrounded by the values of egoism, characterised by male chauvinism where a woman gets mainly sexually objectified and portrayed as a thing they possess. One can also just simply call it a ‘macho personality’, which indicates three values: sexual attitudes toward women, the belief that violence is manly and the experience of danger as exciting. Rappers lyrics often offer a rejection of femininity, a tremendous presence of ego and the absence of vulnerability. My question here is, why do male rappers feel the need to act and talk that way? Is it because our society dictates and communicates that they have to fulfil a certain image in order to be heard? Are these the true meanings of rap? How for example are artists like Snoop Dogg in his music able to bring out such a meaning and later camouflage to embrace feminism?

Back in the days around the 1990’s it seemed to

that Snoop recently has spoken out against the

be that rappers felt the need to create a certain

lyrics of his old days, however he still refers to

persona around their lyrics, a persona defined by

women as “bitches,” “hoes” and whatsoever. The

gangster hood, crimes and the ghetto life. It make

rapper said, although he had a newfound respect

sense though, rap used to be the voice of the

for the opposite sex, he still didn’t regret belittling

minority, shaped by NWA, 2Pac, Eminem and co.

their gender in his previous songs.

That image was essential for rap artists in order to

Most women were quick to point out that rap

be an authentic and valuable part of the industry.

occasionally blind slides them with ugly lines. All

Rap lived in the streets of the ghetto and its lyrics

of the pop cultures are sexist. Mellissa, 2015,

told the story. That kind of implied a certain need

goes ahead to refer sexism as discrimination

to show power and aggression, a need to show:

against people: “anything unfair to males or

‘I am the man’. Just look at the song Bitches ain’t

females, in which on this aspect the women’s

shit, by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, in which they

world was dominated upon. Women in various

talk about their time with Eazy-E when they rolled

aspects have therefore come out clean to defend

around, fucking women (or how they call them:

their roles and prevent these harsh aspects of

hoes) at night and worse. Interesting though is

sexism.” 18


Dudes who like to explain to women how sexist

what, dude? No one’s more aware of that than

rap is (we’ll term them ‘Explainers’) are well-

the woman that you’re hectoring, because she’s

meaning white knights who have a passing

experiencing it. Rest assured that a woman will be

familiarity with rap music and an urge to ensure

navigating the tensions of being a female fan of

that female fans are made aware that the genre

rap in her way, perhaps because she realises that

is ‘misogynistic’ (a once-powerful buzzword that

you can enjoy rap without condoning its every

used to denote hatred of women, but which

message; or because she finds it more uplifting

increasingly means nothing more than “a thing

than it is oppressive; or perhaps because she

I, a man, find sexist on some level, from a safe

feels like not everything that she does needs to be

distance”). Explainers often identify as ‘feminist

‘empowering’ or ‘for the cause.’ Trust me on this

men’, although sometimes they’re just the type

one, those are all perfectly valid reasons.

women. It’s a dead giveaway that you’re dealing

To some extent, the use of rap words musically

with an Explainer if he opens with the following

was influenced by the society and communication

lines: “how can you listen to that stuff? It’s so

within the society. The musicians tend to point

misogynistic.” Or “how can you claim to be a

out on the happenings within the community and

feminist when you love rap so much?” Explainers

society they lived. The whole idea of feminisation

get motivated by a belief that rap ‘gets away

in rap evidenced here. The rappers were male

with’ being sexist; they’re selfless protectors of

artists, and since men domineered the society, the

womenfolk.

term hyper masculinity came out. Male rappers

[non]sense

of man who likes to stringently test (feminist)

brought out the use of power, sexual brutality, and aggression among others to bring out their Women in various aspects have therefore come

messages. This is evidenced in the rap song

out clean to defend their roles and prevent

created by Snoop Dogg; “Bitches ain’t shit but

these harsh aspects of sexism. These so-called

hoes and tricks. Lick on these nuts and suck the

Explainers have been condemned and urged to

dick.”

stop: assuming that women need to be taught that rap is itself sexist. Lecturing about misogyny

Over time, artists have produced mixed

to people who live with it every day perpetuates

songs ranging from modernisation to male

misogyny. No matter how wholesome your

domineering. These depend on how one feels

intentions, when you dictate to a woman what

the society has affected them individually and

she should listen to and what she should find

chauvinism, where a woman got mainly sexually

offensive, you shit on her autonomy and insult

objectified and portrayed as a thing they possess.

her intelligence. They are instead advised to

Therefore, in conclusion, it’s the culture we create

perpetuate the racism inherent in singling rap

that makes these rhymes.

out for its sexism. It’s indisputable that sexism

by Hanna Woods

drenches our cultural products. And you know 19


photo by Lea Franziska Simon


Is mercy more important than justice? by Jeffrey Dral

Samantha Smidt, Case Law Reporter and president at Kinderen Jongerenrechtswinkel NoordHolland, thinks the justice system is old fashioned. She is a supporter of the feminisation of the court and tries to make case law more interesting for outsiders. We discussed what a more feminine approach in the court and the legal system would look like.

What do you define as

opinion on this?

feminine characteristics and

“In law-school, most of the

values?

students are women. If you

“Let me start by saying

look at the highest council,

that I don’t believe in the

you’ll find only a few women.

stereotyping of genders. When

If you find women, it’s because

I think of feminine values, I

they joined quite recently. I

think of softness. In ways of

think it’s a good development

character, I think of sweet

and I think that adding women

and helpful, empathy, caring,

to the judiciary can cause it

kindness and happiness.”

to be seen as less dusty. The traditional middle-aged men

What would you say if I’d

are little by little being replaced

Samantha Smidt

ask you about masculine

by women. I think that case law

Samantha Smidt graduated in 2017

values?

will therefore become more

in Jurisprudence at the University of

“Then I would head towards

Leiden, the Netherlands. Earlier in 2014,

assertive, hard, tough and

she started to work as Legal Advisor

explicit.”

accessible.”

Do you think that the justice system has softened over the

for Kinder- en Jongerenrechtswinkel Noord-Holland Noord, answering legal

Do you believe someone

questions from children and adolescents

with a soft character could

“Well, I think society became a

during consultation hours. She became

also be explicit?

little bit harder. A lot of people

past few years?

the President of this institution in 2016. In

“Sure, people can have both

think that people need to be

that same year, she started as a Case Law

feminine and masculine

punished. I do not dare to say

Reporter for ‘de Rechtspraak’ (affiliated

character values. For example,

how this translates into court.

to the dutch government) to make court

I would never characterise

What I do know however is

law more interesting for outsiders. As a

myself with one of two

that, in the past, people went

woman in court, she has an active role in

stereotypes.”

to court wearing traditional

equal right movements and her passion;

costumes. Nowadays, it is

youth law.

22

There is currently an

allowed to acceptable to be

increase in female

casual. We’re all only human,

lawyers and judges in the

you see? We need to feel

Netherlands. What’s your

comfortable.”


In what ways has the court

assertiveness. The emotions

something forever, but as soon

become more humanised?

of a judge must be in perfect

as a punishment is imposed, a

“Both. Judges and couriers

balance.”

perpetrator must, in principle, be able to carry on with their

everyone is equal. The work

The Dutch law carries the

life once they get back into

for other staff members of

right of speech for victims.

society. For the victim’s temper,

the court became a lot more

Do you think this is the effect

forgiveness can work as a tool

human and accessible in the

of a more human system?

for getting rid of bad feelings.

last years. They no longer

“In recent years, much more

I think that justice is more

have to match with rules of

attention has been paid to

important for society; at least it

appearance, for example.”

what a victim experiences.

is for me.”

It is no longer just looking

Judges with excessive

at the perpetrator and their

Can you explain this?

empathy could clash with

punishment. We also look to

“I think that a perpetrator must

neutrality obligations.

the consequences of the crime

be punished. Not necessarily

Assuming that feminine

and the impact on the victim.”

to deter other people, but

people have bigger empathy

especially because there are

than masculine people, do

Radio 3FM interviewed you

rules that all of us must live up

you think it is good if most

at the beginning of this year

to. If you do something bad

of the judges would assert

on the lawsuit against the

you’ve got to pay for it.”

feminine characters?

pedophile that drove the

“We could say that all judges

15-year-old Amanda Todd

Could it be useful in court to

are sort of feminine because

to despair. Her mother, who

reduce punishment when a

they should possess these kind

has remarkably forgiven

suspect actively works to get

of qualities. Humans make

him, said that she couldn’t

a victim’s forgiveness?

mistakes. There is of course a

think of a punishment. This

“I get the feeling that a

difference between committing

lead me to the question; is

perpetrator wouldn’t mean any

a murder or walking through

mercy more important than

of it. ‘Sorry about that, can I

a red light, but it is a good

justice?

leave now?’ I do not expect

thing when a judge can show

“A victim remains a victim.

that the goal will be achieved

some empathy. At the same

Forever. That doesn’t stop

when it is a condition that

time, I also think that all the

after an event is over. A

one must cooperate for the

judges must instil a touch of

perpetrator will also carry

forgiveness of a victim. At 23

[non]sense

wear a toga, within that group


the same time, I notice that

means that he/she does

How would an even more

many victims find it hard if a

something good for others?

humanised legal system look

perpetrator has never offered

Are the options in the

like you?

his apologies. It communicates

current legal system, such as

“Compare our system to, for

the sign that the perpetrator

legal prosecution, enough

example, Scandinavia’s system

simply doesn’t regret their

for that?

and you’ll see that they act

crime. There’s plenty of

“That’s hard to say. There

very differently there. In Finland

examples for cases like this in

are many requirements that a

there is a prison on an island

the media.”

perpetrator should meet for

with only a fence and a normal

prosecution. There are grounds

gate. The prison forms a real

Would a judge be able

for exclusion and there are

community. Rarely a prisoner

to soften his case when a

still such things as grounds for

escapes and ex-detainees

victim shows forgiveness, or

justification.”

fall less often back in their

when a perpetrator asks for forgiveness? “Allowing a perpetrator to

bad habits. A Dutch prison

Could you explain those to

features high walls and double

me?

gates. The biggest difference

ask for forgiveness would

“Force majeure and self-

however is our mindset. In

put a lot of power on victims

defence are, for example,

Scandinavia, they believe in the

and relatives. That might

grounds for exclusion.

human treatment of detainees,

sound nice, but it reduces the

Justification is a different

and they really focus on a

credibility of case law. I can

concept. Imagine, for example,

rehabilitation.”

imagine that it is difficult for

a state of emergency, in

a perpetrator to accept that a

which someone breaks into

And that’s different to here?

punishment must be expelled,

somebody’s house to save a

“Our mindset is more about

while the victim has already

person from a fire. In that case

revenge. Scandinavia allows

shown forgiveness.”

we have a criminal offence, but

detainees to cooperate for a

also a ground for justification.”

better society while our society

Imagine someone doing

wants to see detainees as long

something that is not

as possible behind closed

allowed when at the same

doors.”

time the crime he makes 24


In a society in which

structure. On the hand, we

people are softer and more

also wouldn’t go anywhere if

forgiving, it seems to be

everybody just started fighting

more likely that more crimes

all the time.”

will be committed from compassion and empathy. How should case law threat

[non]sense

this? “Breaking into a burning house is, of course, almost no offence, but we can stretch the committing of a crime for somebody else up until we speak of vengeance. Nobody is allowed to play for own court.”

How would a feminine world look like you? “This question reminds me of a statement I once heard. ‘If all world leaders were female, no war would ever exist, but no country would ever talk to another again.’ I think society must be balanced in terms of masculine and feminine values. If we’re all nice and kind to one and another, everybody would be equal. Although, if there would be no hierarchy, while that’s very necessary for 25


The media and female empowerment: An interview with publisher Tori West by Sara Blanken

While most twenty-four year olds are still finishing off their studies and getting wasted in a pub, London-based creative Tori West already has three publications to her name. I sat down with Tori to talk about ‘clickbait feminism’, guys sliding into her Instagram DM’s and the portrayal of women in the media.

Tori West is making her way

on Instagram, she knows all

media editor for i-D and Vice,

into the London fashion

about the popular medium

I constantly needed to consider

scene in a pastel pink haze.

and its impact on women

stats and I felt like I was

Her publication BRICKS

empowerment.

clickbaiting social issues such

Magazine celebrates the

as feminism, gender equality

power of women by exclusively

Why do you tend to focus

and mental health. I didn’t

featuring females, Disasterzine

on the female gaze in

feel okay with that. The way

makes dating disasters feel

your publications such as

brands and magazines market

less embarrassing and the

Disasterzine and BRICKS

social values and women is just

upcoming publication Flaps

Magazine?

wrong. My focus on the female

will aim to break down taboos

“I feel like the female gaze

gaze wasn’t something I did

around sex education. Tori

and this whole feminism

intentionally, more something

proudly calls herself a feminist

’trend’ has turned into a

I did by accident. Disasterzine,

and is not afraid of exhibiting

marketing clickbait tool, which

for example, was mostly to

her body and sharing her

mainstream publications use to

do with the fact that I was

feelings on the internet. As a

get higher stats. I never wanted

frustrated with the dating scene

former social media editor at

my publications to be like that.

in London. Everybody treats

i-D and with 7000 followers

When I was working as a social

their relationship like IKEA: 26


do so much better in terms of

social media and you can see

quick, and then you think ‘well

sex education. What about all

my nipples through my top

actually I don’t really like that,

the emotional sides of sex that

I don’t even think of it to be

oh fuck it, I’ll just bin it and

we do not learn? What about

provocative or sexual in any

get something new because I

LGBQT sex education? What

kind of way. For this reason, I

can.’ I got really frustrated with

if you don’t feel completely

don’t post that much anymore

this and decided to spill all my

happy in your body? That is

on Instagram because I’m just

feelings out in a magazine”.

kind of where the project came

bored of people reporting and

from”.

censoring it.”

BRICKS Magazine highlights ‘taboos’ such

What are your thoughts

Do you find women

as menstruation and your

on the way women portray

posting naked selfies to be

upcoming publication Flaps

themselves on social

objectifying themselves or

will deal with sex education.

media compared to the

do you see it is a form of

Why do you think it is

way they are portrayed in

empowerment?

important to bring topics like

magazines?

these to light?

“It is such a controversial

“What is really great about

subject. But I think if you do it

“I noticed that I was personally

social media is that you have

in the right way, it is a hundred

super frustrated with these

complete freedom in terms of

percent empowerment. Take

topics. In terms of sex educa-

how you would like to portray

my friend Emma Breschi for

tion, I grew up being told that

yourself. Publications on

instance. She is a plus size

heterosexual was the norm.

the other hand, decide how

model and did this thing on

I have always felt really con-

women are being portrayed

her Instagram story where she

fused about my sexuality. I

without those women actually

showed her cellulite and how

didn’t want people to put me in

having a say in it. However,

it looked in different light. In

a straight/gay/bi or whatever

social media unfortunately

this way, she teaches girls how

box. It was more that I needed

censors what you can and

different light and shadow can

people to already have these

cannot put up. I have lost

make you feel as though you

conversations about different

count of how many times my

have something on your body,

sexualities, in order for me to

posts have been taken down. I

while it’s not actually there,

feel it was okay to be confused.

don’t wear a bra for instance. I

and how to accept that.

Flaps was basically born out

don’t think I actually own one.

of the frustration that we can

So if I post a pic of myself on 27

[non]sense

you can build something really


That is such an empowering

necessarily feel comfortable

have these amazing girls that

thing for a young girl to grow

with and own up to that

message me saying they’re

up with and watch. Whereas

publicly on social media, I

going through this really shit

bloody Kim Kardashian and

think there is some-thing really

breakup and I helped them get

whatever her name is, Emily

beautiful about that and it has

through it with all the con-tent

something, are posting things

a sense of empowerment to it.”

I push out on Disasterzine.

like ‘look at me, I’m minted,

That is why I do it. Someone

my body looks like this.’ Well

Have you ever received

messaged me on Insta-gram

okay great, I understand

uncomfortable or

a couple of weeks ago saying:

you’re happy with your body

inappropriate messages

‘I’m very upset can I talk to you

but it’s not your actual body,

relating to any posts that

about it?’ I was like yeah sure,

you’ve paid quite a lot of

you have shared?

I have no fucking clue who you

money to alter your body. To

“Oh. My. God. Yes. I have

are but go for it. To me, that’s

me, what Emma is doing is

the most random people

the beauty of social media.”

giving a big ‘fuck you’ to all

sending me messages. Almost

those fake bitches who can

eve-ryday my DM is filled with

Disasterzine shares

afford to look like that. The

random guys dropping me

hilarious, and relatable,

way Emma shows her naked

pictures of their ass spread out

date failures. Is there a

body is empowering: she is

and tied up with bondage on

reason all of these are

still nude, but she is showing

their bed. Recently I’ve had

written from a woman’s

something from a different

someone who offered to be

point of view?

point of view. Not like the

my sugar daddy. I was actually

“The only reason it is written

Kardashians, who photoshop

kind of into it, but then he only

from a woman’s point of view,

all their fucking selfies. That is

wanted someone to sleep with

is because I do it. These are

hardly empowering. If you can

for a couple of times a week

all things that happened to me

openly speak about things that

for fifty pounds an hour. Not

or my girl mates. Bizarrely, the

make you feel like a vulnerable

really my cup of tea.

only things that are fea-tured

person or things you don’t

However at the same time, I

from a male perspective are 28


Is there any particular

so many women that I’ve met

It wasn’t on purpose that I’d

magazine or individual that

that inspire me so much.”

created it from a female point

you admire?

of view, it is more because

“Yeah, some actually. Riposte

Last but not least, how do

I’m a woman and that was my

magazine is made by a mother,

you want to develop your

personal experience. The thing

who makes the magazine

(online) presence? Any

with my work is that I do a lot

on the side. I’m also really

particular goals you’d like

of things with a female gaze,

good friends with the girl

to achieve?

but its never really my intention,

behind Polyesterzine, she is

“I want start a publishing

it just happens because I’m a

such a powerhouse. I think

company, which is something

woman.”

mainly indie titles that aren’t

I’m in the middle of doing now.

manipulated by the advertisers

Similar to Vice, but only for

Do you feel women are

and basically can do whatever

women and independent titles.

more embarrassed about

they want and produce

I just want to be able to publish

dating disasters than men?

amazing content.”

stuff by inspiring people, who

Or maybe feel the need to

create amazing content but

These are all publications

don’t have enough money to

“I think so, women are more

that are mostly focused

put it out there. Another goal

open in a way about dating

on females and women

for me is to try and change

disasters. I guess it is that

empowerment.

how elitist the press is and

share them?

whole bloody masculinity thing

“Haha, yeah I guess that’s

make it a realistic dream to be

where people still sadly feel

me. Even though I try to think

featured on a website. Basically

they can’t be open about their

I’m not really bothered about

I just want to make the whole

feelings, cause it makes other

it, I guess it is something I’m

publishing industry way more

people say ‘oh stop being such

the most interested in. It’s just

accessible than it is at the

a pussy.’ I just find that really

because I’m a woman, I can

moment.”

shit. That shouldn’t even be a

relate to it. Women are just

thing.”

phenomenal people. There are 29

[non]sense

from my friends that are gay.


photo by Lea Franziska Simon


Sensitivity is the most underestimated value in society Do you feel feminine?

by Nisse van Rossum

WdKa graduate Esmay Wagemans operates on the edge of the female body and questions the future of humanity.

Esmay Wagemans

on the way you allow other

“Hmm thats a nice one - and

people to perceive you?

a hard one - to start. I guess it

“Yes and no. Social media has

depends. I don’t really consider

always played a big role in my

myself either masculine

identity as an artist. It started as

or feminine, more neutral

a fun and easy way of showing

actually. But it depends on the

my work but I’ve become more

environment I find myself in.

and more aware of the image

There’s a big contrast in the

you create through stylised

Esmay graduated from WdKa in 2016, but

way I present myself as an artist

imagery. People just see the

already gained renown acknowledgement

and the way I am at home.’

super feminine final product

and publicity a year earlier when she

online and I started to realise

created her conceptual piece second skin.

Would you say the brand

that people that don’t know

The artwork was a response to Instagram’s

Esmay is more feminine than

me think I am arrogant and

nipple boycot and quickly got picked up

your personal self?

a bitch. There is still a certain

by platforms as Dazed and I-D. Second

“Yes, and I love the fact

stigma around strong feminine

skin has now been traveling the world and

that those two are separate

imagery. But not that long ago

has been exhibited in galleries in New

from each other. Most of the

I discovered Instagram Stories

York and London. Ever since she’s been

time I’m just alone at the

and this really opened up my

busy working in collaboration with Bonne

atelier in jogging pants and

world.’’

Suits and music artist Thomas Gurnay,

sloppy clothes singing stupid

among others. Wether experimental or

songs while painting on the

more commercial; Esmay’s work always

floor. I don’t consider myself

“Well through Instagram

links to skin and nudity - questioning

representative or feminine for

Stories I can finally show the

sexual objectification and the human body.

that matter, frequently not at

less glamorous side of my work

all. I am very much aware of

without disrupting the carefully

how I present myself to the

created flow and style of my

outer world.’’

Instagram feed. I really love it.

In what way?

It makes me feel more honest

So you are saying that the extent to how feminine you consider yourself depends 32

and intimate.


Do you feel the need to

our society, not only in look

that believe that I just wanted

build a more personal

and feel. I guess you could say

to show my nipples on social

relationship with your

it was feminist in essence. And

media for my own pleasure.

audience?

even though I don’t consider

But it’s really not about that of

“Yes, definitely. The relationship

myself an activist artist or even

course. It’s this group of

becomes more emotional

a feminist, this kind of became

and this also makes me feel

my trademark.’’

march to reclaim control over

real, spontaneous and not

Two years ago In Dazed

thought through way of

(2015) you said that you

communication. The fact that I

wanted to free the female

can show multiple sides of the

body from objectification.

story makes me feel strong.”

Do you feel like there

people, the majority, that I

has been any progress

would love to reach. On the

regarding that matter?

other hand I feel like this is

distinctively feminine - you

“No I don’t feel like we

maybe not for me after all. I

work with soft, rounded

made any progress, but it’s

try to use the simplicity and

shapes, pink, pastel and

hard for me to say. I’ve been

directness of advertisement in

powdery colours, the

researching this topic very in

my work but I guess I am just

illusions of skin and see-

depth, which makes me more

not commercial enough in the

through, moist textures

alert to negative signs. So

end.”

- do you consider yourself

maybe my view is not objective

as someone that makes

at the moment.’’Did you

I noticed a movement in

feminine art?

change your point of view?

contemporary photography

“Yes, without a doubt, and I do

“I didn’t change my point

of women that create (self)

this on purpose.’’

of view, but I’ve become far

portraits in which they

more aware of the fact that

highlight their femininity in

there’s a very big group that

such an extreme way that it

“The first project I gained

doesn’t understand my work

almost becomes surreal.

recognition for (Second Skin)

or interprets it wrongly. Take

was of course completely

second skin as an example:

about the role of femininity in

there are still so many people

In my eyes your work is

Can you elaborate?

their own femininity.

33

[non]sense

I believe women are on a

more feminine. It’s such a


The essence of my work lies within the relationship between me and the material.

Do you see this as

You use your own body

that period of time I immensely

something more young

often as experimental

missed the direct contact

artists play with?

canvas but for your latest

with myself. I discovered that

“This is absolutely a trend and

project New Humanities

the relationship between my

I believe that social media is

you even went a step

own skin and the material is

the biggest buoyancy of this.

further and created almost

essential to my work. I gain

Everything we see on the web

a clone of yourself. Do you

so much information and

is a surreal version of reality

consider this a self-portrait?

inspiration when I can literally

and this directly effects the way

“Yes, actually I do. Even

feel how the material interacts.

anyone - male or female - sees

though that was not the initial

Without that experience I think

and therefore portrays him or

starting point of the project and

I wouldn’t get any further in my

herself. Furthermore I think that

I also don’t refer to it as being

art. So I discovered that the

women these days use their

a self portrait in particular. But

fact that ‘it’s about me’ is very

femininity as a statement, as if

I do think that the process of

important and I wanted to take

they want to say:’I don’t have

(re)creating yourself plays a

this insight - the personal and

to imitate a man to be able

bigger part in the work than I

the double self-portrait - to my

to be strong.’ There’s a shift

expected.’’

next project. Which resulted in

happening that frees women

New Humanity.’’

from having to neutralise

What’s it like to recreate

their sexuality. Friends of mine

yourself?

Talking about New

no longer counterbalance

“It’s creepy, haha. The teachers

Humanities, how do people

by downdressing but think:

actually wanted me to use a

respond to this work, as it’s

‘fuck you.’ They embrace

model but I am happy that I

quite controversial?

their femininity and use it

didn’t. I wouldn’t want to miss

“Very good, funny enough

as a powerful tool in their

the experience of the process

people understand the

advantage: ‘I love to use the

of recreating yourself. Besides

meaning very well. Apparently

power of my own feminine

that I just finished the project I

robotic humans are more

sexuality.’ No shame in that.’’

did with Sevdaliza and during

relatable than a women’s

34


Do you think that the fact

up your emotions and embrace

I got the feeling that no one

that women are changing

your sensitive side is in my eyes

really thought bout the fact that

also effects men?

the most powerful thing.’’

we are creating a replacement

“Yes I think so, women

for ourselves and that we are

become more feminine and

becoming the robots instead of

actually men also become

the other way around - it didn’t

more feminine. But to be

offend anyone or raised any

honest I don’t mind that. I find

turbulence among the crowd.’’

femininity something extremely

[non]sense

nipples, haha. Even though

attractive, also in men. I find

How do you see the future of

sensitivity the most beautiful

women in society?

feminine characteristic

“Well… I think a lot will

and I hope that with these

change, and I believe that

developments in society

the internet has such an

there will be more space for

immense influence on societal

emotions.’’

developments. But this whole thing that women emphasise

In a way your own work is

their feminine sexuality at the

very sensitive as well.

moment is very confusing. In a

“That’s right, it’s fragile, and

way it’s so stereotypical… but

I am proud of that. I don’t

I think women are in a march

understand why it’s still seen

of reclaiming control over their

as weak to shed a tear or show

own femininity.’’

some sensitivity. Ambition is great, but it is something you can force, to be sensitive is something that you either are or aren’t. To be able to open

35


Is Beyoncé a terrorist?

We have a lot of dirty words in the English language. But between dropping an A, B, C, or S my D bomb, few compare to the F-word. And even fewer compare to the, I guess, T word. In 2001 Beyoncé taught us the word Bootylicious and in 2013 she taught us the word Feminist. So in 2017 can she teach us the word Feminisation? by Elizabeth Thomas

Following up on the singer once being given the hyperbolic label of a ‘terrorist’ by Bell Hooks, an American author and women’s rights activist during a panel discussion at the New York’s New School, it becomes apparent that all topics ‘fem’ still have a complex charge to it. Feminisation can dryly be described as re-appropriating typically female values and characteristics to an ungendered or typically male object, topic, role or individual. We can see this in the medical procedure of feminisation for transgendered women, and the growing of feminised seeds. But we can also see it more in fluid ways with the emergence of a feminised society. We have more stay at home dads, an awareness of sustainability, encouragement of being in touch with your emotions, and the increased prevalence of women in the work force, from medical, political to art sectors. However a connotation that surrounds feminisation is that it runs parallel to emasculation, and today the fact remains, feminine values and qualities are still seen as inferior, and anything described as such is negative. With no clear face to fem causes like feminism or feminisation, society is still up in arms about what these labels are and are not. Enter Beyoncé Knowles. Sasha Fierce, Mrs.Carter, Queen Bey; the woman takes up every female role and brazenly so. From business mogul to mother, wife, and sex icon, anything she does is not in a tentative manner, it’s all-in or nothing. Forbes ranked her as the number 1 woman on the celebrity 100, raking in a cool 9 figure profit from her recent Formation tour, endorsements from H&M and Pepsi, along with a fragrance and fashion line started in 2010. She is proud to wear the titles mother and wife, whilst never projecting the 36


Beyoncé. Whether you agree with her kind of

do so. In her song Flawless, she refers in her lyrics

feminism or not the fact is, she made it a word

to her break from the industry as, “I took some

9 year olds are able to call themselves without

time to live my life, but don’t think I’m just his

associating themselves as “manhaters’ or “hairy

little wife”, and in Run the world, “Strong enough

unhappy women”.

to bear his children, then get back to business”. It can be argued that as the Queen of pop and

This performance got a feeling across; the power

a face to modern feminisation, Beyoncé has

of Women, so in an increasingly feminised

re-imagined traditional female roles previously

society, can she empower men too? In an

seen as sacrifices for men as she redefines what it

interview with Stacyian Jackson, writer of the

means to be a woman.

2017 theatre performance “Don’t worry, Be yoncé”, she explains “She could definitely inspire

As the work continues on the struggle for

in the sense of, ‘You can’t mess with us’. Women

recognition and celebration of the lives of

are not there to be messed with. It’s a simple fact

women, as an artist, Beyoncé inspires how we

of not judging a book by its cover and I think a

view the place of women in society. In her 2014

lot of men realise that now” She goes on to add,

VMA’s performance, she showed us the different

“I see this power in Women… [Beyoncé] plays

stages of womanhood. Her backdrop is a 5 metre

with this idea by showing yes, she is the woman,

high screen lit up by a word with a complicated

the mother, the wife, but look at me bitch, I can

history, and through the television speakers of

also do this. She knows her power, and more

12 million Americans and a live crowd, the voice

importantly how to use her feminine power”.

of Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie states the dictionary definition of feminism

In Brazil, a country with the highest rates of

as featured in the song Flawless. “Feminist, the

transphobic murders in the world, Beyoncé is

person who believes in the social, political, and

a powerful symbol of hope for LGBTQ fans.

economic equality of the sexes”. Before this,

She strikes a chord with these young men and

feminism was something everyone knew of, but

women, giving them a community where they

no one really cared about it. So when you ask

can revel in their queerness. Abigail Spindel,

“Who run the world?”, in entertainment, it’s

maker of documentary “Waiting for B” says, “It’s 37

[non]sense

feeling she has to sacrifice anything of herself to


a type of empowerment that doesn’t necessarily

Johnson, foreign secretary of the U.K., openly

ring true for every woman who’s out to prove

belittled Labour MP Harriet Harman as ’Mad

women and men are equal, but for people who

Hattie’. He described her government proposal as

are ensconced in a macho society like Brazil.

‘raving’, making her appear shrill and hysterical,

She represents the polar opposite of the macho

a word deriving from the Latin meaning of womb.

man… For gay men, they like to see that form of

It appears that mankind has evolved; but our

female empowerment, celebration of femininity,

ideas of gender have not.

as an objective for how they choose to present themselves”. So what would female power look

Although labels and boxes help us see the world

like in other areas?

in a clear way, we should not allow ourselves to be put into these boxes. If you hate the player

Already we are seeing feminisation in political

and hate the game, change the game. Or in

power shifts. Theresa May is the second woman

this case, the connotations of all things fem. The

to sit as Prime Minister of the U.K. and Angela

grounding thing about Beyoncé is she is changing

Merkel has won her fourth term as chancellor of

what it means to be a woman in 2017, without

Germany. Women also make up half of French

stopping being a woman. She is the epitome of a

President Emmanuel Macrons and Canadian

hyper-feminine woman in fact, exaggerating every

Prime minister Justin Trudeaus cabinet. However

typical form and role of a woman. So an icon

in spite of women gradually rising up in a wildly

definitely, but a terrorist? Maybe. But only if you’re

male dominated area of society, they remain to

afraid of women.

be undervalued via stigmatised language. Boris 38


39

[non]sense


Stereotypical Suffication

For me feminization is about letting go. Letting go of the stereotypes we held onto for so long.

photoseries by Amber van Winssen


Stereotypes fall in the face of humanity. We human beings are best understood one at a time. - Anna Quindlen


A plea for masculinity “Me Tarzan, you Jane”, he says just before flying away on a liana. This savage of a man is naked, apart from a tiny piece of fabric around his waist. He is at home in the jungle where he kills animals with his bare hands, while making brutal noises and slamming his fists on his muscled chest. Tarzan has body hair everywhere, unwashed pores and tangles in his hair. His rough use of language is authoritative and unemotional, and everything about him is extremely masculine. *sighs* Now you might think; nice story, but the boys I know are nothing like this. Well, that is exactly the point, men like Tarzan aren’t that usual. But in a feminised society like ours, aren’t men like Tarzan just the thing we need?

The male identity

dominant and practical. Whereas women

The man finds himself in an identity crisis.

were just an incomplete version of a man.

Everything he used to think of as masculine,

With several feminist waves a new image of

seems to fit women just as easily. With women

women appeared; women were now perceived

shaking of their stereotypical image, men should

as peaceful, emotionally gifted and charming.

be able to do the same. But whereas women

Now that society is feminising, this description

go wrestling, fishing and repairing the house,

of what is female is not only accepted, but also

men are not massively signing up for pilates,

often understood as superior to the masculine

horseback riding and baking classes. They

counterpart. It’s worthier to be careful and

are sticking to their traditional roles while also

connected, than cold and aggressive. This change

adopting softer values. This situation makes men

in the perception of gender values has led to

vulnerable. They have to compete with women

the fusion of the previously known gender roles.

for the ‘masculine roles’, where they seem unable

In current times women work in high positions,

of taking over some of the ‘female roles’. An

wear suits, drink beer, watch football and some

example of this shift in gender roles is the current

even grow armpit hair. At the same time men are

lack of male teachers in primary schools - a place

becoming more soft – adapting female values

where there used to be close to solely men. Is this

such as empathy, teamwork and even vanity. With

new division of gender roles making men useless?

masculine values disappearing from our gender roles, these values are becoming negatively

The feminisation of society and men

interpreted. Masculinity is now associated with

For centuries the man was approached as the

aggression, a lack of sympathy and an inability

strongest gender. He was physically strong,

to express emotions. Masculinity is therefore 44


blamed for many horrors in the world such as the

research which concluded that men who help out

economic crisis and wars. While at the same time

with traditional female tasks in the household are

femininity is triumphing.

having one and a half times less sex per month than males who don’t help out that much.

In order to remain needed, masculine society

Hence, men will have to become brutally

will have to change. A sort of change that is

masculine. In order to survive in this feminised

currently seen often is the feminisation of men.

world the ultimate counterpart of femininity is

Men adopt female values, become more family

needed; meat eating, cold, emotional incapable,

orientated and try to fit into a feminised world.

aggressive Tarzans. Men will have to become

But since men are often not capable of really

savages. Sexist savages who take back the lead

letting go of their male roles, such as the desire

and dominate their women. We will have to

to provide for their family, this softening of men

return to the traditional male-female division, a

isn’t really working smoothly. And don’t forget that

division that will help men regain a clear cut role

a change from men into women is quite useless,

in society. A role that has been working for many

since women are still capable of fulfilling this role

years. So ask yourself; why change a winning

themselves. Also important here is the question

team? The difference between men and women is

if women really want men to become feminine.

exactly what makes them combine so well.

[non]sense

The man of all men

According to multiple researches this isn’t often the case. Many women would even be happier

So boys, it’s time for you to start slamming your

in relationship with a traditional masculine man

bare chests and come flying into our feminized

and this becomes even more clearly through a

world!

by Loes Kleijngeld 45


“Some may see me as a barbarian, some may see me as a hypersensitive man. Finding the balance is what matters.” An interview with men’s coach Sjaak Hoogerheide.

by Marcelle Hoekstra.

What makes a man? “Balance, being present,

Why founding ‘Avontuur

wife. This has plagued the

van De Man’?

modern man, making them

attention. In most cases, there

“While being in the present

feel restless, without a sense

is an imbalance in a man’s

is in a woman’s nature, for a

of purpose and disconnected

behavior. When a man finds

man it’s a choice he actively

from their emotions. My

himself too much on the

has to make. Men tend to

workshops give those men

Lover’s side, he becomes a

either look back to that which

a set of tools to recalibrate

pleaser. When leaning too

keeps them from letting go of

themselves.”

much towards the Warrior’s

the past; or to look forward –

side, the man turns his anger

to their unfinished to do lists.

What are the central values

into aggressiveness. A man

Women, on the other hand,

of ‘Avontuur Van De Man’?

reaches manhood when he

are much more in the here and

“The three pillars of

finds a balance between these

now. Marketing and society in

‘Avontuur Van De Man’ are

two extremes, when he can

general reinforce this typically

‘Warriorship’, ‘Leadership’ and

be vigorous and leading, but

‘male’ trait of going forward –

‘Brotherhood’. ‘Warriorship’

also sensitive and loving. That

with disastrous effects. Men are

stands for a man’s inner

requires living in the here and

pressured to fit into this certain

wilderness, it drives men to go

now and doing things with

picture of having a well-paid

on an adventure and explore.

attention.”

job, a nice car, a good-looking

Leadership stands for a man’s 46

Meet Sjaak. A man with great posture. Loves meat, the outdoors, and experimenting with different mustaches. At the same time, he loves his family and knows no fear of showing a tear. For his living, Sjaak is a trainer and coach for corporate companies and the driving force behind Avontuur Van de Man (‘A Man’s Adventure’): an organization that offers personal development workshops for men. I sat down with him in his cosy home, with a stack of food prepared on his barbeque, to talk about masculinity in a modern world.


have to let boys play outside,

in female participation in

This includes ideals and

roll in the mud, smack each

the professional fields. It has

desires, but also boundaries,

other every once in awhile.

freed men from rigid gender

standing up for yourself and

That doesn’t mean that girls

roles. For a woman to be the

opening up to your emotions.

have to sit still and stay inside

provider and the man to be the

Finally, Brotherhood stands

playing with dolls. There

nurture is a phenomenon that

for men connecting with each

is nothing wrong with girls

is not frowned upon as much

other and supporting each

wanting to do ‘boys’ stuff and

as it was before. At the same

other in healing. Avontuur

boys wanting to do ‘girls’ stuff.

time, women are part of the

Van De Man aims for the

The problem is that in modern

problem. The thing is, women

development of these pillars.

society there is no room for

have gone beyond their goal of

boys to measure forces. That

emancipation by taking on too

I get Leadership and

can lead to an underdeveloped

many roles and leaving little

Brotherhood, but do men

‘Warrior’, expressed by

room for the man to reach his

really need a sense of

aggression, oppression and

full potential. The imbalance

Warriorship in modern

abuse of power. There is a lack

creates the crisis.”

society?

of choice and an over kill of

“Times have changed, but

pampering in our society. Boys

Could you paint me a

the wilderness is still in us.

need an outlet. They need to

picture of your workshops?

Of course not every man has

experience more. That means

“During the workshops we

the urge to express this inner

they have to go outside.”

strive to work towards doing

strength, but the question is,

things with attention. For

‘do we allow this part of our

Are women partly to blame

example, I let men stand face-

legacy in modern society?’.

for the ‘masculinity crisis’?

to-face and look each other in

Masculinity is in crisis and

“Women have played a

they eye. The one who looks

it already starts with the

positive role in how men

away gets a slap from the

educational system and female

perceive themselves. This

other. This is a way of showing

teachers punishing boys who

has partly to do with the

you’re not mentally present.

engage in rough play. We

feminist movements resulting

On top 47

[non]sense

ability to set goals for himself.


of that, the workshops are

It’s a way of expressing your

Is this masculinity with an

centered around letting men

feelings, losing your anger.

emphasis on emotions a

connect with their authentically

I think every man has a bit

female masculinity or a new

male strength. We do this by

of anger inside him. There is

masculinity?

engaging in firewalking, sweat

nothing wrong with that. But

“No, it’s a more male

lodging and wrestling. It’s a

once this anger can’t get out of

masculinity. All these years

combination of reconnecting

a boy’s body things get ugly.”

we’ve seen that men don’t

with your emotions and getting

show emotions. But there is

in touch with the man’s inner

Do you see results of your

nothing true about that. I’ve

wilderness.”

workshops on the spot?

worked with native Hawaiians

“Yes. During my workshops we

in the past, who taught

But from a very young age,

often sit around a fire; there

me about firewalking and

we impose binary gender

are no hidden agendas, no

Hawaiian sweat lodge rituals.

behaviour on kids, for

places to hide. Within only

They are true warriors. At

example, by giving boys

two hours, these men start

the same time, they express

boxing balls and violent

telling the group things they

their feelings to everything

video games and girls we

haven’t told anyone before.

in the world. They thank

give dolls and domestic toys.

It’s brotherhood at its best: the

the mountains, the woods –

Is the thought that boys need

point when they recognize and

everything they as humans

an ‘outlet’ not a construct we

accept each other’s suffering.

need to survive. Often we’ve

created ourselves?

Because the thing is, men like

been told these people are the

“I don’t think so. In the nature

to solve their own shit. They

savages, but in fact, we are.

versus nurture discussion, I’m

prefer bumping their heads

Western society can learn a lot

a true supporter of nature. A

a hundred times over asking

from them. So, no, masculinity

man needs an outlet. For some

someone for help. To many, the

is not being feminized.

this means getting on a bike

workshop is a revelation that

Masculinity is embracing

and cycling until you’re out

they’re not the only ones with

‘the emotional’, which is

of breath. For others it means

struggles in life. And then the

traditionally seen as female.

kicking a ball once a week.

tears start flowing.”

But showing your emotions 48


is not something inherent to

empathy as a leader, especially

what I see happening around

women. I don’t think it is a new

when it comes to his migration

me, I can definitely say I’m

masculinity neither. It’s more

policy (which really is a middle

optimistic.”

a movement towards older

finger to Big Brother Trump).

principles.”

Tom Dumoulin, a beast on the

How does your vision on

Nicklas Eckstedt for being a

masculinity influence your

star chef who integrates the

daily life and the way

rawness of outdoor cooking

people see you?

in sophisticated dishes while

“Some may see me as a

at the same time sharing his

barbarian, some may see me

passion with his family.”

[non]sense

bicycle but soft with his words.

as a hypersensitive guy. Again, finding the balance is what

How do you see the future of

matters to me. Thankfulness,

manhood and masculinity?

humbleness and attention are

“I see a very bright future

my great values in life. During

ahead. During my workshops

dinner, for example, I don’t like

I experience men who make

having phones on the table.

great progress; from having

It’s a social moment to be

shut down their feelings for

experienced together. Me and

many years to now showing

my wife have also decided not

small signs of empathy again.

to have ‘distractive’ electronics

By accompanying men in

at home except for the ground

getting back up after a deep

floor. This way, we make room

fall, I believe I’m doing my

for each other. You can call me

part. It’s a contribution on a

old-fashioned, but I actually

small scale, but it’s the reach I

believe it is very modern

can actually have an influence

thinking.”

on. You never know what is going to happen on a global

Who to you is the ultimate

scale, especially with our world

embodiment of masculinity

leaders Wig King and Rocket

in present times?

Man (read: Donald Trump and

“Justin Trudeau for showing

Kim Jong-un); but judging on 49


It’s time to get rid of the prejudice

Muslim women are being suppressed by their macho, rude and criminal husbands who think they can overrule women. They are lazy and just hang on the streets, while women are not allowed to leave the house and have to obedient. At least, this is the view that we unconsciously produce from what we hear in the media. These nongrounded assumptions are exactly what bothers me, especially the preconceived opinions about Islamic women. This group is mostly projected in a generalized and vulnerable way. So let’s talk about the prejudice of females in the Islamic world.

The overall problem This topic has a distorted view in most Western countries. It’s a result of a bigger problem, which is the negative connotation of the terms ‘Islamic’ or ‘Muslim’ in general. Those definitions are often related to extremism, terrorism, oppression or violence. It’s a shame that people get narrow-minded about a religion that is as rich in history as Christianity and Judaism. The way the media frequently portrays Muslims would not be acceptable if the references were to Jewish, black people, or fundamentalist Christians. These stereotypes have arisen from the big amount of negative news and representations around Islam orientated topics. For example, ISIS. But besides the news other media are also playing a big part in spreading a certain image. For instance, the film-industry. There has been less than ten characters in thousands of television shows and series in the past thirty years that have had an ArabAmerican in it. And if they actually play a role, they are mostly portrayed as the bad or deplorable individual.

Connotation of Islamic women The individuals that are being portrayed as deplorable are, most of the time, women and children. In the Western world we especially have a wrong connotation of Islamic women. This connotation is divided in three subjects namely veiled, oppressed and generalized. First, the way these women dress is a topic of conversation in many countries. It’s always about what they wear, instead of who they are as individuals. An example is the French government banning the burkini. Muslim women are not allowed to wear a swimsuit to the beach, even though it looks practically the same as a wetsuit. The only difference is that the hair is covered. According to the French government, it would be offending for other people.This, is either discriminating or racist. Eventually this results in big media attention and discussions between opponents and advocators about what’s right or wrong. Again, women get objectified. Second, Western countries portray Muslim women as voiceless, submissive, passive and oppressed. These are assumptions of a very small group of Muslim women. There are far more Muslim 50


Muslim. For many people this is a very conflicting

leaders. Oppression does exist in the Islamic

combination. As stated in the Quran ‘I never fail

world, but also in other religions and cultures.

to reward any worker among you for any work

Two Moroccan women I met recently, mentioned

you do, be you male or female, you are equal

once that this doesn’t occur everywhere and

to another’ (3:195), it’s important that people

every time. They said, “if you take a closer look

learn more about each other’s traditions and

at what the Quran is saying about females, you

backgrounds to develop an opinion based on

will certainly get a very different image of Islamic

truth rather than media and assumptions. If so,

women.” According to them, oppression is

people will understand each other’s way of living

mostly attached to culture, not religion. If people

and see connections between several movements

knew this, they would have a more positive view

and communities such as being an Islamic

on Islam and women. Nevertheless, the media

feminist woman.

often focuses on negative news because it draws

To achieve this, it’s very important to improve the

people’s attention. This is also why it is easy for

image of Islamic women in the Western media,

the media to emphasize Muslim women as a

because it’s the first thing people get information

homogeneous group. On the other hand, it is

from. It can be seen as a big encyclopaedia

easy to reduce a minority or cultural group to

filled with information that might be true or false,

just one symbol such as a veil. For governments

because of this its important to change the image

this is an easy marketing tool to promote political

of minorities. Stereotyping and prejudice will

decisions with the help of the citizen’s support.

always exist. I admit that stereotypes contain some

[non]sense

women that are successful, powerful or creative

truth, but most of the time, the media puts it in a

Islam and feminism

distorted way to make the story more attractive.

Islamic women face a dilemma; being female

As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian writer

and Muslim. Every female has to stand up for

said. “It’s not that stereotypes are untrue, but they

her rights in a, mainly male dominated, society.

only tell one side of the story.”

Therefore, the representation of women in the media is rather unfair. The combination of being Muslim and a woman means that they have to fight twice as hard to be heard as western women. According to Shabana Kausar, an Islamic feminist, Islamic women bodies are the centre of debate, but their voices rarely are. Feminism and

by Neal Jordan

Islam can be resources that give Islamic women a voice. Even at this point there is bias; people can’t see the connection of being feminist and 51


I am feminine

by Nisse van Rossum


AM I?


si ght


Seeing a shift in society


h si g t

Now you can open your eyes. Can you see what’s changed? Sight may be your most used sense, but it might also be your most subjective. You tend to see what you want to see, but it’s all about where you put the focus. As you may have noticed, roles in society are changing. Gender is not as solid as it once was, instead assuming a fluid motion causing shifts on the work floor, migration and the way the world is perceived. As a whole our eyes are wide open with a special awareness, keeping an eye on what still needs to be changed.

Society is always in motion, but it’s we the people who determine its course. The

be seen from different perspectives, as every eye has its look. Throughout this chapter you are challenged to really see how feminisation manifests itself in today’s society. From changes in design and sustainability, to topics such as migration, gender roles and technology, are you looking close enough?

59

[non]sense

adoption of softer, more feminine values can be a positive movement, but change must


The crisis of masculinity

For ages, men have been holding onto a fixed image of masculinity: the ideal man was strong, had hair on his back, earned the family money and chopped trees in his spare time. Today however, this image doesn’t cut it anymore. Roles in society are changing. Male supremacy was self-evident for ages, but there seems to be a shift. Not only do women live longer than men, they also graduate faster, and do everything men do- sometimes even with better results. Moreover, modern society seems to be more suited for women, because the emphasis lies in social intelligence, not physical strength. The image of the great invincible male is crumbling; masculinity needs a new definition.

To see what this new definition entails, we must first understand the differences between the archaic and the modern man. The stereotype of a masculine man is not supposed to be one showing vulnerability. Hegemonic masculinity prescribes how to act, dress and talk ‘like a man,’ giving of the image that men who don’t want to risk being shunned have to live up to this particular image. In the documentary The Mask you live in, the pressure on boys to ‘man up’ is portrayed. This documentary shows that society teaches boys, directly or indirectly, to suppress their emotion to be seen as manly. According to the documentary, this can lead to aggression, sexual harassment and depression. Most violent people; rapists, criminals, corrupt politicians and so on, are men. Consequently, violent behaviour is often viewed as typically male. With gender being a largely discussed topic nowadays, this begs the question if typical masculine behaviour like competitiveness, territoriality and aggression is embedded in the genes or a product of culture and nurture. In Australia, the TV series Man Up was made, encouraging men to cry and show their emotions. This three-piece documentary highlights how society’s stereotyping of masculinity can lead to depression, which is an urgent issue, as suicide is a very common cause of death for middle-aged men. It might be that men benefit a lot from adopting the cloak of masculinity in the economic field, but their self-imposed emotional limitations can be problematic. “Old-school men” can feel like a failure simply by asking for help. The struggle with male identity also becomes visible in the rise of the spornosexual; a term coined by journalist Mark Simpson entailing a combination of the fields sports and porno. Simpson came up with this term as he noticed an increasing number of men wanting to look like a combination of these archetype men. This becomes clear in the male consumption of cosmetics, gym subscriptions and even botox. We are used to women being objectified, but now men are more often victim of this too, mostly through magazines and social media. This self-imposed beauty ideal is widely


presented through fitness accounts on Instagram

longer only for women. And of course, the dandy

and muscular celebrities on covers of lifestyle

has been back in the street scene for a few years

magazines. The perfect body is, of course, a non

now. Men seem to be exposing their personal

feasible goal for the larger part of the population.

style more and more often. On Instagram there

As anorexia has been a problem for ages for

are a lot of male influencers with thousands of

girls, an increasing amount of men is developing

(male) followers, who are not considered ‘sissies’.

an obsession with their bodies which can lead to

Hence, apparently showing your fashionable

dysmorphia.

outfits as a man is cool nowadays.

Although as this all sounds quite alarming, the

The crisis of masculinity can be something

crisis of masculinity is also a good thing. The

positive; if masculinity becomes a more fluid term

attention that this crisis gets, leads to the revision

and more feminine sides of men are celebrated

of what the term masculinity should entail in

instead of suppressed. It is time for a new era

modern society. Some men clearly suffer from

where we don’t talk about masculinity, but

the stereotyping of gender roles. This begs

masculinities. So dear men, it’s okay to cry and

the question as to why male identity was not

wear pink, as long as you chop down a tree every

questioned for such a long time.

once in awhile. And don’t lose sight on your male side either, because there are still things that you

When you think about it, male influence is all

do way better than women. Your sense of humor

around us. Society is shaped by men: most

for instance, is something women will never touch

architects, CEO’s and world leaders are male.

upon. But if this revolution of masculine identity

Which makes the male hand interwoven with

means there will be less macho men, the world

our lives, and therefore often unnoticed. We

just might become a better place.

aren’t trained to question masculine identity, men just are. The gender debate makes traditional masculinity finally a questioned matter. That masculine identity has been unilateral for ages is very visible in fashion. Where women have dozens of options in color and types of garments, men have a fairly smaller variety at their disposal. Women adopted trousers in their wardrobe in the early twentieth century, so why is it still not acceptable for a man to wear a skirt? However, things are gradually changing: the catwalk trends for men of 2018 could be described as very feminine: pastels, silk, and slim tailoring are no

by Carlijn Stadig


A girls manipulation on boys toys The powerful manipulation of girls have a huge impact on young boys. Typical boys

things in daily life, change more girly. The little boys are young and amendable, so

they don’t even realize.

by Sade de Jong


A fundamental longing for nature

Circular constructing

Morris Architects says: “The best we can currently

If we look at architecture today we see a lot

hope for as architects is to give people that ‘loose

of rectangular shapes, massive buildings, and

fit’ to allow sustainability to happen over time.”

rough materials from the structures built after

Circular constructing is not a phenomenon seen

the war. Upon closer investigation, we find

only in Amsterdam. It’s a trend, or movement,

an upcoming stream of new living situations.

that we see all over the world. Countries such as

Nowadays most companies want their offices to

Germany, France, Thailand, Brazil, and China

be sustainable and friendly to the environment:

show similar architectural concepts as the Bijlmer-

solar panels are being installed, plants are placed

Bajes. In China, for example, Italian architect

in abundance, and spaces have to feel open,

Stefano Boeri has unveiled his plans for a city

refined, and serene. If we look at the Bijlmer-

featuring towers covered completely in plants and

Bajes, recently bought by architect agency BAM,

trees to combat air pollution.

we see six colossal towers which will soon be transformed into Amsterdam’s new green living

The city will consist of almost one million

area. The space will contain vertical parks, and

plants and 40,000 trees. Each design provides

every building will be energy-neutral. All this

office space heavily packed with greenery and

is in accordance with the latest trend: circular

sustainable high-density housing. The design will

constructing, which is not only energy-neutral, but

absorb nearly 57 tons of pollutants and 10,000

also built out of (often recycled) material that is

tons of CO2 per year, while it also produces circa

demountable and can be reused. Stephen Taylor,

900 tons of oxygen.

associate director at Allford Hall Monaghan 65

[non]sense

Vertical forests, plant-covered skyscrapers and zigzagging solar panels. We go above and beyond to counteract air pollution. Why are we so obsessed with nature? And why does this obsession feel so forced?


This, in combination with its smog-eating

it, which with circular constructing in is the case.

walls, makes a world’s first according to the

Yet feminisation is not the only movement that

architects. Green living is a trend that originated

could be driving circular building. With the

in awareness, care for the environment,

contemporary environmental uncertainties the

enlightenment, and empathy. These are values

world is dealing with, we need to be conscious of

that we also use to describe feminisation.

the impact architecture has on the environment. We need to figure out new ways of building that

Off-grid: a concrete medley

do not prejudice the world: we need to build in

We do have to keep in mind that most of the

shapes that can gain us water; we need more

architecture we see is still capacious and angular.

plants to ensure cleaner air; we need to use

And let’s not forget the material that is so often

demountable materials so we can recycle. The

used for its construction: concrete. A rough,

question is no longer why, but how. Green areas

hard, and unbreakable material, symbolic for

are built all over the world. It’s a forced trend we

masculinity. Concrete façades are nothing new,

all have to accept.

but architects continue to fall for them. So if we take a good look outside the window, do we really see feminisation?

It tells you more about us as human

A brief look at the past

beings than it does the robots.

If we dig into history we find that architecture has long been connected to female values. Romanticism in architecture originated in Europe.

Many people have welcomed sustainability

It became a divergent style to the neoclassical

as a trend, and now want to make up for the

establishment: buildings with fluid lines that were

previous years by living and working in ‘healthy’

fanciful in its decorations, such as Marble Arch

spaces. Juliette Morgan, a consultant at Tech

and Brighton Royal Pavilion, were made in this

City, took up the point: “Google started it 10

time. These structures represented a deep, artistic,

years ago by saying, ‘we can attract talent by

and exotic expression of individualism. With

having places people really want to be in, that

delicate styles and intricate details, these buildings

are ‘fresh’ and that has worked its way through

are the perfect example of the romantic era, and

the architecture industry.” And that is exactly what

a perfect example of feminine decoration.

French-Brazilian studio Triptique did when they revamped an 85-metre-high office block into an

The environmental movement

energy source by integrating several sustainable

Historically, femininity concerned the look and

technologies in the 26-storey building, ranging

feel of architecture, not the movements behind

from renewable energy sources to innovative 66


Romanticism, but never did it come from such a

filled balconies. Triptique combined sustainable

strong movement like this. Never did it come from

development and innovative technologies with

a scream of help. The world has found itself on

daring design. Green refurbishment, known

a turning point. If we want to make sure that our

as the process of sustainably adapting and

children live a healthy life on this planet we need

upgrading old buildings, was applied here. This

to embrace our female values. We need to be

is one of the many building methods that helps

aware. We need to care. We need to enlighten.

counteract pollution. The amount of guilt we feel

We need feminisation.

[non]sense

glazing, water recycling systems, and plant-

for environmental issues is tremendous. We invest

by Amber Blewanus

heavily into finding solutions. We care like never before.

We insist melioration When we analyse the environmental movement, we see that it is based on awareness, care for nature, and empathy. Does this mean that the environmental movement was the start of feminisation in architecture? If we go through the history of architecture, we find that it has been connected with female characteristics for centuries. It was visible in both Neoclassicism and 67


The first division, a complicated gender puzzle Interview with professional footballer, Laura Strik.

For centuries sport has held a place dear in many countries and cultures, and is indeed a realm ruled by men. Reaching all the way from schools, living rooms, to bar floors, it has the power to make time to stand still just for a moments penalty shot. It’s clear it holds a large presence on our lives, but unfortunately casts a shadow on many of its’ participants; women.

Laura Strik is a professional

beat him while we played in

female footballer, playing in

our garden.”

the Dutch national team and

Are you still this competitive?

is captain of SC Heerenveen.

“I’d say even more, but not

She is not your typical girl

just me. I think everyone who

abiding by out dated female

plays sports on a higher level

roles in society, even the

is competitive or at least

contrary. In her opinion, the

ambitious. Otherwise why

gender division in football is

make all the effort?”

not as polarised as it seems

And how about the difference

to be. Football is one of the

between boys and girls? “It’s

biggest and most influential

nonsense that girls are seen as

sports on the globe, and when

less competitive. In my opinion

taking a closer look you’ll see

women are more competitive

it’s an industry with a rather

and willing to go further to

complicated gender gap as

reach their goals. Men in the

Laura Stirk explains.

contrary are pretty laid back most of the time.”

At a young age you were

by Britta Flinterman

a star in athletics and won

It sounds like they’re not as

several medals. What

tough as you would expect

prompted you to switch to

them to be, is this true?

football? “When you turn nine

“For starters, men always

years old you have to start shot

exaggerate. When someone

put, something I wasn’t very

tackles them they role around

good at and because of that

for three hours, then they have

I kept losing. Gently phrased,

to be nurtured for one hour

I’m a bad loser. So, I started

and then they are finally able

looking for a sport I could

to continue. Women just get

win.”

up and get on with it. Also, the amount of pulling shirts and

68

Why football? “My brother

insults during a mens football

played football and I always

game is higher. They even get


yellow cards for yelling at the

Which generation do you

“Salary is one of the biggest

referee. Why would they even

mean? “The one that cannot

causes of inequality between

consider doing that?”

get used to iPhones. The same

sexes in soccer. I am not

way they cannot get used to

addressing the fact that I

During your youth you played

women being good at sports.

cannot afford a brand-new

in male teams, how did you

Unfortunately, that is also the

Mercedes while my male

feel about that?

generation that has a lot of

colleagues can. Money is truly

“It always takes a while to get

influence in the sports industry,

the core of this issue.”

used to a new environment.

especially in football. They sit

Although I have never really

on the boards of associations

What do you mean by

been a typical girl. My life

like FIFA, KNVB and UEFA.”

that? “Look at performance

mainly evolved around sports. At that age kids don’t really

And when the next generation

women. For men, football is a

care about. If you’re a good

will replace them? “I think it

full time job. It get’s to be that

addition to the team you’re

will make a huge difference.

because they get payed like it

in. That is basically what

The current generation is more

is a full time job. They do not

happened in my football

used to equality between men

have additional jobs. All they

team too. I became one of

and women. Therefore they’re

have to focus on is their sport.

the guys and they treated me

more supportive towards it. You

They think it is normal that they

no different than each other.

already see that the amount

can ride expensive cars TThey

Also, I have never played with

of female football supporters

like they are little kids. We are

just girls so I had nothing to

within those companies is

not privileged like that. Our

compare it with.”

rising.”

payment does not cover all our

So there was no issue at all?

How about the amount of

“The funny thing is that the

women? “As well, but to be

boys in the teams never made

honest I don’t think that even

an issue out of me playing

matters. As long as they stand

besides or against them. It

for equality and innovation

was always the management,

within football I don’t care if it’s

costs. Nine out of ten women

the parents or the media who

a male or female making the

have to work or study next to

would not accept the fact that

decisions. It’s more about the

soccer. We have to hand in

a girl could keep up with their

vision than the sex.”

so much more but we get so

in a way you could say I use my masculinity as my safe-zone.

boys. That older generation

much less. Not just in money

is also the one pulling female

Next to that, what else is

football back in my opinion.”

pulling women back in soccer?

[non]sense

differences between men and

also in recognition.”

69


Is this something the media has

do not give the right example

effect on?

of what football really is about:

“Sure, they play a huge role

ambition, skills and team play.

in this. Men earn this much

On TV you see Lionel Messi

because it is not just sport

raising his hands up in the air,

it is also entertainment. You

begging for a card to punish

cannot imagine the amount

his opponent for taking him

of money clubs get payed for

down. It is embarrassing to

TV rights. With that money

look at. Of course there are

they can provide players with

rules and cards are given.

all the gear, training methods

Although there is a difference

and accommodations to

between making a mistake

optimise their performance

unintentional and fault play

and life. Women do not get

or Schwalbes. Where has the

broadcasted like that, not

respect gone? You will not

yet. Last year they started

see this kind off stuff among

summarising all the premier

women, at least not on such a

division games in the news.

big a scale.”

That was a big step forward. The female players of Ajax

So how about conflicts next

even started live streaming their

to the field? Would it affect

games. Those improvements

for example, the amount of

do show that there is a

hooligans?

development going on.”

“I think so. There is almost no disturbance or violence at

70

What do you think will happen

our matches. Naturally there

if the next FIFA president is a

are always some bad apples

woman?

in the bunch but it is nothing

“Hopefully she would abandon

compared to mens football.

all those showboats from the

You won’t see people smashing

field. I am talking about men

each other’s heads over a lost

now, obviously. In my opinion,

game. I hope that if women’s

a lot of male football players

football keeps growing like this


people will take on some of

I joined the national team.

our manners.”

Discovering I was not the

If you look back now, how

aggrieved helped me accept

did your gender affect your

the fact that I will never be

career?

something other than a

“The worst moment I can

woman. We all had difficulties

remember was the match

achieving our goals, that is

I played against PSV. I was

part of top sport. Mine might

sixteen years old and the

have been my gender, but

only girl in my team. The

since I cannot change it, I

moment I stepped on the

just have to hope that the

field the whispering started. A

environment I work and live in

few moments later someone

will. That is something we are

came up to me: girls were not

working on and keep working

allowed on the field. Stuff like

on.”

[non]sense

only girl feeling excluded or

this happened to me often. Causing me to miss important games against big opponents. During that time, I always wished I was not a girl. If I could just be a boy I would be on that field. Maybe even on another field with a better team.” If you could, would you be a man? “No. Like I said, during my youth I came a cross some hurtful situations. Nowadays these situations are rare. For me it stopped the moment 71


Man vs Woman vs Machine The paradox of technology on loneliness. Can social care robots help young people to feel less lonely? Artificial Intelligence is a subject that is drenched in contrasts. Will it be good or evil? Male or female? It seems to divide people to think in opposites, and now, it has been linked with gender roles and stereotyping. The polarisation of machine learning is evident especially in the service industry, and the most common theme I came across in my research was the discussion about male and female values that are programmed into intelligent machines. AI can be a helpful tool for improvements, and since it learns from us, then why do we need to programme machines to think in the same male vs female mindset by attaching gender roles to AI?

Bias and stereotypes

Gendered AI

Technology is commonly known as a playground

If we look at the example of ‘Her’ a movie by

for men. Women hold just 16% of ICT specialist

Spike Jonze, it becomes apparent that the usage

roles in the EU, meaning that the majority of AI,

of Scarlett Johansson’s voice for the personal

in Europe alone, is being designed by men. This

servant can raise some eyebrows and draw

leaves room for a narrow-minded approach to

parallels with AI, women and the sex industry. It’s

design and causes gender bias in programming.

this type of stereotyping that women are here to

The characteristics of women, that are considered

serve men and need to act a certain way, that

stereotypical and offensive, are taught to our

causes upset. But if digital assistants are given

service bots and are accompanied by a seductive

female voices, it could also be because the

female voice as if to reference that women are

female voice is more helpful to listen to, whereas

more suited to serve. I read that “Part of the

a male voice is authoritative. If AI is being

problem with sexism in artificial intelligence

used by people who long for a connection and

appears to be that there aren’t enough women

communication, such as Theodore in ‘Her’, then

involved in its creation.” However, does it really

it makes sense that he is reaching out to someone

matter who programmes AI or whether it has male

of the opposite sex. Issues of portraying women

or female gender roles attached to it in the first

in the wrong way, in my opinion, have nothing to

place?

do with it. If I, as a woman, would have my own digital assistant, it would probably be male and help me out with accounting tasks. That doesn’t 72


mean that I am being sexist and think men are

for our patients and make aid more accessible.

better at finance than women. I believe that

Deep learning can help advance medical

attaching gender roles to AI is futile.

science and increase the survival rate of patients.

Automation and gender

of accidents and digital assistants can, at times,

Another section of the service industry, in which

keep us company and even entertain us with

AI is being used, is healthcare. MIT has found

their witty responses. From patient care to quicker

a possible way to prevent dementia in patients,

diagnostics in healthcare, AI has the potential

by using AI that analyses patients’ brain scans

to revolutionise the medical industry, regardless

and it has learned to recognise the signs that

if it’s male or female and digital assistants and

indicate the possibility of dementia 2 years before

driverless cars are just that assistants. They are

the onset of symptoms. In this case, AI is used

built to provide a service, in whichever form we

for a good cause, for the benefit of our society.

need it, by the outcome they have reached by

It’s programmed to search deeper and analyse

analysing everything they’ve learned. Service itself

data that we, as humans, could possibly not

doesn’t have gender, nor should it be linked to

comprehend nor have the time to process in

one.

[non]sense

Driverless cars can help decrease the number

such little time. For example, the same can be said about driverless cars- autonomous systems

It tells you more about us as human

that need to get us from point A to B, for our increased safety. Whatever obstacles may arise,

beings than it does the robots.

it will use the knowledge it has gathered by learning, to calculate the best course of action.

Out with the old

The car doesn’t require a certain set of male

Women and men shouldn’t be looked at through

or female values to be programmed into it to

old-fashion stereotypes, nor should these

guarantee our safety. If AI is here to help us, it

characteristics be programmed into machines

doesn’t make a difference if it was more sensitive

that will impact our future. There is only bias in

and empathetic like a woman, instead of goal-

programming if the wrong kind of people with

oriented and rational like a man.

false motives are behind the scenes, not whether they are women or men. What AI does and how

Exceptions to the rule

it learns, is influenced by us, and if deep learning

What could be considered feminine about AI,

does show signs of bias, then, as Sherry Turkle,

contrary to the opposed gender insinuations,

an MIT professor and a psychoanalyst, has stated:

is the meaning behind using it. In the case of

“It tells you more about us as human beings than

healthcare, we want to provide a better service

it does the robots. 73

by Kertu Serikov


A view upon feminisation in relation to technology and virtual identities with Jacob Kok

Jacob Kok, an independent fashion designer who does not design by the rules. Alongside that he has developed a great interest for technology and virtual identities. He created a documentary where he investigated the influence of virtual reality (VR) on fashion and identity. Inspired by digital techniques, physical boundaries are being questioned and virtual models come to life in vibrant presentations. I sat down with Jacob to discuss his view upon feminisation in relation to technology and virtual identities.

When I walked in I couldn’t

an illustrative level. I believe

help to overhear the story you

I’m in touch with my feminine

were telling your coach. You

side because I’m not afraid to

returned to school and you’re

show my tenderness. But when

studying a master at HKU

I’m in need to distance myself

called ‘crossover creativity’

from something or someone, I

at the moment. Why did you

notice that I use my masculinity

decide to go back to school?

as a shield to protect myself.”

“Quite some time I have been walking around with the

What do you mean exactly

question: ‘How can I build

with using your masculinity as

an installation that makes

your shield?

it possible to interact with a

“Just to give an example:

virtual object or a persona

during a conversation with

which you can identify yourself

you or my friends I don’t mind

with?’ This is something that

showing my tender side, but

has always fascinated me, I

at times when I walk at the

believe this is the future and

train station I rather keep my

I would like to start making a

distance and act a bit more

living out of it.”

macho then I usually am. That’s the thing I like about

Do you have the feeling that

being a man, that I am able to

feminisation is happening?

detach myself from situations.

“I hope so. I always hear

So, in a way you could say

people say, ‘the future

I use my masculinity as my

is female’ and that our

safe-zone.”

emotional sides are getting

by Amber van Winssen

74

more important each day. I

What fascinates you so much

personally find the shift from

about virtual representation of

masculine to feminine an

identity?

interesting development. With

“What fascinates me the most

that I mean it is noticeable on

about virtual identities is the

a conscious level rather than

change it gives you to discover


the socially acceptable ways

Do you think virtual identities

being able to embrace it. It

of acting out our gender. From

can help with the gender

gives you the opportunity to

my perspective: I believe that

neutrality movement?

enrich your self-image, an

when I would dress up in the

“What I notice is that we still

image that can be very diverse

‘real’ world I would most likely

hold onto a cliché image of

and free. I just discussed the

get a reaction I don’t wish for.

what men or women should

following with my coach: the

I personally feel the pressure

look like or how they should

quote ‘express yourself’ is

from society to ‘fit in.’ I believe

behave. This is where things

so cliché but yet so true. The

that we all massively feel that

go south. Why do we do this?

desire of people to dress up

same pressure. In the digital

When I say: ‘I’m in touch with

and show another side of

world, you don’t feel the

my feminine side,’ it does

themselves is something that

pressure to fit in.”

not mean I’m going to wear

has been around for ages; club

a cocktail dress all of the

culture is a good example of

Do you think that technology

sudden. I would much rather

this matter. I see technology as

has the power to change these

like to explore the emotional

a tool to further explore this, a

norms?

platform which we can use to

“I don’t think it would change

enrich our personalities. For

the norm, but I think it can

me, a virtual persona doesn’t

create a world where it is

have to be so unambiguous,

normal that these things can

I want to approach virtual

co-exist. Just like club culture, I

side attached to gender rather

personas as a real persona you

personally believe that this is a

than the visual side. For me the

can be in touch with whenever

great example. You can dress

gender neutrality movement

you like. It can be a persona

up and be somebody else, but

is happening on a conscious

who gives you freedom and

the next day you just go back

level. But when we are talking

allows you to try things out.”

to the office and be another

about ideals within a virtual

you again.”

character I wouldn’t mind

[non]sense

another side of yourself and

In a way you could say I use my masculinity as my safe-zone.

Why do you think that people

seeing some feminine visual

feel the need to present

The virtual world is blending

elements. I am very interested

themselves in a digital &

more and more with the

in the mix between feminine

virtual world?

real world, you can notice

and masculine. I also believe

“I believe that this really stems

this because of all the

that in the

from the forced gender norms:

developments within VR & AR. 75


virtual world people are more

connection whereas platforms

envision it more as a best

interpreting and understanding

understanding, because when

like Instagram do the exact

friend. Also, mental health

others?

the consciousness changes,

opposite. I find this such a

is not my focus area since

“I doubt that. I would rather

there is less judgement.”

weird dichotomy, because the

everybody has the health care

see it as a tool that alarms you

way we represent ourselves on

question: everybody needs

when you are misinterpreting

So you believe that in virtual

social media actually creates a

love and a safe place. I don’t

somebody instead of totally

worlds there is less judgement

distance from yourself. I hope

approach it from a mental

fixing this problem. I don’t

and people are more likely to

that this is just a phase we have

health care perspective but

think it will fix the problem to

accept things?

to go through to find out that

because this is a personal wish

an extent that misinterpreting

“Yes, this is something I really

this narcissistic self-image is

of mine.”

people wouldn’t exist anymore;

believe in, because it’s a fluid

something we do not want.”

I believe human emotions are Do you think that technology

far more complicated than

it’s not that black and white.

Do you believe that technology

can help to equalise the

that. Off course there are much

So, when I would meet you in a

can help to create more

differences between men and

more nuances: the way you

virtual world I would be able to

empathy within society?

women?

read someone is influenced

look different each time. Also,

“For me empathy and feeling

“I don’t think we will really

in many ways such as your

the fact that there is no direct

safe are intertwined. I believe

understand each other to an

own assumptions, impressions

eye contact takes away parts of

that technology can help to

extent of hundred percent. In

and logic. I think this is a

feeling ashamed. I’m just very

approach people in a more

my opinion, it’s the difference

very fascinating field but I am

curious what it could bring us

empathic way and can help

between men and women

wondering if this problem is

when these two worlds would

to put people at ease. To give

that leads to a certain

something that we can solve.

merge together.”

an example: You’re having a

mysteriousness which has a

I believe it can help to realise

panic attack or just feeling a bit

positive effect on mankind. And

greater connections, but we

In which way do you think

sad, you go and stand in front

off course this does not only

can’t solve incomprehension as

technology takes part in the

of a device who gives you a

apply to men and women, it

a whole. And on top of that: I

feminisation of society?

virtual hug. Some sort of virtual

is also applicable to female-

think we should ask ourselves

“I believe technology is a

health coach and buddy.”

female and male-male.”

the question if this is something

connection with yourself. This

Could you envision a world

So you don’t think that the

is something that we see more

where technology would

emotional technology of

and more nowadays. What I

replace the current situation

the future can totally fix the

find arousing is that people

within mental health care?

‘problem’ we experience

expect technology to create a

“I would not say replace, I

when it comes to wrongly

place. It’s not one or the other,

great tool to create a better

we actually really want.”

76


77


Melancholic fairytale


by Rachel de Gooijer


Science fiction: a suggestion of reality

We live on a planet where horse carts used to fill the roads we drive our cars on. In a society that made it possible to walk on another planet and that one day might live on that ‘other planet’. We live in a time where it only takes a second for a thought to become the truth. For many these concepts are impossible to grasp but for some, nothing less than a possibility. Every idea starts as fiction but holds the ability to turn into reality if it’s strong enough to create desire. One day we’ll live on a globe that you can cross within hours thanks to high pressure transportation. Do you already believe it? A good story will make you.

All the examples above have one thing in common, they were once a science fiction story, bound to become reality. For the unknowing, science fiction is a fictional genre based on imagined future scientific or technological ideas. Over the years there were many other similar sci-fi stories that came close to the truth when it comes to future scenario’s and inventions. ‘Frankenstein’, a world known story was actually a hypothetical exploration of male birth. At that time, it was an outrageous idea, now they are running studies on uterus transplants from women to men, but that’s not all. Did you buy something today? You probably used your debit card, the concept of “universal credit” Edward Bellamy wrote about in 1888 in his book Looking Backward. And in 1953, Ray Bradbury explored the idea of “little seashells that would transport an electronic ocean of sound, music and talk to your brain” that we know today as earbuds.

No more objects The reason these things exist? Someone was brave enough to share a crazy thought with the rest of the world. A crazy thought wrapped in a story that was just fascinating enough to create desire. A lot of people find it hard to imagine that the movies they watch in the cinema might eventually affect their life in another way than just a nice discussion at the dinner table. The unfamiliar terms and concepts made up by the writer mean nothing to them yet. Therefore they have a hard time imagining the setting as something that could become reality. For the same people it will also be a surprise that almost the entire warfare system is based on fiction. Tanks, Tasers and the concept of submarine. Inspired on stories written by Jules Verne, Tom Swift and H.G. Wells. Still doubting the power of a good story? The only thing I am doubting about is the need for more materialistic inventions. At least the kind that make us destroy each other, numb our brains and feed our greed.

Emotional roller coaster This informing method can be categorised under emotional storytelling. A somewhat 80


Which are a lot of people but not necessary the

someone their feelings. In contrary to the previous

ones we need to reach. The younger generation

examples, we should use it to create something

is the one we need to persuade in order to

valuable such as awareness instead of products.

change the future. Therefore the older generation

A modern example is James Cameron his movie,

has to adapt to the way our successors absorb

Avatar. He took an aspect of an environmental

and delete information. Their minds process an

problem humanity is currently coping with,

incredible amount of visual content on a daily

namely the neglecting and exploitation of nature.

basis and it is still increasing. Therefore their

He then exaggerated this problem by showing us

selection within all that data becomes more

an idyllic world: Pandora. Making us fall in love

critical by the second. For it to stick, content has

with this world and the Na’vi who see this world

to be fascinating and efficient. The emotion in

as something they can connect itself and each

storytelling has to make an impact on perspective

other with, only for it to be brutally destroyed

and emotions. They do not see the essence of

with the help of a human task force that is out for

reading a book or newspaper anymore. All the

money.

information they gather comes to them by a

[non]sense

feminine way of communicating by tapping in to

screen. A screen that has to show them something While watching it your heart shatters into a

interesting enough to make it to their long-term

thousand pieces, but it does not stop then and

memory.

there; he lets it burn for a while. Just enough for the viewer to get upset. Only then does he

The tool

saves it. That last manoeuvre is crucial, because

Good science fiction will touch your emotions

it shows us that we have options. It is a spot-on

and people often move on the grounds of their

translation of a modern world and what it could

emotions. They even tend to make us more

be if we opened our eyes and see the beauty we

creative. Actuality and informative platforms

live in. For some emotion lacking individuals it

usually don’t have the same impact on our

might be far-fetched and plain bullshit, but for the

feelings, nor do schoolbooks, commercials or

others it might be just enough to set the wheels

the radio (for those who still listen to that). We do

in motion.

not cry watching the news nor feel the adrenaline rushing through our veins while reading a history

Interesting screens

book but instead experience all that during a

For me watching ‘Avatar’ made just as much

good movie. Real inventions are not born in

impact as a documentary like ‘Before the Flood’.

labs but right in that moment an overwhelming

The difference between these two movies is that

feeling blows our mind away. After all this, can

‘Avatar’ was a global hit emerging into different

we now state that emotional story telling through

homes all around the world. ‘Before the Flood’

science fiction is a powerful tool and not just

was also a hit, among those who care for

entertainment?

documentaries and environmental problems. 81

by Britta Flinterman


Why women need more confidence to lead As a board member of ABN AMRO’s diversity network, Samantha Elward is promoting a more feminine way of working. She is convinced that this will change the work floor for the better.

by Maartje Weekers

Being born and raised in

What has attracted you to

diversity network.”

Jakarta, Samantha always felt

work at ABN?

Why did the diversity board

suppressed being a woman.

“I always knew I wanted to do

come to life?

After graduating in corporate

a traineeship because it was

“It was created three years

communication, she started

a good way of lengthening

ago to stimulate a more

her traineeship at ABN and

my study for a bit. Because of

open culture and diverse

joined the diversity network

my background, I am raised

way of working. You see a

(DNA). “My goals are to

from two cultural perspectives.

lot of different backgrounds,

challenge future colleagues

That is why I am interested in

cultures and ethnicities at

to have a more open attitude

cultural diversity. I experienced

ABN AMRO. Since it is such a

towards others and empower

that diversity is not considered

large company, a cultural mix

more women into leadership

the same in all companies.

becomes a natural given. But

positions.” After finishing her

Diversity is very broad and not

there are groups of people

traineeship, she began working

only about ethnicity but also

that are having a hard time to

as a ABN bank director at

about gender and all sorts of

find their own spot within the

Barendrechts retail office for

things. At ABN AMRO there is

company. With the diversity

nine months. Being the only

a lot of attention for diversity.

board we want to support

female director throughout

When I noticed the care that is

all employees and inspire

the whole province area, she

given to this matter and that I

each other more. Through

knows what it is like to be

could contribute to this, I really

workshops we provide tools

surrounded by only men.

wanted to start my traineeship

to those who want to put

here and become part of the

themselves more out there. 82


We are currently working on

now there is a lot more focus

development. After finishing

bringing more diversity within

on programs that are women

my traineeship this way of

the company’s top positions.

orientated, since they are still in

working and the coaching

With this new program

a minority.”

totally vanished. The mentoring

‘Leading Ladies’ we want to stimulate more women into

Why do you think women are

departments. When you focus

working in the top. That is all

still in a minority?

on your personal development

going on right now, so you

“There is still this culture that

as well as your professional

have to imagine that earlier on

men in grey suits are leading

development, you do get a lot

these were things that we did

the company. As long as this

more out of yourself. I saw that

not even think about.’’

assumption does not change,

this way of working is a more

our work culture will probably

feminine approach and it is

Can you tell me more about

stay the same as well. It

much needed in this company

the Leading Ladies program?

takes more confidence from

to break down the traditional

“We wanted to create an

women than men to work in a

ABN.

informal network for women in

leadership position, because

senior management functions,

this is still not common in

to inspire women to share their

general.”

[non]sense

part is lacking in most

My goals are to challenge future colleagues to have a more

experiences with each other and create a strong network,

How can you change this and

that will be visible to all women

make it more appealing to

within the ABN. Within this

women?

program we have four women

“Within some departments

who organise all kinds of

the way of working is not very

activities for women, such

forward thinking and that has

as lectures, discussions and

to change. I saw that during

excursions. On these activities,

my traineeship not only women

I think that applying this

subjects such as ‘characteristics

but also men were really drawn

different approach is a first step

of the female managers’ and

to the approach of coaching

into making it more attractive

‘part time job prospects’ are

on the job. During that time

for women.”

being discussed.There are

of traineeship, we got a lot

different kind of programs for

of mentoring and focused a

men within the ABN. Right

great deal on our personal

open attitude towards others and empower more women into leadership positions.

83


After your traineeship you

did not want to cross each

to the table. With my cultural

began working as a bank

other’s paths. That was purely

background, I always felt a

director, how was it being the

because men were concerned

bit behind on men and that

only female?

with their own ego. It was very

is something that needs to

“I was working in a

territorial delineated. At a

change. I hate to see that it is

management team of twelve

certain point, I addressed those

not more common for women

men. I had to get used to it

feelings and they looked at

within ABN to fulfil leadership

for a very long time. I was

each other and nodded. I think

positions. Especially when I

not used to being surrounded

that is why women can assess

noticed that a more feminine

by only men and I was

the essence of a problem

approach can change this

very inexperienced being a

quicker, because they talk

traditional and more manly

leader. But I was very open

about their feelings.”

way of working, which is not

about this to my colleagues.

always beneficial. We need to

Showing my vulnerability and

Why is it you are promoting

balance this out; to achieve

communicating in an honest

female leadership so much?

this balance we first need

and open way earned a lot

“I believe that we need a

to get in touch with a more

of respect from my manly

more personal way of working

feminine way of working.”

colleagues. Being vulnerable

and we need to show our

did not even occur in the

emotions more. We are not

vocabulary of our management

only a product that is working

team. Certain topics were not

for this company but we want

really discussed because we

to bring something valuable 84


Building trust through transparency

Although it sounds highly likely, this is exactly

for example, that employees can decide for

what is happening at the Amsterdam based

themselves how long they go on a holiday, where

consultancy firm called Finext as they introduce a

they work and how much they are spending on

new and fully transparent workplace. This means

behalf of the company. They only have one rule:

having an open salary policy, employees are fully

everything needs to be in the company’s interest.

self-driven and there is no hierarchy. Besides this

The Morning Star is also a primary example of

you can propose your own salary but Finext isn’t

a big successful self-managing organisation.

the only company that’s going transparent and

They don’t have any bosses, titles or structural

is setting the pace for more companies to follow.

hierarchy, and work with two principles: all

Although this transparency movement may sound

interactions should be voluntary and you have to

like a dream, I wonder if it is actually as ideal as

honour your commitments.

it sounds?

Both companies prove to work really well, by giving a lot of freedom to their employees.

Going transparent Turning your company culture more transparent is

No more managers?

a large trend and movement all over the globe.

The wheels are slowly in motion but hierarchy

Another very well-known, company that embraces

is increasingly becoming outdated. “We are

more transparency on the work floor, is Netflix.

heading in the direction of no more job listings

They work by their own philosophy that thrives on

on your business card and being as flat as a

individual freedom and responsibility. This means,

pancake, to call it in business terms”, said 85

[non]sense

Last Wednesday the biennial meeting started. Every employee sat around the table, curiously waiting for the number of digits that would show on screen. It was Pascals turn. Being the newcomer in the company he hadn’t reached his targets yet, but that didn’t stop him from pitching the highest payroll ever shown. All colleagues voted yes to Pascal’s own salary proposal and within ten minutes he was the highest paid employee within the company.


Although it sounds highly likely, this is exactly

No more managers?

what is happening at the Amsterdam based

The wheels are slowly in motion but hierarchy

consultancy firm called Finext as they introduce a

is increasingly becoming outdated. “We are

new and fully transparent workplace. This means

heading in the direction of no more job listings

having an open salary policy, employees are fully

on your business card and being as flat as

self-driven and there is no hierarchy. Besides this

a pancake, to call it in business terms”, said

you can propose your own salary but Finext isn’t

Mirjan Baars, who researches employee-ship for

the only company that’s going transparent and

SatisAction. The interns will become as important

is setting the pace for more companies to follow.

as the bosses are, or even better; there’ll be

Although this transparency movement may sound

no more bosses and everybody holds the same

like a dream, I wonder if it is actually as ideal as

influence within the company. Traditionally people

it sounds?

grow within organisations by climbing the ladder higher up. “A completely outdated idea”, Tom

Going transparent

van der Lubbe thinks. “We think we can grow by

Turning your company culture more transparent is

seeking a higher position, but who says that we

a large trend and movement all over the globe.

are all fit as leaders? Old company structures are

Another very well-known, company that embraces

holding us back in any further progress”. That is

more transparency on the work floor, is Netflix.

why Tom’s company Viisi is structured by the rules

They work by their own philosophy that thrives on

of holacracy, an organisational form without any

individual freedom and responsibility. This means,

managers and management layers. Employees

for example, that employees can decide for

will have five to seven job roles instead of one,

themselves how long they go on a holiday, where

and development will occur within your own job

they work and how much they are spending on

roles. I believe that the disappearance of the

behalf of the company. They only have one rule:

hierarchy culture is a good thing, as more layers

everything needs to be in the company’s interest.

of management means paying more workers, and

The Morning Star is also a primary example of

generally at higher salaries. It means introducing

a big successful self-managing organisation.

inefficiency, as each decision gets slowly passed

They don’t have any bosses, titles or structural

up the chain for approval. But lesser hierarchy

hierarchy, and work with two principles: all

does not have to mean a total disappearance

interactions should be voluntary and you have to

of all management positions. It can be heading

honour your commitments.

more into a direction of a new system wherein

Both companies prove to work really well, by

the managers are becoming enablers of self-

giving a lot of freedom to their employees.

managing teams and networks, rather than controllers of individuals. 86


The speeding world The changes within business cultures are having

of misconduct, they instinctively start to monitor

to do with the rapidly changing world we are

employee behaviour even more intensely, and this

living in. From this thought the new way of

might aggravate problems.

working, called “agile”, has arisen, a method that is used by companies such as ING, Spotify

The wheels are slowly in motion but

and Zappos. Freely translated, this means fast and moving. Companies that are embracing

hierarchy is increasingly becoming

the agile way of working are doing this from the idea that the world is changing rapidly, driven

outdated.

feel the need to sharing more knowledge and

I believe, going more transparent is a positive

desire for an honest and open work floor. Perhaps

development we are heading for. It’s about

the most important aspect of transparency is

finding that sweet spot between privacy and

that it helps to build trust, something which is

transparency, and enjoying the benefits of both.

absolutely essential for getting people to share

We are so used to hierarchy based structures in

and collaborate with each other.

our society, that if we want things to change we

[non]sense

by technological developments. We increasingly

need to find new structures, be innovative and The downside

adapt to changes. Becoming more transparent

Transparency in the business world is generally

means it will be less about controlling individuals

considered a good thing. It accelerates

and more about collaboration and reaching

information gathering, it helps people taking

collective goals. It will pave the way to more

responsibility and makes those in positions of

freedom and equality and ideally, more

authority accountable for others. But research

transparency will lead to more creativity and self-

suggests that more transparent environments are

development. But we still have a long way to go,

not always better. It is not only that simple and it

because hierarchy is embedded into our lives. The

needs to be taken into account that privacy is just

majority in this world is still based on hierarchy.

as essential for performance. Open data on how

Language is also a hierarchy. Letters are subject

individuals spend their time can leave employees

to words. Words are subject to sentences. And so

feeling exposed and vulnerable, and being

on. But we have to start somewhere to return to a

observed can change people’s behaviour. They

less individualistic and more caring society. Going

start going to great lengths to keep what they’re

more transparent is a big and complex shift that

doing under wraps, even if they have nothing bad

hopefully will be applied and embraced more and

to hide. If any executive picks up on signs

more each day. 87

by Maartje Weekers


Our substantial soft sides ensure healthy living spaces Amber Feijen, an interior architect with a master in urbanism based in Antwerp is interviewed by Amber Blewanus, International Fashion and Branding student at AMFI.

by Amber Blewanus

Why are we all so obsessed

Female shapes in designs are

Why do you think these are

with nature? Are we

also a signal of feminisation.

trends now? Does gender influence this?

acknowledging our softer sides? What I’ve noticed in

You just came back from a

“People have too many choices

the field of architecture and

design fair in Milan. Can you

and are therefore attracted

design are a lot of open

tell me what the latest trends

to simplicity. This explains the

spaces with natural light and

are you’ve seen in architecture

Memphis design movement.

greenery. Buildings are made

and design? Can you give me

The lighting and velvet trend

to be sustainable, and spaces

some examples?

I think is just a matter of taste

have serene atmospheres.

“Last year we saw a lot of

and are trends probably

This is a trend seen worldwide

sculpting light, take Sabine

developed from other industries

which during this interview I

Marcelis for example. Her

such as fashion.”

will describe as ‘green living.’

interests are focused on

Feminisation for me is not

technology of LED lighting

Currently in the field of

about gender but about

but also velvet is doing well

architecture and design I see

assigning female characteristics

this year, especially if we look

a lot of greenery, which often

to a person, object or thing.

at restaurant Sketch that is

is connected to sustainability.

These characteristics can be for

designed by India Mahdavi.

Have you noticed any

example: gentleness, empathy,

Furthermore, we see that the

contemporary trends

sensitivity, caring, sweetness,

Memphis design movement is

connected to sustainability?

compassion, tolerance,

making a comeback.”

Which ones?

nurturance, and deference.

“Green refurbishment is a 88


Due to new technologies there

that it was not meant as ‘girly

see quite a lot. This trend is

are a lot of changes going

girly’ but was instead made for

known as the adapting and

on in the field of architecture.

both men and women.”

upgrading of old buildings.

How does, according to you,

It embodies an innovative

the world look like in 2027?

Female values are visible in the

new concept of sustainable

“I think we are going to see a

field of design but probably

development based on energy

lot of technological inventions

not in every area. Are there

production. I think this is the

that help create the ultimate

any areas in architecture and

biggest trend in the area of

comfortable and healthy living/

design that have more female

sustainability right now.”

working spaces. Biomimicry

values than others? Which

will also play a big role in the

ones? (bank, beds, chairs,

While doing my research on

future of buildings and I think

decoration, tables, buildings,

the subject I saw more fluid

that we have to look further

working spaces, etc.)

(curved) forms in buildings

than only designing buildings.

“In decorations and working

and interior design than usual.

Stefano Boeri for example,

spaces we see female values

Is this something you have

has unveiled plans for a city

more than in the other

noticed as well?

of towers that combat air

categories.”

“This year we see round and

pollution in China.

curved shapes more than ever

We sure have to watch that we do

in the field of architecture and

Do you see female values in

design. My favourite from

architecture and design right

this year is the architectural

now?

installation from COS x Studio

“Lately we see a lot of female

Swine during the Salone del

values in design, both in

Mobile 2017 in Milan. The

colour, form and texture. For

installation was specifically

example, if we again look at

designed as an experimental,

Sketch in London (this is a pink

architectural object but also as

restaurant). Millennial pink is

a social media ‘thirst trap.’ In

very popular both in the design

Why do you think these areas

Amsterdam, I am also really

and fashion industry at this

are more connected to the

intrigued by Bar Botanique.”

moment. Marc Ange designed

female values?

a pink bed for Salone del

“I think this has to do with

not continue polluting the world and I think architecture and design are big players in the industry.

Mobile. She said emphatically 89

[non]sense

contemporary trend that you


the fact that we want to

offices that are mainly made

do we place green/nature in

feel comfortable, calm and

of glass walls so workers can

an office while we can create

pleasant in the areas we live

see their colleagues and the

an office in nature? If I have

and work in. Decorations are

work environment can be more

to name an example of ‘green

often the objects that can give

connected.”

living’ I would say KAIT in

a space a certain feel and work

Tokyo, an open plan design

spaces have to be creative

For this interview, I researched

volume with 305 pillars. The

and joyful to stimulate a nice

several articles about

building is created for superior

workflow. Female values, in

sustainability in design and

activities where students can

my opinion, give a softer and

there are a lot of different

work on diverse self-initiated

calmer vibe and in working

opinions on if this is still a

projects of making things,

spaces this is essential.”

trend or not. If you look at the,

while also being open for local

what I call ‘green living’, trend

public usage.”

Are there other values that are

what do you think it contains?

in your opinion ‘female values’

“From now on every large

It seems like green living is

that you can come up with and

space (co-workspaces, offices,

a trend based on a broader

are visible in the area we talk

etc) has to be based on

topic. Do you think green

about?

landscape formats and green

living is a trend that emerged

“Openness I think is a female

environments. Mostly seen as

from our environmental issues?

value because women like to

a few plants or the popular

Why?

open up to each other. We can

‘greenwall’. For me this is a

“Green living is a trend that is

also connect this in architecture

trend that is an already long-

already here for a long time

to open spaces. For example,

standing phenomenon. Why

and although there’s a lot of 90


greenery I think that green

you name a few?

values to me are values that

everything in our power to

living is a trend based on our

“Definitely in offices and

are ‘helping’ and ‘comforting’

solve this problem. For this we

need for open, serene and

workspaces as these are the

others. To get the world in a

need characteristic as caring,

connected living environments

areas we have to gain the most

better shape we all need a bit

empathy and gentleness.

and thus not emerged from our

inspiration at and feel as useful

of these values to succeed.”

The same characteristics that

environmental issues.”

as possible in. From research,

you just named to describe I think the reason that there are

What (new) technologies do

and you see others work,

movements like environmental

you see in architecture and

because of open spaces, we

development movement is

design that could help to solve

feel the urge to work harder

because we do not really have

our environmental issues?

and we want to give ourselves

another option. Do you agree?

“In China, they are creating

more challenges. Here the

“We sure have to watch

smog-eating walls, which

KAIT project in Tokyo is a good

that we do not continue

absorb tonnes of C02 and

example again.”

polluting the world and I think

pollutants per year, while they

architecture and design are big

also produce a lot of oxygen.

I am now going to let go of the

players in the industry who will

This is a technology that is

trend ‘green living’ because

have to adapt to the fact that

very new. And then there are

we see its already a long-

environmental developments

technologies we already know

standing trend. Currently the

aren’t something we want but

such as water harvesting,

world is dealing with pollution

something we need.”

innovative glazing and solar

and we all try to counter this.

panels.”

This brings our focus to the

We noticed all these

environmental development

little trends that have to

I know the green living trend

movement, which means

do something with the

is old news but we still see it

that we integrate several

bigger issue: our polluted

everywhere and I think there

sustainable technologies in

environment. So, if we need

must be a movement behind

contemporary design to combat

female values to save the world

it. To gain a better perspective

pollution.

from pollution do you think our

on the location of this trend I

environmental problems are

will ask you one last question

Do you think we need feminine

the cause of feminisation?

about it. In what areas in

values to save the world from

“Yes. I think we all see that

architecture and design do you

pollution? Why?

we live in a polluted world

see green living the most? Can

“I think we do. Feminine

and that we need to do 91

feminisation.”

[non]sense

we see that if you are at work


Synonymous when darkness fades into light and light fades into the dark we often tend to get confused lose our spark either way one cannot exist without the other so it’s just a matter of time untill they fade into each other

by Geesje Remijnse


Feminisation in spatial design

Designing our environments with a softer and more caring approach means that spaces can take on feminine characteristics. But with the majority of people in spatial design and architecture being men - is there such a thing as feminisation in spatial design?

Materials and shapes have

Is it easy for you to be taken

long been assigned either

seriously in the field of

male or female qualities.

architecture or do you feel

Straight lines and rough

it’s quite a male dominated

surfaces indicate masculinity,

industry?

whilst round shapes and softer

“It is difficult for women in

materials are considered

general to have a position

feminine. But looking beyond

of power. Many times I have

these stereotypes, do feminine

been to a construction site

attributes indicate that only

and I’ve had the electrician

women can create meaningful

being like, ‘So, when is your

spaces, and are gender traits

internship ending?’, and

even taken into consideration?

I’ve replied: ‘Well, I’m the

I spoke to Camille Faury

designer and we’re starting the

(former project manager

meeting now.’ I’ve had many

and designer at Rafael de

comments like that, typically

Cardenas, currently working in

from older men.”

New York as a creative director at WeLive) about her thoughts

What kind of difficulties have

on the matter.

you come across at work, can you remember a certain

by Kertu Serikov

You have a master’s degree

situation?

in Interior Architecture, but

“Salary is a big issue. Women

in your LinkedIn profile your

have an imposter syndrome,

title is Designer, which do

where they always feel like

you consider yourself as- an

they got the job by mistake.

architect or a designer?

At my old job, I saw new

“Designer, because it’s more

people coming in who were

vague… and my job is very

less experienced and earned

vague. Currently, I’m doing

more money than me. For the

creative direction for WeLive.

first 3 or 4 years of my career,

So it works.”

I really didn’t negotiate my salary. In the course of these

94


Was it because she is a

us.” This is quite a masculine

euros or more, and it gives

female architect or was there

approach to design. It’s big

you aggressiveness that I was

something specific about her

and authoritative. Did you

lacking at first.”

designs that interested you?

notice this kind of thinking/

“It was because of her work.

approach in his work?

So you felt like you had to take

I never thought about the fact

on masculine characteristics, in

that she was a woman until

“No. Never, really. He is the

a way, to succeed in business?

we got more personal and

last person I’d think of, who

“Yes. Whenever I’m down,

she told me about her life and

would have a masculine

I try to have this masculine

hardships. She had all these

approach to design. I really

confidence and think how a

amazing ideas and I think

think it doesn’t make any

man would handle a situation.”

she struggled to make them

sense. It’s like saying people

happen.”

with short hair have a specific

I saw from your portfolio

approach to design. If you

that you interned for Kathryn

Were there any key lessons

want to find something, you’ll

Findlay (of Ushida Findlay

Kathryn Findlay taught you

find it.”

architects, designer of

that have resonated with you

surrealist houses in Japan

in your work?

and the co-designer of the

“There is secretly one thing that

ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s

I understood- older women will

Olympic Park). Upon her

always tend to help younger

passing, she won an award

women. There’s this solidarity

for “outstanding contribution

that nobody will ever talk

to the status of women in

about.”

It drives me crazy when I hear people saying at my work that we need to add a feminine touch. It’s bullshit.

architecture.” How would you describe her as an architect?

I read a NY Times article about

Is there then such a thing

“She was amazing. She was

your other former boss, Rafael

as feminine or masculine

very present, super sharp. She

de Cardenas and he said that

architecture in your opinion?

was a great designer. She had

he often references Edmund

“I don’t know where this idea

gone through a lot in her life.”

Burke’s “Rule of the sublime”

comes from. It’s really cliche

in his work, which states that

and maybe women aren’t soft

Why did you choose to

“The Sublime is what has the

and men are actually soft, you

intern with Kathryn Findlay?

power to compel and destroy

know? I never, ever could say 95

[non]sense

years I could’ve made 20 000


that Kathryn designed feminine

making people feel welcome in

things and Rafael masculine.

a space. I try to make people

It drives me crazy when I hear

question the spaces a bit, so

people saying at my work that

it’s interesting because how

we need to add a feminine

do you make a space feel very

touch. It’s bullshit.”

inclusive and welcoming?”

I think it’s a new generation vs the older generation.

So now it’s about how to create that connection with people and space? “Yeah and how to design so that everybody would like it. I

96

You are now working at

read this interview about the

WeWork, which is more

inventor of Soylent. The guy

focused on designing co-

who created it had a goal

working spaces. What is the

to replace food altogether,

biggest difference you notice

and the interviewer asked:

in terms of design mentality

‘Why didn’t you give Soylent

for collaborative environments

a special taste like coffee or

vs. the residential and retail

chocolate or strawberry? Why

projects you’ve done before?

did Soylent taste of nothing?’

“Now I actually work for

And he said: ‘Because I want

WeLive, but it’s the same

Soylent to taste like water.’ So

company. It’s just starting up

I think that my strategy for the

and we’re doing collaborative

design of these buildings is,

spaces and my job now is very

that they shouldn’t feel like a

different because I do creative

residential space or a cafe.

direction. Before I worked for

It should feel like a neutral

billionaires and everything was

space that people don’t even

possible, there was no budget.

think about. No decoration, no

It was about being challenging

gadgets, no frills. Just a space

and surprising, and now it’s

that people travel through. I

all about being very inclusive,

don’t want people to be like:


‘Oh, I love the design.’ I want

“That’s a good question. I’ve

so pure. I like the crazy thinking

“Again, I don’t think it’s a

them to love the place, and

never thought about that. I like

of the Middle East, the rotating

feminine or masculine way

if you were to ask them what

to feel driven. I think I never

towers…I mean that’s very

of thinking. I think it’s a

they thought about the design,

think of triggering sensations

unsustainable and decadent,

new generation vs the older

they’d say: ‘I don’t know but

so specifically. I’m more about

but in a way I like the thinking.”

generation.”

I just felt good there…I really

enabling people to feel how

don’t know what it looked like.”

they want to feel.”

What about sensory

So the spaces you design

is it important?

experiences. Do you think

remain open to interpretation?

“It’s super important and

the use of technology

“Yeah, they’re never that

that’s an aspect that we really

can give some sort of an

specific.”

need to tackle. That’s why the

You mentioned sustainability,

extra experience that only

strategy I have for WeLive is

architecture and design can’t?

Is there anyone in your area of

the right one. The simpler the

“Yeah, totally. I think that I’ve

work whose designs resonate

design, the longer we can keep

never used technology as the

with you or make you feel a

all these things.”

main element of the design,

certain way?

but more as a way to enable

There’s a lot of designers I like.

So this is a more holistic

people to be part of what we’re

For example, Donald Judd. I

approach to design?

designing.”

love how there’s one element

“Yes, and the simplest way to

that multiplies and creates a

approach sustainability is to

What is it to you that evokes a

silent rhythm in his furniture. It

design simple things that aren’t

feeling in space?

makes me feel peaceful.”

too trendy and crazy. We are

“Depends on the space-

talking about building gigantic

sometimes the light, materials,

What kind of design ideology

buildings everywhere in the

contrast, how the light is

are you most interested in,

world- sustainability is a huge

filtered through. There’s so

do you prefer Japanese Zen

topic.”

many ways to express a feeling

approach for architecture or

within a space, there isn’t one

the innovative Middle-Eastern

Isn’t that then, in a way, a

particular thing.”

way?

more feminine and nurturing

What is your favourite emotion

“Definitely more the Japanese

approach to design, because

and how would you convey

approach, but in a way I hate

you think more of the impact of

that emotion in space?

Japanese design. Everything is

the designs you are creating? 97

[non]sense

do you use it in your work and


Vaginasation

by Loes Kleijngeld

First of all, the series The

the female body. Mothers teach

Why do you think that

Vagina Dispatches is a huge

their children how to brush

knowledge on the female body

hit on the internet and taught

their teeth, wash themselves

is so important?

a lot of women and men

properly and tell them what

“Everybody knows what male

about the female body and its

the hell is going on between

genitals look like. Clearly the

characteristics. In the series

their legs. But if mothers have

taboo concerning the male

it seems that very few people

never learned how to speak

body is less. Boys often know

actually know what the female

about their bodies by their own

at a young age how everything

body looks, feels, smells and

mothers, how will they ever

functions, whereas girls

works like. Why do you think

be able to teach their kids?

have no clue. Until they start

that so many people lack

Therefore education on the

menstruating. From that point

knowledge on this subject?

female body is still based on

the exclamation marks start to

“There has been a lack of

technical information instead of

flicker, because: ‘oh no, now

knowledge on the female

the emotional aspects that are

they can become pregnant.’

body for ages. The most

intertwined! In current society

For girls it’s not often about

important reason is the taboo

all the technical information

the positive aspects of their

surrounding this subject, or

about your body is easy to lay

bodies; it’s all about protecting

more specific the emotional

hands on. It’s the emotional

it. However these positive

aspect of this subject. A taboo

part - the part that explains

aspects are crucial in order

that has influenced many

how to care for your body

to understand your body, and

generations in their education,

and enjoy it - that is harder to

therefore a part of yourself. The

and therefore knowledge, on

understand.”

female body and its sexuality 98

Caroline Vos has been a gynaecologist for more than 20 years. Together we take a look at the Emmy-nominated video series Vagina Dispatches by the Guardian. A series about the female body in all of its aspects, produced to increase knowledge on this topic. Together we will be talking about the feminine in feminisation, Let’s talk Pussy!


are the most common thing in

and teach children about the

image of women. I would

the world and it’s time we start

emotional aspects involved.”

rather have them changing this, since it will changes the

With sexual education failing,

perception of the female and

Watching the series I found out

what do you think of brands

her body as well.”

that sexual education fails in

swooping in to provide the

many countries, among which

masses of knowledge and a

Monki released a campaign

the US. How do you think that

changing image on vagina’s

about periods this summer,

knowledge of the female body

and sex?

stating that “Periods are cool,

can grow in the future?

“Brands reflect the market.

period.’’ Are campaigns like

“Sexual education in America

Feminisation is a trend now

this helping in the construction

is terrible! They just found

so of course brands act on

of a new perception on the

out that only teaching about

this. Brands like Pampers and

female body you think?

abstinence is not stopping

Always supply Third World

“Listening to this question my

pregnancies whereas the

countries with period packages

mind veers off to an image I

combination of talking about

in order to give girls a chance

saw of a sleeping girl. There

abstinence ánd showing

to go to school. This is super

was some menstrual blood

how to have safe sex does

important if you ask me!

involved, leaving a stain on

prevent pregnancies. Which

Nevertheless, if you look at

her sweatpants. This image

is obvious, of course. You

countries like the Netherlands

has been removed from

can’t just tell kids not to have

I think it’s just as important

Facebook. Only because of the

sex, they will do it anyways.

to keep the subject of

menstrual blood this picture

In the Netherlands this is

menstruation light. We should

was considered inappropriate.

something we do understand.

be careful with speaking for all

Crazy if you ask me, because

Sexual education here is

women at once, since periods

periods are so normal! That’s

adequate, providing children

in specific are so different for

why I think brands, mostly

with lots of information on the

so many women. So, even

brands who are there for

technical part – which include

though brands are not to

everyone, can definitely try to

information on STD’s and how

be taken responsible to take

make periods more accepted,

to have safe sex. However what

action on this, it can certainly

for example by providing

I do miss is the less practical

help. Because the other

period related products. Why

part of sex. The dialogue. It’s

way around; many brands

not?”

so important to talk about sex

participate in an unrealistic 99

[non]sense

treating it like that.”


Many men don’t really know a

unique. I know women who

Where do you think this trend

lot about menstruating. When

can’t work during their entire

comes from?

the knowledge on the female

menstruation as well as women

“Funny that you mention this.

body improves, the need to

who don’t experience any

I grew up during a time when

act on this comes with it. For

problems working during their

only men shaved themselves,

example with “the first day

period. You could give women

and they only shaved their

leave”.

a guaranteed minimum so they

chins. So, I think body hair

do have some basic rights,

and the removal of it are

An arrangement that gives

but the act can be changed

beauty ideals, and beauty

women the opportunity to get

according to every unique

ideals change. This change

the day off during the first day

situation.”

is connected to biology, since

of their period. What do you

something that looks healthy is

think of acts like this?

When looking at the female

often perceived as attractive.

“I think the act is great for

body, a lot of rules exist. One

Also important in the change

women who need it, but

of them stating that body hair

of body ideals is the culture

it overlooks the fact that

should preferably be removed

we live in, and the trends that

many women don’t. This is

or precisely shaved. However

triumph within this culture. But

the problem with numerous

more and more women stop

if it were up to me, everyone

reproductive processes; we

shaving and celebrate their

would just do what feels good

think we can solve everything

body hair (even underneath

to them.”

with a one size fits all-act

their armpits and down under).

whereas every situation is 100


needs to be feminised? And

try to create a male/ female

the trend of feminisation: the

why?

division in order to understand

shift in gender roles from

“We do! In order to create

the world around us. Fluidity

men towards women, but

equality between the sexes boys

is therefore another way of

also the increase of female

will have to be raised again.

creating a difference. So no, I

values - such as empathy and

Where girls are planning

don’t think the future is gender

community. Do you recognise

their lives keeping in mind a

neutral.”

this trend in current society?

possible family situation, boys

“I’m working in a feminized

almost never keep this in mind.

environment. Whereas during

But now their role in the family

my education I was one of

situation has changed and they

the few girls studying to be a

have to take on a more active

gynaecologist (I think for every

role. It’s important to make

4 men there was 1 woman).

room for this in their perception

Now this has completely shifted

of the future.”

[non]sense

As you know, I’m researching

to a situation where for every 9 women there is 1 man. I’m just

Okey, wild thinking;

glad some men still choose to

feminisation seems to be

become a gynaecologist, since

making the man more

diversity in a team is key.

feminine and the woman more

This change in the male/

appreciated. Do you think

female division has changed

that in the far future the two

the working environment

genders will be perceived as

hugely: where women used to

one?

act masculine in order to fit in

“I would love that, but we are

a male dominated world, often

definitely not there yet. I can

by being very competitive,

even say that gender fluidity is

performance driven and

way more complicated than it

extremely hardworking, in

seems to be. Where we try not

current times women seem to

to label anyone by what they

feel less pressure.”

have between their legs we are labelling by how they act and

Do you think that the world

what they look like. We still 101


Sharing a house..

..independently together


By Loes Kleijngeld


Who run the world? Girls?

Ashley Chin is a young woman who stands for diversity and equality. She’s currently studying a master’s degree in Advanced Migration Studies at the University of Copenhagen. I spoke to her about feminisation within the field of migration and what migrating women mean to society.

Do you think that Feminisation

and the past is not that big

in general caused for more

at all. For the 19th and 20th

women to migrate?

centuries, the majority of

“I think it is difficult to

international migrants were

make a direct link between

men, but since 1920 the

general feminisation and

percentage of female migrants

migrating women, especially

has grown slowly but surely.

because feminisation takes

And especially between 1965

a different form in every

and 1990, the number of

society, but also because

female migrants increased

gender roles are determined

faster than the number of men.

by social generalisations and

In 1960 the percentage of

personal circumstances. The

female migrants was already

socioeconomic situation of

47%. Of all international

a family can force women to

migrants in the world, almost

work, and then they already

half was female. In the last

take a different role from the

40 years, that percentage has

traditional care role. However,

grown by 2%.”

this is a different kind of feminisation than the kind we

In which countries are women

talk about in the West, when

migrating the most and why?

women are more and more

“Generally, the

able to get better jobs if they

underdeveloped countries

want to. Additionally, women

where the socioeconomic

who migrate today end up in

situation of many families

jobs that are strongly linked to

causes the need for different

traditional gender roles.”

family members to migrate.

by Iman Chin

It depends, however, very

104

Can you tell me more about

much on the time and political

the number of women

circumstances. For example: by

migrating nowadays?

1960, 61% of the immigrants

“If you look at the numbers,

in the Netherlands were

the difference between now

women due to decolonisation


Do you think the migration

Are they taken over by their

former colonies. We also see

of women is positive thing

husband or by other relatives?

a lot of Filipino and Nepali

(for example because the

“Given that more and more

women migrating to western

women can send their families

women migrate without their

countries. Often women

money) or a negative thing

husbands and children, thus no

migrate in connection with

(for example because children

longer in family relationships,

new marriages, but we also

are growing up without their

they often change their role

see a growth in the number

mothers) and why?

within the family. Instead of the

of women who migrate for

“I think it’s both positive and

main caretakers, they are now

labour, without their husband

negative. Women can support

the main breadwinners. This

or family. This may be due to

their family and might even

has positive and negative sides.

the fact that today there are

offer better opportunities

fewer jobs in manufacturing

for the future. There are of

and construction jobs globally.

course also negatives sides.

As unskilled migrant men

The complexity of migration

often fill this work field, it also

generally makes it very difficult

means that many migrant men

to say if something is positive

lost their jobs. As a response,

or negative. The circumstances

migrant women increasingly

differ per person or per family.

started to work because they

That’s why I like to use the

had to compensate for the

words ‘often’ or ‘mostly’,

loss in family income. In

because you cannot really

On the one hand, they have

addition, international financial

speak of such a broad thing as

to leave their home, but on

institutions have strongly

‘migrating women’ and make

the other hand, there is also

encouraged the growth of

accurate statements about it.

a chance in returning home

migrant women, as women

Even if you are focussing on

not only financially better, but

generally return a larger

one specific group of women,

also with new ideas and skills.

proportion of their salary than

it’s hard enough to draw

In a certain way, they can re-

men. Therefore the contribution

general conclusions.”

determine what it means to be

Women who migrate today end up in jobs that are strongly linked to traditional gender roles

they deliver to their country of

a woman, and perhaps change

origin is – despite their absence

What happens to the roles that

how their own community sees

– greater than that of men.”

the migrating women/mothers

and treats women. In general

normally have in their families?

however, we often see that if 105

[non]sense

and subsequent migration from


a woman leaves the family to

the country of arrival also has

migrate, her role and thereby

to do with the socioeconomic

care-bearing tasks are taken

and political situations of

over by grandmothers and

these countries of arrival. For

daughters instead of fathers.”

example: in the west, nurseries are becoming more expensive,

Can you tell me about the jobs

and women are working

that migrant women take on in

more, which means that they

their new countries?

are less at home. This creates

“The job position of migrant

an increasing demand for

women is not only gendered,

housekeepers and nannies.

but also dependant on race.

As migrant women are often

This means that the vast

cheap workers, they are the

majority of migrant women

ideal employee target group.”

come from certain areas in

106

highly specific sectors of the

Is it easier for women to

labour market. Often, they will

migrate in comparison to men?

start working as housekeepers,

“I think it’s definitely not easier

caregivers or cleaners – tasks

for women to migrate then it is

traditionally linked to women.

for men, due to many different

In these jobs, they are often

factors. Firstly, women are

very vulnerable, because there

often confronted with sexist

is little overview of working

prejudices, making them less

conditions. If a woman works

likely to come to work – both in

at home, for example as a

the country of origin and in the

nanny or housekeeper, one

country of arrival. For example:

can hardly find out if she is

there is still an assumption that

well paid, treated with respect

almost all women, including

and not exploited or abused,

migrant women, are only

either in a physical or mental

temporary workers because

way. The fact that migrant

they will marry and then

women are increasingly

stop working. There are also

adopting care-taking jobs in

stereotypes of certain ethnic


groups, and women almost

of their rights. In this way,

goes for all the women – and

of studies can also ensure

everywhere in the world are

it can indeed contribute to

of course also men – that are

that migrant women are

in a weaker legal position in

women empowerment. On

migrating around the world.“

further stigmatised, and that

comparison to men. These

the other hand, the migration

factors create higher risks for

of women does not indicate

What impact do migrating

good mother or wife because

migrating women than for

that women are becoming

women have on the children

there are so many negative

migrating men.”

more empowered, because

that are growing up without

consequences for her children or family.”

migration also involves many

their mothers?

Do you think that the migration

risks. In general, women are

“There are many studies on

of women is a sign of women

more vulnerable and more

the effect of migrating mothers

empowerment and why?

likely to become victims

on the remaining families.

“Women empowerment means

of trafficking for example.

I honestly don’t know what

that women’s social position

Discrimination against women

to think of this. On the one

is getting stronger. Their rights

often prevents them from

hand, I do believe that there

are better protected, and they

taking safer migration routes,

will be negative effects when

get more freedom to go and

and it can also cause them

a mother is leaving, and we

stand where they want without

to, once arrived, end up in

shouldn’t underestimate this.

being held back by prejudices

dangerous working conditions,

Most studies mainly indicate

and traditional expectations.

where there is absolutely no

that these children develop

Migration can help to create

room for their own autonomy

problems in their emotional or

equality between men and

and freedom.”

physical health. For example

women, and it can contribute

they might lose their appetite,

to empowerment of women,

Do you see migrating women

get outbreaks of anger or

because women will have their

as vulnerable or strong and

they’re being stigmatised for

own income, more autonomy

why?

having an absent mother.

and freedom and perhaps

“I think migrating women are

Especially young girls in the

higher self-confidence. By

very strong. Last summer, I

family are affected by their

working, women can also

learned that my grandmother

mother’s leave, in the sense

become more assertive when

migrated from Hong Kong

that daughters eventually

new opportunities arise, and

to Suriname to marry my

take over the duties of the

they are exposed to new

grandfather – a man she had

mother. As a result, they are

ideas and/or social norms,

never met before. I think that

less likely to go to school. But

making them more aware

is extremely brave and this

at the same time, these types 107

[non]sense

they are thought not to be a


s

o

n u d


Learning to communicate, to listen and to be heard


[non]sense

s

111


The relation between loneliness and the feminised society Sarina Kers is a psychologist and an activity instructor in a care house, who I spoke to about the relationship between loneliness and a feminised society.

by Carmen Liebrecht

not know clearly what you are

woman is something positive

What are female values for

doing something for, you can

for sure. On the other hand,

you?

feel directionless and lonely.

it might be getting out of

“Standing up for yourself,

Setting clear personal

hand because the pressure is

clearly indicating personal

boundaries is a tough one,

becoming too high.”

boundaries and equality. Those

because it might cause you to

I think are important. I think it

lose people around you. On

Can you comment on the

is important to set clear goals,

short term it will not become

loneliness that is currently

keep these goals and strive to

easier, but on the long term it

felt?

meet these goals.”

does make you happier.”

“I treat a client with autism and his wife feels very lonely.

Do you think that the values

What do you think is

His wife literally said: ‘when

that you consider female can

positive about a feminising

we have sex he touches me,

help to fight loneliness?

society?

but it feels so far away.’ That is

“Yes, especially setting goals.

“We can make much more

because they don’t understand

When a goal is reached, it

personal progress, which was

each other. When she comes

feels like a personal victory

not the case earlier. Women

home from work and is sad,

which makes a person proud.

used to not be able to go

her husband asks her if

You are really working towards

to university. That was not

something is wrong. She says

a goal. You can study hard

accepted. Anything a woman

‘no’, but there is something

because you know why you

said was not accepted. The

wrong. Other people notice

are studying. When you do

equality among men and

this because of facial 112


expressions, but someone

diagnosed with a disorder.

Why do you think those

who has autism does not. He

If you have five of these

people do not experience

would say ‘okay’ and move on.

criteria you can say someone

loneliness?

This causes friends of autistic

is displaying traits of the

“Sports are a very social

people to feel lonely, because

disorder. For a disorder to be

activity where a lot of people

they are not understood. Often

diagnosed, a person has to

meet. Some may go to the gym

these people go into treatment

suffer from these criteria daily.”

together or go for a walk in a

together. They want to learn to

group.”

What are frequently seen

are together, but still alone

reasons for loneliness?

What is in your opinion

because there is no depth to

“Not feeling great, having

an important factor in the

their relation.”

a bad health paired with

increasing loneliness?

psychiatric complaints, a

“Social media and other

How do you define

difficult financial situation or

offline media, like television or

loneliness?

the passing of a partner may

magazines, are a big influence

“Based on seven characteristics

cause loneliness. I have done

on loneliness. These media

we can diagnose whether

research about loneliness

sketch images that are not

a person is suffering from a

among elderly in a care home

true, that do not reflect reality.

depression. When someone

called Diessenplas. Results

Plastic surgery has heavily

has all of these characteristics

indicated that people feel

altered the beauty ideal a

they are diagnosed with

lonely mostly because of a

lot. Especially young people

a depression. People, for

lack of social interaction.

between the ages of eighteen

example, may be bothered by

People who had more social

and twenty-three struggle a lot

irritability, restlessness, trouble

contacts, via activities like golf

with this.

with sleeping or thoughts about

or billiards, said they felt less

In addition, society puts high

death.”

lonely. Physical activity also has

pressure on young people to

a lot of effect on loneliness. No

perform, which may cause

So loneliness can be

loneliness was reported among

loneliness. I see this a lot

measured based on certain

people who had 30 minutes

among my clients. A degree

criteria?

of physical activity per day. No

takes a lot of energy. So much

loneliness at all!”

that they barely have any free

“Yes, every disorder for example has ten criteria, and

time left. This causes less social

if someone has six or more

contacts which, in turn, causes

of these criteria they are

isolation from other people.” 113

[non]sense

understand each other. They


Are there, besides

in, which could also cause a

Are there differences

young people, other age

lack of quality care.”

between people from

categories that experience

villages and cities?

a lot of loneliness?

So in reality it is hard to

“Loneliness is more often seen

“Elderly experience a lot of

measure loneliness among

in cities. Cities are places with

loneliness. The troubling fact

elderly?

a lot of people, but it lacks

is that loneliness is not easily

“That is correct, because most

deep relationships and that is

noticed with elderly. This

of the times it is not noticed.”

why people feel lonely more

is because people are not

in cities. In most cases people

frequently sent to care homes

Are there different causes of

who have a large group of

anymore. These days people

loneliness among men and

friends feel more lonely than

are only sent to care homes

women?

people who only have two or

when someone has physical

“No, those reasons are

or psychological complaints.

generally the same. Other

The issue, however, is that

disorders, like schizophrenia

personnel is insufficiently

for example, are diagnosed

educated to take care of these

more among men. Depression

people. For example, half of

is a disorder that is more

the employees does not know

frequently diagnosed among

what a disorder is. That’s why

women than among men, but

problematic behaviour is not

the reasons of the depression

recognized. Another issue is

are generally the same.”

Elderly experience a lot of loneliness. The troubling fact is that loneliness is not easily noticed.

that care is not being invested 114


three good friends because

to others who are in much

those are people with deep

worse situations and tell

relationships. In small towns

themselves not to complain. It

people build up deeper

is underestimated.”

relationships because almost everyone knows each other.”

How do you try to cure “We always stimulate people to

“People are not very

try social activities like sports,

enthusiastic to admit that they

because it allows them to make

are not doing very well. This

new social connections. We

is partially because social

try to bring people together

media feeds them fun things

who are in the same situation

that others are doing. Everyone

by raising awareness. This is

is having fun, so not often is

pleasant for people because

it said out loud that people

it makes them realise they are

are not doing well. Some of

not alone. In addition, we

my clients say: ‘I am lonely

organise activities. Through

but I have everything I need.

this we look for a new balance

A house, a husband and

in day to day life. The goal is

kids. Why am I not happy?’

to get clients to become more

People compare themselves

happy.”

[non]sense

people of their loneliness? Is loneliness a taboo?

115


Do rappers cry?

by Hannah Woods

upbringing to begin with? You’ve doing music for 8

“I grew up with one sister and

Do you think the way you

years now. Looking back,

my mom, my father wasn’t

were raised influenced your

what do you think was the

always there. So I got to live in

interest in music?

determining factor for you

a house full of women and of

“Yeah, definitely. Which is

to start?

course that shaped me. From a

kinda’ weird. I think mostly

“A friend of mine gave me this

very young age on I’ve learned

through my Dad, even though

little note book, and then I

to respect women. That’s why

he wasn’t very present. He

just started writing poems. Just

my music is not tough, not like

used to play old records, I

poems, poems and poems…

‘look at me I am masculine’.

was surrounded by Michael

this kind of translated itself

My household made me and

Jackson, Bob Marley, Prince

into writing lyrics and then it

the music I am making today.

and co. He used to play them

translated itself into making

But that doesn’t necessarily

all the time. I think it influenced

music. I was sixteen years old

mean mom raised me in a

and shaped my interest for like

when I went to the studio for

feminine way, you know? It’s

making music-subconsciously.”

the first time, and I recorded

hard to put a label on it, she

a few tracks and I just kept on

raised me as a mother. But

Would you consider yourself

going and going.”

I can imagine that’s just the

emotional?

easy way out to put a label

I am curious about your

on it, saying father masculine,

outlook on the world. Can

mom feminine. But I don’t think

you tell me more about your

that’s really the case with me.”

“Emotional, me? Yes. Very.”

116

Josimar Gomes is not your typical rapper. His lyrics are very expressive and he doesn’t shy away from emotions, nor hide behind the mask of masculinity society has created. He’s a pretty boy, smart, sensitive and as he says a ‘little goofy’. In this interview he explains how his feminine up-bringing, masculine idols and ambitious spirit shaped his perceptions surrounding femininity.


just the easy way out to put a label on it, saying father masculine, mom feminine.

for real. But he’d just criticise

think it’s a weakness or a

me on the technical stuff like

strength?

production. I seriously doubt

“Both. Sometimes it can

he’d judge my feelings, as

be used against you and

long as they are honest. I do

in that case it could be a

believe in honesty and people

weakness. But I think it’s

hear when something is not

mostly a strength, I relate it

honest. Keep it honest and

with empathy and I think that’s

keep it humble, there will be

a very strong characteristic

no criticism.”

or even force. Because that means you can relate to

Do you think your idols,

somebody. Being emotional to

especially in the rap culture,

me means being empathetic.

shaped your way of seeing

Also when I am in emotional

women? Because I mean it is

pain or distress, music is my

kind objectifying, isn’t it?

go to place. I just ‘write it off

“That’s a good, that’s a very

me’ so I write write, write, write.

good question. Maybe when

Then it’s out there and the

I was younger yeah, but now

same night it doesn’t bother

since I am a little bit older I’d

me anymore.”

say no. When I was a kid like ten or eleven, I didn’t know

Are you afraid to be

shit about anything, especially

criticised with your music,

about women. My opinions

especially when it’s too

were based on what I’d heard

emotional?

and seen. I wasn’t in direct

“There is this strange

contact with women, so how

excitement, but I am never

could I know what’s up with

afraid. It depends man, maybe

them? The more experiences

if I dropped an album and

I got, the more I am capable

it’s all personal stuff and all

to make my own decision

of a sudden Nas stepped in

concerning women - now it’s

and said, ‘I fucking hate your

about my own opinions.”

album’ - that would kill me 117

[non]sense

I can imagine that’s

That’s honest. Do you


Emotional, me? Yes. Very.

Concerning the objectifying

Your song “Mirror” is about

about and wanna do stuff with.

image of women: do you

self reflection and self

I have these people around me

then think rap and its

improvement. If you were

and it’s about ‘we could do

language shouldn’t be taken

to reflect back on yourself,

this together, we could work on

seriously?

what are the biggest

that’. It’s the path that counts,

”I have this conflict with myself

changes you’ve made and

not the goal.”

because I see a lot of people,

how did you realise those

also my friends making music

changes were needed?

Do you think Hip-Hop and

and the things they rap about

”Like certain things are more

Rap industry are open to a

is mostly degrading women.

like long term improvements,

more feminised future?

When I question their style

but also in that period from

“I really don’t know. There

and wording they try to tell me

‘Mirrors’ till now there were

are certain artists that indeed

it’s not meant to be sexually

also some small improvements

take that row. You have Little

degrading. But why would you

that I also needed to do. I was

Yadi and Little Uzi for instance.

put it like that then? I think it’s

blaming myself for a lot of

The way they move and

very conflicting in terms of what

things that were not happening

express themselves is maybe

you say and what you do. I

and kept on asking myself

not feminine but also not

take objectification of women

why, instead of changing it.

masculine, you know? I also

very personally. For that reason

I realised what I am good

see a lot of artists that take Hip

I get a lot of bullshit people

at and what I wanna do with

Hop and use it like what Punk

telling me to not take it that

myself and my music. Back

did for a lot of people in the

seriously. But man it upsets me.

then I always wanted to find my

80s late 70s. They are using

You shouldn’t mess with it. It’s

own sounds. Now I got a small

values of that movement to

your integrity, man.”

group of friends, that I care

make theirs, so they get

118


heard in the industry. But you

And it becomes less and less

know what, if my father were

and eventually that mindset

to watch these new artists he’d

will die.”

say: ‘Why is he dressed like a girl?’ Because he’s just from a

So you believe you can be

different era, in his mind this

a man and be emotional or

represents a female image.

rather said feminine?

Nowadays these kids don’t

“Of course!”

think that way; they don’t think about being female or male,

Do you think you’re

it’s just clothes, just an object-

pressured into living up to

no label on it.”

the image of being a man?

You mean there’s hope?

is no, maybe also that’s why I

“Yes for sure! We carry our

make different music than a lot

values to the next generation,

of masculine rappers around

we will teach our kids different.

me. Like, ‘I fuck that bitch and

I think our kids and their kids

whatever.’ I’m also thinking of

will look back and don’t have

doing less rapping because it’s

that attitude anymore. I know it

so much surrounded by this

sounds very positive but that’s

macho world.”

[non]sense

”No. And because my answer

what I believe in. We will be more equal, we will be more

When I look at your music,

free minded.

it’s not only about the music

We are in the middle, we carry

you know - it’s about…

the old way of thinking but we

“Myself.”

are changing.

Last one: can boys cry? “If they couldn’t, we wouldn’t have the ability to cry.”

My household made me and the music I am making today. But that doesn’t necessarily mean mom raised me in a feminine way, you know? 119


Synonymous

when darkness fades into light and light fades into the dark we often tend to get confused lose our spark either way one cannot exist without the other so it’s just a matter of time untill they fade into each other

by Geesje Remijnse


Only a nice ‘hello’ doesn’t solve loneliness Elly is 75 years old and walks through the city centre of Tilburg every day. She still has some friends but she doesn’t see them very often. Her husband died two years ago. The shopping streets offer her some small talks with others, but since V&D is gone, she hasn’t found a place where she can feel at home.

She’s not the only one. V&D was a meeting place

From just an experience to life changing

for several people. I guess that the accessibility

V&D has not left us for anything. It should be

and the uniformity of the warehouse made it easy

clear that the right of existence of physical retail

to enter and walk around for hours while having a

has been under fire for several years now. In

little chat every here and then. Last year, an article

2011, Albert Boswijk, Ed Peelen and Steven

of ‘RetailTrends’ described jokingly that it was time

Olthof wrote in their book that experience might

to blow the old-fashioned smell of sprouts out of

be the magic word to save the physical side of

the warehouses. Question is: where should Elly

retail. Nowadays, people like Company Expert

go now to experience that smell of sprouts again?

Alderd Froolik still say that the time has come to bring back the cosiness in the shopping streets

The needs and values of society are always

of The Netherlands. Why is it taking so long for

changing. Currently, our society is asking for

brands to change their physical-formula?

feminine values such as care, empathy and sharing. This means that masculine brands will

The so-called economy of experiences, wherein

need to innovate in order to stay relevant and

retailers try to make their shops as distinctive as

impact people’s lives. They need a good concept

possible, seems to play a big role when it comes

and strategy with a feminine approach, which

down to proving the right of existence for physical

is hard because for decades the main goal for

retail. Brands and consumers are starting to

physical retail has been achievement orientated –

understand that stores are more than only places

a real masculine value.

where stuff can be bought. Lately, a new vision is born from the concepts ‘profit’ and ‘efficiency’.

The huge amount of lonely people currently living

In the last few years, the idea arose that social

in the Netherlands can form the target group for

involvement and efficiency can work together.

the start of a feminine approach to physical retail.

Since experiences only last for a certain time, brands need to find ways to make their brandawareness last longer. Why not try to change 124


people’s lives by adding meaning to brand

‘store’. A flagship store is mainly meant for

experience? Especially in this time, where needs

brand awareness, other physical locations are

and values of consumers are shifting towards

meant to provide profit, and a charity store could

feminine values as care, sharing and empathy, it

function by the support of all mentioned. Part of

is important for brands to take responsibility and

the marketing budget, which is normally used

bring people together.

to convince and persuade people, can be used to organise events that bring people together.

Some brands take the lead. Tony’s Chocolonely

Charity stores can be branded spots where

offers slave free chocolate and consumers can cut

brands can show that they’re taking responsibility.

their own herbs in the Albert Heijn to lower their

I bet this will raise brand awareness and goodwill

packaging waste. The economy of experiences

of consumers and that is a brand value that will

is slowly making a place for the economy of meanings. One thing is for sure: Elly’s delight is not the same as her luck.

Can brands offer a solution to loneliness? Loneliness is a common thing in Elly’s age group. The research of ‘Coalition Erbij’ reveals that one

Intensive personal can be a huge challenge for companies to achieve.

of their age group. There’s a lot of lonely youth

surely bring profit.

as well. Loneliness can happen to anybody,

I think that the solution for loneliness can’t fully

according to philosopher Anja Machielse. “A

be found in physical retail, but I’m sure brands

large network doesn’t help, you as a person have

can do a lot to solve a part of a problem. It’s

needs and do not feel connected to others.’’ This

good for brands to be aware that it’s not nice

means that the solution could lie in qualitative

to earn money over poor people’s backs, so

personal contact. Something brands can offer.

brands should always be transparent in their

[non]sense

in eight people feel extremely lonely, regardless

reasons. Isn’t it a huge chance, if you realise

Caring brands deserve more

how privileged you are if you can say that you’re

But this contact should be intensive. Intensive

in the position to change these kinds of societal

personal contact costs time and effort. This can

problems? Philosopher Francis Bacon once

be a huge challenge for companies to achieve.

said: “For a crowd is not company; and faces

Hence there are lots of benefits for brands who

are nothing but a gallery of pictures; and talk is

dare to try. ‘Trendwatching.com’ reveals that

nothing but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no

brands that really stand for something and visibly

love.’’ By saying this he hit the nail right on its

care about the environment or people, can rely

head.

on more consumer trust than brands that only care about making profit. Today might just be the

Elly doesn’t visit the shopping streets of Tilburg for

perfect day to release a non-traditional feminine

no reason. She can’t buy affection, but I’m sure

brand.

brands can give it to her through physical retail.

by Jeffrey Dral The profit of non-profit A possible retail concept could be a charity 125


Exploring the ‘boy problem’ in elementary education: An Interview with Vanessa Alkmade

the tests, ways of examination

Vanessa Alkemade, Yvonne Markman and director of SIRE Lucy van der Helm, run the SIRE office together. The three of them are the constant driving force in the company. SIRE is a Dutch independent foundation which brings attention to social issues and runs campaigns to discuss these issues. Vanessa’s main focus are the campaigns. She is the SIRE project leader and takes care of planning and organisation. SIRE cooperates with a lot of organisations and she keeps the overview and checks content of the campaigns. Vanessa’s latest campaign as a project leader was ‘Do you allow your boy to be a real boy?’. This campaign concerns the ‘boy problem’ in elementary schools, and through this interview, Vanessa explains that current education fits girls better than boys.

SIRE’s website contains

and communication between

an article which says that

teacher and children.

‘educators value boys

Education moves into the

behaviour less than that of

direction of girls behaviour.

girls’ What do you mean by

Because of that, education

boys behaviour?

gets tougher and tougher for

“By boys behaviour I mean that

boys. Boys are being restricted.

boys are more wild and active

Consider for example playing

than girls, we see that mainly

outdoors: we are much more

in the classroom. Boys can’t

cautious. We want to protect

sit still for a long time. Our

them. This affects boys as

research proves that nowadays

well as girls, but for boys it is

girls behaviour gets most of the

harder. They have less freedom

attention at school.”

while playing outdoors. We are more protective of the children

by Sade de Jong

126

What do you mean by girls

in the schoolyard and a lot less

behaviour?

is acceptable. That is because

“By girls behaviour I mean

teachers and educators are

sitting quietly and listening

afraid of accidents. And it

attentively to the teacher. We at

is exactly this freedom to

SIRE are convinced that current

experiment which is very

education fits girls much more

important for the development

and better than boys.“

of boys.”

Can you give an example

Why do you think that boys

which aspects of education

are less valued in current

fit girls better than boys?

education?

“Educational aspects which

“It is really about aspects of

fit girls better are for example

education that value boys


What do you think is the

outdoors exactly like boys

show for example that we

reason that elementary

and they can win SIRE’s

should test boys only once a

education has changed to

indestructible jeans as well.

year and that is enough. At

the disadvantage of boys?

We noticed that nowadays

this moment children have

“Methods of education and

at elementary education it

to do lots of tests and boys

learning materials develop

is mainly boys that present

lose interest. Generally they

according to what is currently

problems and drop out of

like mathematics, but even

important in our society. At the

school. We wanted to start

calculations are nowadays

moment the ‘feminine way’ of

discussions on this.

presented in a storytelling way

teaching has grown to be more

During recent years we looked

rather than pure calculation.

important. I mean to say that

mainly at girls, so we thought

More and more changes

in ‘real life’ it is vital to possess

it time to pay attention to

are introduced that are

essentially ‘feminine qualities’

the boys. That is why we

less favourable for boys,

like critical thinking, attentive

specifically chose to focus on

however girls tend to enjoy

listening, problem solving and

the boys”.

these changes. This kind of

teamwork skills. Our teaching

education places boys simply

methods have been adapted

At the start of the campaign

offside”.

towards those qualities”.

it says: “Boys and girls are equal, but not identical”

I, as a mother, have learned to allow my son to explore the edges.

Coming back to the “Do

“Of course boys and girls

you allow your boy to be

are equal. They both play

a real boy?” campaign,

outdoors, act silly and can

why did you choose for the

be noisy, but basically they

stereotype ‘tough boy’ and

differ. In science there are two

not for ‘tough girl’ as well?

streams. One states ‘boys

“ We chose the boys because

and girls are not the same

this time we really wanted to

when they are born and differ

give attention to the boys,

genetically’. The other stream

which does not exclude the

states ‘boys and girls are being

girls however. Girls play

influenced by education’. There

127

[non]sense

less. Various research results


Boys and girls are equal, but not identical

It is a sure thing that there are scores of opinions on this subject. Your campaign ‘Do you allow your boy to

is a third stream which thinks

campaign, because we

On the other hand there is

be a real boy?’ has been a

it is a bit of both. The thing

specifically talk about boys

Drs. Lauk Woltring, what is

wake-up call for many and

we all agree on is that there

and girls individually. He

his opinion?

started a fierce discussion.

surely are differences between

has a different view on this. I

“Not one boy is identical

boys and girls. We should treat

am not really able to define

to another and you cannot

“After all the turmoil during the

them as equals but there is a

the meaning of the concept

reduce them to their sex. You

first two days we thought “Oh,

difference. That is the general

‘masculinity’. The science

can say however that they often

did we handle this completely

view but of course every rule

world gives many different

face other challenges than

wrong?”, but at the end of the

has its exceptions”.

opinions”.

girls during their development

day we are very happy with

What is your feeling on this?

form baby to adolescent and

the result. Because if we would

Manager of emancipator

On one hand there is Drs.

from adolescent to personality.

have done this in a more

Jens van Tricht tells us: ‘It

Jens van Tricht, what is his

Jens and Lauk hold different

gentle manner (and included

is a challenge for boys to

way of thinking?

opinions on the concept

the girls) nobody would have

find their way in a world

“When you are a twenty week

‘masculinity’ and many others

noticed the campaign. In that

in which masculinity is not

old foetus it is defined whether

hold still other opinions on this.

case there would have been

obvious any more’. What is

you are a boy or a girl. After

It is a broad subject on which

no impact at all on the Dutch

the meaning of the concept

that everything turns into

opinions are divided.

public. People would have said

‘masculinity’ according to

pink or blue. These are very

What we like to do at SIRE is

‘Well that is correct, both boys

you?

oppressive ideas for all sorts of

pose the question to the public.

and girls can play outdoors”.

“Our website offers a platform

gender. I believe many kinds

That is why we use open

There would have been zero

for all kinds of opinions.

of masculinity or femininity

statements in our campaign

discussion. And even though

Drs. Jens van Tricht has a

exist. Men and women together

‘Do you allow your boy to be

there were many negative posts

strong opinion about gender

should fight against gender

a real boy?’ We leave it to the

on social media: in the more

neutralism. He also says

inequality”.

educators to decide how much

serious television programs like

boy that should be.”

NOS and RTL Late Night, we

he does not agree with our 128


eye opener for me. The experts

the teaching is done: that

views and the ideas behind the

gave a number of examples,

effects boys enormously. In my

campaign. We at Sire are very

very practical examples of little

opinion in education we should

satisfied with the campaign

things you easily say to your

investigate thoroughly what

result. People started to think

children like, ‘you should not

each individual child needs. If

about it and discuss it between

do that’. But I, as a mother,

a child needs to move, then let

them. That is what we intended

have learned to allow my son

him wobble his chair or learn

to achieve”.

to explore the edges. And I am

by walking around. Right now

not as quick as before to say

a few schools do experiments

How would you describe a

to my children ‘take care’ or

on this. They allow the children

feminine education?

‘don’t’. I let them find out more

more freedom in the broad

“Female educators are very

in order to let them learn from

sense of the word, just as we

protective. They tell the

mistakes”.

propose in the campaign. That

children to sit quietly or they

way one does the children

quickly give their children an

At moment there’s an

better justice. It also means

iPad to have peace at home.

increasing prevalence

having a good look at the

We show that in the campaign

of female teachers in

education materials: in what

as well. This ‘feminine’ kind of

elementary school, what’s

way would boys generally

education restricts the children

your opinion on the

learn better? At the moment

in their development. It is very

connection between this and

boys and girls are actually

obvious that boys need role

‘the boy problem’

treated alike. But we think boys

models. It may be their father,

“I do not think there is

and girls really differ, though

but may also be a neighbour

any connection at all. The

there always are exceptions of

or a good teacher. For boys

teacher’s sex is not related to

course. But in general we think

it is important that there is a

the boy problem. The issue

that needs more attention. It

balance. Hopefully this is an

is the way boys are taught. It

does not matter whether the

eye opener for women to ‘be

does not matter really if it is

teacher is a woman or a man,

attentive’. I do have a daughter

a woman who teaches, but

if only you are aware of the

and a son myself and it was an

it does matter in which way

way they teach”. 129

[non]sense

have been able to explain our


I’m Charlotte Insinger, I know how to do my job and I’m a woman. In that exact order. by Carlijn Stadig

During your job at the

with higher grades than men.

are on the right track. Today

Erasmus Medical Centre,

However, when I started to

I see a lot more women who,

you put a lot of effort into

work there in 2005, only ten

after having children, are

getting more women in top

percent of the professors were

deliberately choosing to work

positions, why is this so

female. So there was a huge

again for four or five days a

important to you?

mismatch. Luckily, there is an

week. At least it’s an issue:

‘’Because teams with great

increasing emphasis on the

one thinks about it. In the past,

diversity function better. I am

hiring of women in different

I found the setting of quotas

not only talking about the

industries.’’

for adopting women a terrible

diversity in men and women,

idea. Then you are the woman

but also in age, social and

But still, it’s a difficult

who was hired because there

cultural background. The

problem. The Netherlands

were more women needed.

decision-making is harder,

scores badly on the share of

With time however, my opinion

but the end result is better,

women in top functions, why

has changed: those quotas are

because various perspectives

do you think that is?

necessary, otherwise it will last

are discussed and taken into

‘’There are indeed a lot

a century until a noteworthy

consideration. At the Erasmus

of people who share very

change is reached.’’

Medical Centre there have

negative opinions on this

been more women studying

subject. Personally however,

medicine as early as 1980;

I am much more optimistic.

women graduated faster and

Change needs time, but we 130

After a dazzling career at Shell and Robeco, she became member of the Board of Directors of the Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam. She is keen, knowledgeable, a big name in the financial world and a woman. In this interview, Charlotte talks about her experiences of being a woman in an environment dominated by men and her vision on the adoption of softer values in society.


In your career, have you

but I’m quite outspoken and

needed to fulfil certain tasks?

often faced prejudices

I like to handle things with

Are they better qualified for

because of the fact that you

humour. You can of course

certain things than men?

are a woman?

never prove it, but I think I’ve

‘’Yes, completely. In general,

‘’I’ve actually encountered that,

benefited from the fact that I’m

women are more sensitive to

though I’ve never really found

a woman. I was often the only

relationships and have better

it annoying. For example,

woman between many men, so

antennas for social contexts.

when I just had my first job:

I could add a different point of

They have a much better grasp

I was twenty-three years old

view. ‘’

on mankind, but perhaps with

and started working for Shell.

less intention for the result - an

I worked with a man, who

In interviews, you show

area in which a male thrives.

behaved nervously and made

clearly that you do not like

In addition, women are easily

sexist jokes in my presence. At

the question if the fact that

accessible and often more

one point, I addressed this to

you’re female contributed to

easy going than men: for

him and he stopped doing it.

your career, why is that?

example, they would introduce

Another example: after giving

‘’Because I feel that I am

themselves earlier than men,

birth to my twin daughters, I

not taking seriously when I

when entering a room. Men

started work with a new boss.

get asked that question. I’m

tend to sit down and prove

He said he would transfer me

Charlotte Insinger, I know

their importance. But I rather

if I wanted to work four days

how to do my job and I’m a

talk about male or female

a week; ridiculous of course. I

woman. In that exact order. It’s

qualities than men and women.

was not planning on working

not like: I’m a woman, who is

Because there are of course

part time at all, by the way. So

also accidentally capable of

many female men and vice

yes, sometimes you feel the

achieving something. A nice

versa.’’

difference of being a woman,

example: two female friends 131

[non]sense

Do you think women are


When I Started at the Erasmus MC they thought: who is this elephant that entered our organisation?

of mine worked for the same

You just said you don’t

company and one of them

really believe in men or

got a firm promotion. That

women, but more in male

other friend said: ‘I do not

or female qualities, which

understand why she got the

of these two do you have

job, there are so many men

more of?

who can fulfil that job very

‘’I notice that as a woman, I

well. She just got it because

can offer a female perspective

she’s a woman.’ Can you

in discussions: I often put

imagine that? That’s a woman

more emphasis on social

who said this about a friend of

aspects. But I’m pretty resolute

hers. I found it shocking and

and straight forward in my

very sad.’’

way of communicating. I can sometimes be a bit blunt,

So the problem of too little

which you could label as a

women in top positions

male quality.’’

is also due to of a lack of mutual solidarity?

132

Did you notice that men

‘’Yes, of course, women are

find it difficult to cope with

just as guilty. Women can be

a woman who is as straight

total bitches amongst each

forward as you are?

other. We are much more

‘’When I just started working at

sensitive to social tensions than

the Erasmus Medical Center,

men are; women are constantly

a very political environment,

looking at what alliances they

one had to get used to my

need to form. I would say: do

way of communicating. They

not succumb to this behaviour.’

thought: who is this elephant


‘’In short, that success is not

the world? I get the idea that

So during my time there I

only defined by money, but

people are thinking a lot more

also learned to be a little less

there is attention for a broader

about this than five to ten years

blunt at times. I think the way

welfare concept. So not only

ago.’’

people cope with me does not

productivity growth is taken

have to do so much with them

into account, but also better

How would you like to see

being male or female. But then

air quality, more free time,

the (working/corporate)

again, the real alphas do find it

less use of fossil fuels, and so

world in the future?

somewhat harder to handle.’’

on. Everything we consume

‘’I think and hope that we will

Have you never found it

has consequences. If you buy

develop into a more fluid world

intimidating to work with

something from Primark, that

in which people function from

these alpha males?

has a consequence, taking that

their own strength and that we

‘’No, but that’s because I

consequence into account,

take care of those who fail to

put things in perspective and

would you still want to buy

do that together. So people

I make fun of their macho

it? It is important that people

hold more solidarity to each

behaviour. I do that because

become aware of these things

other, instead of only caring of

I think that sort of behaviour

and realise that they have to

the things they think they are

is so pointless. Men who are

adjust their behaviour, because

entitled to. We are all entitled

trying to find out ‘who has the

only then change will occur.’’

to a full and human existence.

biggest’ it’s nonsense. I would

This means there must be

literally name it like that in an

We are now 8 years down

solidarity towards one another.

assembly. And then, of course,

the line, do you think this

We must help and complete

the atmosphere is reversed,

change has developed?

each other. Will this end at our

because then everyone

‘’Yes absolutely. I think people

national borders, at Europe or

understands that the discussion

are more aware of how spoiled

worldwide? I hope, of course;

is going nowhere.’’

we are in the West, compared

worldwide but that really

to other people in the world.

means a huge shift. Male and

In an interview in 2009, you

We consume so much while

female qualities are needed

said that you felt that society

the whole production process

in this world. There is also an

was at a turning point:

involves a lot of pollution,

urgent need for cross cultural

directing from a material

sweatshops and child labor.

diversity. Because how easy is

to a more spiritual point of

So we might want all these

it to choose not to understand

view. What did you mean

luxury and products, but what

each other? So, lots to do for

with that, exactly?

does that mean for the rest of

the millennials!’’ 133

[non]sense

that entered our organisation?


On the Brightside of hierarchy Transparency is rising, and information can be plucked everywhere. But that doesn’t mean hierarchies will disappear. Fortunately.

In 2007, when the economic crises hit the world, my father took all his ties out of his closet and threw them away. As an entrepreneur, he thought his status was on the line. Big bosses on Wall street got caught in their own greedy need for money. And my dad felt responsible. While his vacation look became his daily appearance, this day changed my point of view on hierarchy. I saw my teachers as creativity-killers, and managers being frustrated all the time. In my eyes, ties became a sign of oppression. But is hierarchy really a dirty word? Or can we benefit from it?

Negativity towards hierarchy

Leading without hierarchy

Hierarchy for me is those distinctions

Organizations are going flat (“No

that bring clear power differentials. As

more managers!”), levels have been

an intellectual race we strive for equality,

eliminated and hierarchy isn’t seen as

yet inequality and hierarchy are inter-

effective. Ricardo Semler, owner of

winded with each other. There couldn’t

Brazilian company Semco Partners, sees

be inequality without hierarchy and vice

this trend and adjusts his business to the

versa. The egocentric image of placing

employees. Anyone can get a job, but no

yourself on a pedestal and distinguishing

one can be you. He choose the people

yourself from others isn’t flattering and

by their talents and the environment is

encourages us to dislike hierarchy.

a reaction to it. Employees can decide their own salary, working hours and

From masculine to feminine

their job profile. A company built on

The social media-dominated world

competences instead of placing ranks.

burst with transparency and therefore

The result? More profit, happier staff and

information is equally available to

yes, managers. Employees pick their own

everyone. Power is shifting. Before the

leader and evaluate every 6 months if

internet, information moved between

he/she is still the right fit. But why?

vertical layers and got filtered by a small selection of men. They gained power

In a flat structure, we create a problem

and money by this secret system, that

with communication. We’re like a

isn’t applicable to today’s society. It’s

wheel with tiny spokes pointing to the

more than logical that we are moving

centre – but if there’s no hub, we can’t

to a society where we share and

connect this information with each

collaborate - we associate these values

other. A rough outline of a company’s

with femininity - than the competition-

structure improves proceeding efficiency

based (masculine) model we live in now.

by providing clarity to employees at all

As this shift is taking place, it doesn’t

levels. Even in companies without rules,

mean hierarchy is fading away.

we want a leader.

134


The concept of Hierarchy

power if you’re born higher in

decisions are made, because

Company’s systems are stuck

Hierarchies are ubiquitous.

the ranking, but the power is

they represent the firm in the

in a last-century time warp,

When you look around

with the people. As a leader,

outside world. They have to

untouched by the changing

carefully, you can see that the

you can personally connect

believe in the company as

world. Let’s draw the line

entire universe is hierarchical in

and understand your team.

much as you do. Remember

between justified and self-

nature. For example, language

He/she absorbs the uncertainty

the game of individually

interested systems. While

is hierarchy. Letters are subjects

and gives the whole structure.

whispering a story and how

hierarchies are unavoidable,

to words. Words are subjects

Hierarchy therefore works best

it got twisted more and more

we have to create our good

to sentences. The human body

when the person higher on the

by every person? When the

ones. Look at the unique

is no exception. A finger is

hierarchy does not use that

multiple layers of decisions

people we can work with, but

subject to the control of the

position to dominate but to

making becomes less, you’ll

still give people the structure

hand. The hand has to do what

enables their team to grow in

get closer to the core of your

they need.

the arm wants. And so on.

their own powers.

message.

Everything we see, think, feel is hierarchical detriment.

One way to use hierarchy

When looking at groups, think

wisely is to have leaders who

about your school period.

are radically transparent.

As I stated earlier about

Remember there was always

Entrepreneur and nano-

inequality, I want to highlight

a boss? In kindergarten there

manager with a striking

that all humans are equal and

was this kid who always had

conception about internal

deserve the same rights. But

the last word. Highschool

communication is Elon Musk.

we are capable of honouring

wasn’t different. University?

“The most common way

some individuals more than

[non]sense

It’s okay

The one who had the biggest mouth, again. The teacher didn’t assign anyone to be the manager of class, but it happened organically. It’s in

The obstacle we now have to overcome is our legacy.

our nature that not everyone is daring and willing to experience the heat of being

of information flow within

others, without having a

the leader. Now we have to use

a company is the chain of

conflict. This ‘appraisal respect’

this in our benefit.

command, which means that

can best be explained with your

you always communicate

mom or dad: even though you

Hierarchy can be done

through your manager. The

have a different connection,

differently

problem with this approach

you love them the same.

Hierarchy isn’t going away, but

is that it fails to serve the

the arrogant attitudes about it

company.” Flat organizations

have to. Power brings things

have not only a top-down

Ten years later, my father

into being, whether as the

decision making process, but

still doesn’t wear a tie. The

intended result or as an effect.

also a bottom-up. Empower

obstacle we now have to

Yet, in this society you don’t get

the people by showing how

overcome is our legacy.

No ties yet

135

by Robin Huberts


Dominating Nature by Nina Steinlechner

In every aspect of our lives we try to control our environment, push nature within borders and do everything so it does not cross those limits. But if one looks closely nature doesn’t live within straight lines and nature doesn’t care about what we want - it ghts back in the most subtle, so , organic yet inexhaustible way. While humankind thinks it’s dominating nature, nature is dominating us.


Is Hip-Hop for Pussies? From its very beginning, the Hip-Hop industry has been driven by testosterone. Rap-pers are notorious for their braggadocio, rampant homophobia and wittily vulgar mi-sogyny – all key ingredients of masculine behaviour. But over the past few years, hard-core Hip-Hop fans have been questioning one thing: Is the hyper-masculine music genre becoming more feminised?

Hip-hop emerged from an expression of the

Vulnerability is tough

embattled South Bronx in the 1970s to being

“Cry Jay-Z/ We know the pain is real/ But you

today’s defining symbol of Popular Culture. The

can’t heal what you never reveal”- the statement

music genre has undergone some huge changes

of Jay-Z’s latest album ‘4:44’ opening track

over the past forty years, making Hip-Hop a

is clear: instead of rapping about success and

multifaceted phenomenon.

excess, he creates space for vulnerability and honesty. Although Jay-Z is considered as being

In the 1990s, when Hip-Hop massively grew in

one of the founding fathers of modern Hip-Hop

popularity, hyper-masculinity dominated the craze.

as well as a trend-setter within the genre, he is

It was often so extreme that it was almost parodic:

not the first rapper embracing his emotional side.

video-clips frequently featured topless men

Today’s Hip-Hop artists are increasingly stepping

lifting weights, pit bulls barking at the camera

away from the hyper-masculinity of the 1990s.

and tricked out motor-cycles speeding down the

Popular artists reject the notion of financial

street. If aspiring rappers wanted to be successful

achievement as a source of empowerment and

during that time, they were forced to exaggerate

approach success and status with nuance. But,

the display of machismo and reject any form of

most importantly, contemporary rappers are not

vulnerability. Of course, there were exceptions.

afraid to express and discuss vulnerability.

In 1987 LL Cool J released his hit single ‘I Need Love’, which is until today widely recognised

Drake, one of the most popular artists of the

as the first one of the first Hip-Hop ballads. LL

past years, channels his inner Bon Iver on a

dared to play the smooth and seductive ladies

regular basis and has paved the emotional way

man, which was strongly rejected by his hardcore

for the new generation of Hip-Hop artists. Drake

Hip-Hop fans. In reaction to all that fuss, the artist

even stated on his 2011 album ‘Take Care’ that

released his album ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’,

“showing emotions don’t ever mean I’m a pussy”.

where the artist flexed his muscles and showed off

For the Toronto-born artist, this multi-million-

his jewellery on the cover.

dollar selling album was the turning point of his career as a Hip-Hop star. 138


Another notable high flyer in

and the increasing shift towards

collections. So much so, that

like “I know you scared / You

the world of vulnerable Hip-

a more feminised music genre.

teenage boys are willing to cue

should ask us if we scared too

Hop is Kendrick Lamar. On his

Instead of ‘Money and culture’

up on the street at six in the

/ If you was there / Then we’d

record ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’,

its values shifted in another

morning just to get a new pair

just knew you cared too.”

the rapper reveals his suicidal

direction. Since Biggie and

of sneakers. Kanye West, in

thoughts, survivor’s guilt and

Jay-Z, who were the first to

particular, has paved the way

many other issues mainstream

glorify designer brands such as

for Hip-Hop fans to devel-op a

rappers once sought to avoid.

Versace in their lyrics, Hip-Hop

feminine fashion taste, making

“Getting the thoughts there

artists are still very powerful

it acceptable to wear kilts and

and being vulnerable enough

commercial influencers in the

long t-shirts, reminis-cent of

to say these things, that’s the

music industry. Contem-porary

skirts and dresses.

tough part”, Lamar explained

rappers such as A$AP Rocky,

to Ebony magazine. “Because

Big Sean and Tyga are front

you don’t want people

row regulars at the big-gest

questioning you, your feelings

fashion shows.

Is Hip-Hop truly feminised? Despite its effort to tear

end, those are the records that

Cam’Ron changed the fashion

construct, Hip-Hop is not

connect with people. It’s not

game in 2003 when he rapper

there yet. Doesn’t matter

for me anymore, I can get out

appeared at Mercedes-Benz

that Kanye West addressed

my own way. It’s for the kid

Fashion Week in ahead-to-toe

these issues in an interview in

that’s really on the edge [who]

fluffy pink custom. His stylist at

2005, Homo-phobia is still

can feel like they have nothing

the time, Monica Morrow said,

out there. Also, Misogyny is

to lose.”

“[Pink] has been a colour that

still evident in nearly every

has been associated with not

rap song, the word ‘bitch’ is

Hip-Hop artists feel

being mascu-line. Anybody

being used on a regular basis

increasingly more accepted

that knows Cam knows that he

to imply male dominance.

when showing their emotions

is masculine.” It was her idea

However, compared to the

and weaknesses and they

to dress him in a completely

old school Hip-Hop days of

understood that being able to

in pink in his music videos

the 90’s, the scene is a lot

express vulnerability doesn’t

and public appearances,

less masculine and rappers

undermine their masculinity.

turning pink fur into a Hip-Hop

are less afraid to express their

The ability to talk openly about

emblem.

emotional vulnerability be it

[non]sense

down its hyper-masculine

and stuff like that. But in the

through clothing or their music.

vulnerability challenges an essential trope of the masculine

Successful Hip-Hop artists

Contemporary rappers have

construct.

broaden their influence by

opened doors for the younger

starting their own clothing line.

Hip-Hop audience to feel more

Decade of dominating

Most notably, Kanye West,

comfortable talking about their

fashion

Pharrell Williams and Tyler the

issues. Artists such as Chance

Fashion is probably one of

Creator have taken the fashion

the Rapper, have now become

the biggest influencers when

industry by storm with their

advocates for emotional

it comes Hip-Hops popularity

high-end collaborations and

problems by writing lyrics 139

by Sara Blanken


A dedication to my grandmother and all the other women migrating around the world Who run the world? Girls? Migration has been around for many decades, but the number of women migrating for marriage or labour has been rapidly growing since the last century. Some studies call this Feminisation of Migration, and although this isn’t really a new trend, I think it is definitely a topic that needs more attention.

So what is it really like for women, or

that Western women work more and

girls, to migrate? Can they be seen

nurseries are becoming more expensive.

as more vulnerable, because they are

Migrant workers perform “the three C’s

on their own, or is the fact that they’re

– cleaning, cooking, caring”, as Bridget

migration actually empowering women

Anderson, Professor of Mobilities,

all over the world?

Migration and Citizenship from the University of Bristol, calls it. As migrant

I recently learned that my grandmother

women are often cheap workers and

migrated from Hong Kong to Surinam

since they are mostly already doing care

in the early 1960’s, to marry my

work in their home countries, they are a

grandfather, whom she had never

perfect fit for the job.

met before. She was seventeen at that

I think it is enormously brave of women to migrate.

time, still a child herself. When I was

I think it is hard to understand or define

seventeen, I moved to Amsterdam, a

the impact that migration has on

two-hour train ride from my hometown.

women. On the one hand we can see

I cannot imagine a life where I would

the positive effects on these females.

have migrated to marry someone I

When women migrate – for example

had never seen or spoken to in my life,

for labour – they have their own

especially at such a young age. But my

incomes and can send their families

grandmother did, and fourteen years

money. Migrant women tend to send a

later she migrated again – this time with

larger portion of their salaries to their

her young family to the Netherlands – to

country of origin for everyday needs in

build up a new home.

support of household maintenance, in

Generally, women from underdeveloped

comparison to men.Therefore, states as

countries move to the West because

the Philippines or Sri Lanka market the

there is an increasing demand for

image of female migrants by praising

care-taking workers, due to the fact

them as “economic heroes’’, who not

140


only sacrifice themselves for their families, but also for

over their employees. This can cause in under- or non-

the nation. They provide easier access for legally required

payment, as well as denial of resting times or sick leave.

permits or papers. Women in the Philippines can even

Many female migrants work without a residence or work

follow a six-month course at the Philippine Women’s

permit, so the fear of deportation might hold them back to

University to get a housekeeper diploma.

oppose against their employers.

Another positive effect on migrating women is that they have more autonomy and perhaps a higher self-

Another problem that many – especially young – migrant

confidence, because they are now taking care of

women face is trafficking. The U.S. government estimates

themselves. Maybe they will even find love, or they’ll

that between 800,000 and 900,000 people become

grow that feeling of ‘home’. In the photo series The Other

victims each year. Human trafficking is particularly a

Mothers of Manhattan, photographer Michele Asselin

problem in Asia and in the former Soviet Union or Eastern

gives us a glimpse of the private world of – mostly foreign

Bloc countries, where prostitution is the main cause.

– nannies and the children they watch over. It’s a beautiful

Women may be more willing to respond to the traffickers’

series, because you can really see the love between the

offers because they are likely to have less education or

caretakers and the children. So I believe that these women

knowledge of formal legal systems than men.

– some who have migrated several years before – did find So can we state that migrant women are a vulnerable group? Yes, definitely. But the problem needs to be tackled On the other hand, there are also quite a few negative

at the core, starting with the improvement of the living and

effects of migration on females. A lot of women leave

working conditions of these women and their families in

behind their families and children, sometimes even their

their country of origin and by more education for young

babies, for an uncertain amount of years. The impact

girls.

that this type of loss has on a mother is unimaginable. And even from far away, mothers keep on caring, by

I think it is enormously brave of women to migrate. To

sending gifts and money. This is called “commodification

leave behind your home, your family and everything you

of motherhood” – care through money.But children still

know is one of the toughest things, and – I believe for

miss that physical and emotional bond and many times

those who are not in their shoes – hard to understand. I

they express disapproval and negative feelings towards

know my grandmother missed Hong Kong very often; she

their mothers, especially when they are taking care of other

went back almost every year. Last summer, my grandmother

kids. While women make huge sacrifices for their children,

made the last journey of her life, so unfortunately I can no

the trust in mother-child relations decreases and children

longer ask her about her personal experiences. Therefore,

frequently doubt their mothers’ choice of leaving. And very

this is a dedication to her, and to all the other amazing

often, migrating women also doubt themselves.

women migrating around the world.

But that’s not the only negative side of female migration. In some cases, care workers are isolated from the outside world to guarantee a twenty-four-hour availability for their employers. Due to the privacy of the houses they might

by Iman Chin

work in, especially in gated communities, a lot of times there is no government control. And by removing legal documents for example, employers will have total control 141

[non]sense

a home in their new country.


Tourist in my own thougts

by Carmen Liebrecht


by Carmen Liebrecht


Why I am who I am - an exploration Let me introduce myself: I’m Tim, 18 and about to make one of the most important decisions in my life - or not. I have never really been an ace in decision making, nor in school, nor in sports, actually in nothing really. But I don’t really mind, neither does my mother. ‘My lovely little Timmy, dreaming his life away’ she would say, I sometimes wish my dad would but I never met him, mum says he’s an asshole, only good for one night stands. When I was 10 I was diagnosed ADHD, just like most of my friends. That’s why I decided to do some research into my mental challenges a while back. What I found out was pretty freaky but it helped me understand and accept why I am who I am today. It helped me to see the wrongs in our society, which should not be ignored any longer. So here’s what I found out.

Mommies boy

the way things go in school. Now I read that a

You already figured that my mother raised me

father’s rough and tumble play is the foundation

by herself. Which means I’ve been taught to

for a sense of fairness, courage and the sense of

stay away from any rough and tumble play,

‘so far and no further’, whereas a mother’s play

like experts like to call it.My mother’s favourite

initiates a sense of empathy, understanding and

phrase probably was ‘Timmy, watch out!’ as well

equity.

as “Timmy, hurry, ‘Knitting Today’ is about to start on TV!”. I think the term ‘oedipal mother’ hits the nerve when I look back at the amount of

Too cool for school

playtime indoors, so she could constantly keep

I said in the beginning that I’m not good at

an eye on me. While missing out on a lot of scars

school, I didn’t mean I’m stupid even though

on my knees, I also missed out on learning how

some-times school made me feel like I was.

to deal with frustration, aggression and how to

However, what I mean is that I was never good at

and contain my energy.This could be one of the

partici-pating in the institution school. I’ve always

reasons why whenever I got to play with kids I

been good at maths, physics and science because

didn’t know my own or their limits. I remember

I’m incredibly interested in it, but I just can’t sit

when I was around 6 I was playing with one of

there and listen to a teacher going on about

my friends and we started to fight over a frisbee

Shake-speare’s love stories all day long. I wanted

toy. He grabbed me around my waist and just

to experiment, explore and find out how things

strangled me. Eventually, he let me go but I didn’t

work myself. Daily my teacher would say:

dare to tell the teacher as I thought this was

“Tim, can’t you just be still like the lovely front 146


row right here?” And with the lovely front row, she

was vehemently against it as the medication was

meant her three favourite girls who were, without

able to fix the troubles she used to have with

a break, quietly listening to and tidily noting down

my energetic temper, but Dr Hallowell insisted.

every word that left Mrs Bell’s mouth. My answer

However, he made me promise to find a way to

was usually ‘I’m trying’ which I genuinely was in

get balance in my life,“Many people find it in

the beginning until I realised anything I tried or

yoga nowadays” he said. Too lazy to look into

did was wrong in the eyes of Mrs Bell.

other options I decided to go to one class just to

Mrs Bell was the reason why my mother took me

tell Dr Hallowell I gave it a serious shot.

to Dr Hallowell, a psychiatrist, who diagnosed

It’s all about the balance

focused and help me control my energy. Mrs Bell

I didn’t really enjoy the yoga itself but there was

downright started to fall in love with the new me.

one sentence the yoga teacher said that struck

My behaviour seemed to be better, but inside I

me: “The active part of yoga is only a tool to

was falling apart.

release physical energy in order to be able

[non]sense

me with ADHD. He prescribed me Ritalin to stay

to sit still and entirely focus on the meditation

Who cares anyway?

afterwards”. It was almost like an epiphany.

Once on Ritalin, I did lose my fidgeting but slowly

This was a couple of months ago. It was the

but surely also my energy, motivation and any

start of my interest in why I am the way I am. I

spark of enjoyment I had inside of me. My grades

dis-covered my passion for martial arts and I can

were still lower than average and by the time I

proudly say that for now, I’ve found my balance.

was 16 I distanced myself from all my friends. To

I realised I was brought up in the common

be honest hanging out with them started to seem

misbelief that boyish behaviour needs to be

pointless. It felt like I’ve lost control over my life,

suppres-sed by all means. Looking back I’d say

not in a dramatic way but in a ‘nothing really

it’s because of nowadays’ over-glorification of

matters’ way. Quite nihilistic really. In our ‘career

soft valu-es, which is the result of the absence of

building classes’, we had to prepare a cover letter

fathers and men in educational jobs.

for our dream job in the future. My peers mapped out successful future and would write their letters

Remember the decision I needed to make? It

to Goldman Sachs, Gucci and Google. Mine

has actually been made already: My goal is

was addressed to Mr Shriner, the owner of the

to in-tegrate physical exercise with learning

groceries store next to where I lived.

into mainstream education - therefore I hereby

When I told Dr Hallowell about this incident, (I

apply for a trainee position at the Rock & Water

was seeing him once every two weeks) he rea-

program. There is one societal mould in which

lised that something wasn’t going as it should

we’re trying to fit everyone in-that’s what we have

and advised to stop the medicine. My mother

to get rid of. 147

by Nina Steinlechner


emotional and physical touch


Touch, probably the clearest sense of all since whatever you can touch must be there right? But touch reaches beyond just stroking something by hand, it can touch your emotion, your psyche. Talking about emotional and physical touch the first thing that pops into the mind is people. Maybe flowers, or animals. What would never pop up? Exactly, technology and robots. We do not connect technology to emotions, but why? Because they cannot feel emotions themselves? True, they are not yet capable of this. But it has all been created by us humans, humans with emotions. Complicated emotions that are often stereotyped and hidden. But this is over, it is time for you to show us your inner drama queen. It is time for you to let everything out. Throughout this chapter both the physical as the emotional touch of feminisation in current society will be discussed. The aspects of touch will differ from the feminised feeling you get while wearing a jeans to the emotional connection between a man and his sealion robot. So get ready to be touched (no not in a dirty way of course). And don’t forget; always keep your mind (and hands) open since things might feel different then you expect.

151

[non]sense

t o uc h


Dan Spiegelmann reinvents the meaning of confession by Isabel Dingle

How do you feel today? Is something weighing on your heart? Anything you’d like to share? A few of the questions Dan Spiegelmann asks us with his work. The Israeli born creative is one of many fresh-faced graduates tackling controversies around mental health. We explore how a feminised society gives us breathing room to feel, and his latest venture in social design.

Do you agree that society

3 days, will now take only 5

today has become

minutes. A lifetime of work can

feminised? And what does

be dwindled down to a mere

this mean to you?

month, meaning our labour

“I definitely think society has

has lost its value. Without this

become feminised, I can

purpose, we feel the need to

clearly place myself within

search for a deeper meaning

the trend. Without our shift in

in life and in turn a deeper

values the Mobile Confessional

connection with the people

couldn’t exist. Although,

around us.”

personally I feel to label this

A portable safe space for anyone to declare their deepest secrets was the vision for the Mobile Confessional. The seemingly simple construction of a booth on wheels married with a pen and sticky notes asks passersby to dig a little deeper. By placing the confession booth in various public settings, Spiegelmann actively strives to unite strangers through their woes and worries.

evolution of society something

What sparked your interest

that is ‘feminine’ rather

in human behaviour?

backwards and old fashioned.

“Living and growing up

To me it is clearly something

in Israel is where my most

that is intrinsically human, it is

personal interest in human

part of our fundamental nature

behaviour derived. Israel is

to strive for togetherness and

a society where the trauma

build connections with others.

of war is clearly embedded

By narrowing it down to a

and that can be felt by its

characterisation of gender just

people. It’s just a known fact.

feels strange.”

There is a tense energy that is very present in daily life.

152

Why do you think this shift

Much more than countries

has developed?

in Europe for example, you

“In simple terms, I believe the

get the sense that people are

ever increasing pace of our

very wound up. However,

lives is at the root of it. Life

it is undeniable that we are

has become so quick that we

expressing and communicating

mentally can’t acclimatise to

post-traumatic stress disorder

it. For example tasks in an

from wars such as Lebanon

international company 30

in a whole new way. This is

years ago, that would take

evidently a signal of what you


Israeli, hospitality designer

understood and less alone.

instance, during the 60s and

named Joar Vice, started

However the deeper I looked

70s when the country was

something called the ‘Dinner

I began to understand that

recovering from its biggest

Project’. The premise was

everything we share online

war, PSD hadn’t even been

he would knock on peoples’

is staged because it lacks

defined. Today more than

doors, equipped with food and

anonymity. It’s an inauthentic

77% of the fathers in Israel

cooking utensils and asked if

way of revealing ourselves. So

are post-traumatic but have

he could make them a meal.

I began investigating notions

never received any form

All he asked for in return was

like FOMO and all these new

of counselling or opened

their company.

behaviour disorders that solely

up about their struggles. In

belong to our generation.

dramatic comparison to the

These concepts are what

Leaving me with the question

soldiers of today who are

triggered my passion to create

how can we confess or share

very transparent about their

interventions within hospitality.

our feelings in a more genuine

experiences. I believe that

Communication fascinates

way?”

our generations connection

me, particularly when it’s

to social media has impacted

between strangers. I thought

The idea of ‘confession’ has

this massively. It has provided

to myself how can I intervene

strong theological roots and

us with a platform to express

in situations to boost the line

associations. Was that an

our feelings that essentially

connection and togetherness.”

influence?

never sleep and is constantly

“Of course. The action of a

accessible. Seeing these

How have you taken that

confession comes from religion

dramatic shifts and living

personal interest and

and it allows a believing

within them is what sparks

inspiration and translated it

person to take off all sins and

my fascination to human

into the design of the Mobile

quiet his conscious. Christians

behaviour.”

Confessional?

confess to a priest, a Jewish

“The journey of the Mobile

confession is between man

Where do you draw your

Confessional actually started

and god but it was Shintu

inspiration?

with tackling my own feelings

confession that stems from

“There was a particular

of depression. I shared a

a Japanese religion that

creative I was introduced to

sad song on Facebook and

struck me the most. A small

during my time at university

whenever somebody liked or

confession is written on a

that stuck with me. A fellow

responded for a moment I felt

wooden plank that is then 153

[non]sense

deem as ‘feminisation’. For


Our generation is completely

placed on a wall for the

a collection of confessions

spirits to move around and

build and seeing people chat

read. In reality, though, this

together surrounding it. Some

public display of a confession

participants also began to take

means anyone can read it

pictures of the confessions of

and connect with it. I found

others, particular secrets that

this notion so compelling

they themselves could relate

that I endeavoured to create

to. Even if they didn’t relate

something that flares the same

it flared a sense of empathy

feeling of release without the

from person to person. Another

theological connection. With

one interesting result that I

problems, we have to

humble intentions, I first just

didn’t expect was a domino-

understand how social,

started to experiment by just

like effect. For example, there

economic and cultural

taking a small box outside

were several people who left

situations impact this greatly.

everyday with an example

confessions about the Lebanon

The confessions in wealthy

confession and blank papers.

war and when people saw this,

neighbourhoods, for example,

As soon as a few people began

they continued and linked to

were all centred around the

to voluntarily respond a queue

the previous confession. Which

self ‘why doesn’t my boyfriend

of willing strangers all wanted

left an anonymous story, it

love me more’ as well as

to participate.”

was almost like people having

several cases surrounding

a conversation in Facebook

infidelity. In comparison to

chat.”

the responses I got when the

You’ve talked about

self-absorbed. A generation of fake interactions where we think that we are special and that our problems are unique.

how your aim was to

confessional was placed in

bring togetherness and

One of the most important

street markets, the post its

communication between

elements of the design

spoke more generally of the

strangers. In what ways did

was the mobility. What

struggles of daily life. What

you see this happen?

environments did you

struck me most is that living

“Initially, it sparked

choose to place the

a privileged life means you

conversation between strangers

confessional in and why?

have the time and the luxury to

because they were simply

“Although mental health and

acknowledge depression, it’s a

intrigued by what observing

depression are universal

rich kids problem. Whereas the 154


open up and have an authentic

are more worried about where

connection with others you

the next pay cheque is coming

realise or see that your sorrow

in. The responses varied

is shared, everybody is sad

dramatically and that was the

and everybody has the same

whole premise of the concept.

problems. Most importantly

To understand how people

that it’s ok to be sad. We all

in various socio-cultural and

have the same makeup and

socio-economic environments

DNA, the sooner we realise

express their emotions and

that the better. A problem of

mental health differently.”

many is a comfort to one.”

How do you think becoming

Finally, to what extent can

a more feminised society

the Mobile Confessional

(opening up about our

help to solve mental health?

emotions) can help us?

“I see the design as more of a

“Our generation is completely

momentary release. It was all

self-absorbed. A generation

about creating a glimmer of

of fake interactions where

hope, a brief moment during

we think that we are special

the day to let off steam. A

and that our problems are

communal space to bring

unique. You go on Instagram

strangers together. Everybody

and you see everyone’s life

walks around with something

through rose-tinted glasses

on their heart and sharing it

and everything is happy which

may not solve the problem but

is a complete fake perception.

it can ease the pain even if

That’s why I believe our

only for a little while. I believe

generation is so depressed

if we implement more of these

and reliant on psychiatric

daily releases it could prevent

medication. We are constantly

such a huge build-up of pent

comparing and affected by the

up emotion.”

[non]sense

less economically advantaged

lives of others. But when we 155


F/M A story on masculinity Do you know what it’s like Not to be what everyone wants you to be Wearing a mask leaves its marks But people don’t come close enough to really see The story is not in the words It’s in the struggle In the end you have to be your own hero

photoseries by Carlijn Stadit


Why the jeans are the ultimate icon of feminization, and why we should thank Calvin for that by Marcelle Hoekstra

If we had to choose a piece of clothing that represents ‘feminization’, the popular answer surely would be: the jeans. At first sight, it makes perfectly sense: in the 1930’s, a time in which denim was the domain of working-class men, the mere act of putting on a pair of jeans as an upper-crust lady was madly rebellious. From that time on, jeans became associated with feminism, women’s rights, and lesbian identity. Fast forward to today, many women have altered the working-class fabric to the heights of fashion. One provocative thought: It was all thanks to Calvin. No, not Calvin Klein. John Calvin.

Let’s take a far leap back. In the course of

pre-determined path alone in order to meet his

the sixteenth century, the teachings of French

destiny.

theologian John Calvin found fertile soil in mainly France, Germany, Scotland, The Netherlands

While the popular narrative suggests that

and Great Britain. Calvinism developed as

Calvinism slowed down female advancement

the religion of sobriety, moderation, honesty,

within society – pointing to the ‘systematically

tolerance, and a strong work ethic. Living up to

hunting of witches wherever Calvinism flourished’

an egalitarian spirit, Calvin expressed a disdain

– it is much more interesting to see it from an

for hierarchy by rejecting the pope’s authority.

other perspective. Calvin was a quite progressive

Instead, he organized the church from the bottom

figure in his time, as he followed the Renaissance

up and acknowledged the need for individual

approach to gender, arguing for the equality

interpretation of the Bible. But Calvin’s biggest

of male and female human beings. Taking

contribution to the Protestant Reformation, as

actions adaptive to this gender approach, Calvin

stated by German sociologist Max Weber (1930),

contributed to a spiritual reformation for women.

was ‘the complete elimination of salvation through the Church and the sacraments’. Driven

Now the link that makes things interesting; The

by rationality, a true Calvinist has to follow his

history of the jeans can be traced back to the 162


sixteenth century – the same place, the same

returns in the areas of sustainability, ethical

time Calvinism started gaining ground. It’s when

fashion and denim innovation.

the French town of Nimes, invented denim: the

Blue jeans breath Calvinism. Carrying the status

sturdy fabric modern jeans are made of. Having

of a casual everyday item, they’re classless,

its roots in Protestantism, denim served a strong

practical, durable and valued for their democratic

work ethic: it was made to perform and made to

character and power to adapt to the individual.

last. Given the religious context in which jeans

On top of that, jeans are able to move away

were born, John Calvin’s star appearance in the

from gendered notions of the body (boys wear

maturing of the jeans may sound a little less crazy

skinnies, girls wear boyfriends) – reflecting

by now.

Calvinistic tendencies towards egalitarianism and his aversion towards overt display (in this case

In his book Pop Théologie: Protestantisme et

the overt display of femininity or masculinity).

Postmodernité (2015), French philosopher Mark

Although the jeans will always be connected

Alizart connects Protestantism to the birth of

to the outward, aesthetical appearance of the

fashion. It seems weird at first glance, as there

body, in the end, they will always be centered

has always been one thing that Calvin really

around those inward, symbolic values rooted in

hated – frivolity. But what Alizart aimed for was

Calvinism.

the concept of the Protestant spiritual journey of building. Simply put, to ‘work’ was a spiritual

After hijacking the jeans and turning it into a

journey of building one’s life and ultimately

feminist icon, women in the fashion industry now

one’s self. This is what Alizart believes gave rise

have started reworking and optimizing denim,

to fashion. The same principle can be applied to

introducing us to refreshing approaches on the

denim, as the fabric provides endless innovations

fabric. Parisian designer Faustine Steinmetz,

and possibilities to make it your own style.

famed for her trompe l’oeil felted denim pieces,

Another concept Alizart connects to the society

always searches for materials that do as little

of ‘building’ is that of durability, which nowadays

environmental harm as possible. Dutch designer 163

[non]sense

The Andrés, a prominent Protestant family from


Sophie Hardeman creates genderless jeans and

competition that pairs emerging designers with

praises individuality by casting non-models and

progressive denim mills from all over the world

twisting conventional denim designs. Christelle

to foster denim innovation and emphasize the

Kocher, the driving force behind her label Kocher,

importance of a transparent chain.

has a democratic take on fashion and uses denim to blur the lines between street and couture.

Calvinist beliefs are not longer exclusively tied to religion; it has moved way beyond it, manifesting

However, not only are women shaking up

itself deeply in areas such as politics, culture,

things in the world of jeans in terms of design;

ethics and notions of the self; disrupting concepts

they are increasingly getting involved in the

of hierarchy, prestigious leadership, feelings of

male-dominated world of denim production as

superiority, rigid gender roles; making room

well. For example, Mariette Hoitink, who is the

for tendencies towards horizontal thinking,

driving force behind various denim initiatives in

egalitarianism and independent thinking. Leaving

Amsterdam – a city that takes the denim game

you with one last thought: if the blue jeans are the

very seriously. With a mission to work towards

embodiment of feminization, then feminization

a cleaner and dryer denim future, she got the

must be a resurrection from Calvinism.

world’s first Jean School off the ground: a 3-year course focused on craftsmanship and sustainability that trains students to become responsible denim developers. Hoitink is also the brains behind Global Denim Awards: a 164


165

[non]sense


Girls night out In the heat of the night my friends were ready to explore their female side. While they got more open, they also got more vulnerable, and - with that – more feminine?

by Iman Chin


Mothers are the society

Nora and Darifa are good examples of Islamic women who found their place in Dutch society. From their own experiences they felt the need to start a voluntary organisation Samen Sterk Vrouwen West. What drives Nora and Darifa to help other women?

You are both from Morocco,

Here, everything was quiet and

how would you describe the

the houses were very small.

experience of moving to The

After five years I was able to

Netherlands?

say some basic words as yes,

Darifa: “It was terrible. I was

no and good afternoon. I

twenty-three years old when I

could understand things a little

came to the Netherlands and

bit, but communicating was still

married my husband. It was

difficult.”

a strange country, strange language and I had no family

Nora, why did you learn the

here. I cried for a whole year,

language after five years?

because I was homesick, it was

“I was pregnant and I had to

a very difficult period. When

take care of the children. I was

I went to school to learn the

just a housewife; my world was

Dutch language, life became

small.”

easier for me. Because of that

by Neal Jordan

170

I could make contact with

Why did you go out of the

people, even though I was just

house so little when you just

saying good afternoon. Due

lived here?

to this, I could communicate

Darifa: “For the same reason;

with other people besides my

if you get married you’re

husband, my world became

supposed to make a family and

bigger.”

take care of the children.”

Nora: “It was a big adventure

What dreams did you

for me to move from Morocco

have before moving to the

to the Netherlands. When I

Netherlands?

came here, everything was

Darifa: “I wanted to finish

different. The people in

my studies and become a

Morocco are more sociable,

stewardess, but love came

everyone has a great chatter

first and brought me to this

and it’s more vibrant there.

cold country. I was nothing.


and never met a foreigner

Nora: “We do it consciously,

mainly because I’m wearing a

before.”

yes. We don’t want to stick

headscarf.”

Nora: “We definitely can laugh

with a group of women with

about it now, but the prejudice

the same background. We

Nora: “I was good in the beta

isn’t becoming less. The media

occasionally helping men too,

subjects at school, I was just

plays a big role in the making

we are open to help everyone.”

studying but had no specific

of an image about people

dreams for after my studies, I

with a migration background.

You founded this

was very young at that time.”

Because of that, we don’t

organisation based on your

have a good reputation at the

own experiences, can you

moment.”

tell me more about it?

You just told me that people treated you different

Nora: “It came from the

because you wear a

In the Netherlands we

loneliness, desolation,

headscarf. Can you give an

definitely have a distorted

homesickness of family, not

example?

view of people with an

speaking the language and

Darifa: “When I just lived in

Islamic background, and

a lack of information about

the Netherlands, my husband

because of that various

our rights in this society. No

and I went to the employment

cultures don’t mix. How is

one came to help us, we

office to register myself. I had

that here at the center?

had to figure it all out by

to fill in a form and the desk-

Nora: “People from various

ourselves. What we’re doing

clerk asked my husband if I

nationalities come here.

now is approaching women

could write, while I also could

There’s also a Dutch woman

by ourselves and tell them

fill it in in French for example.

now, you didn’t see her, eh?

about what we’re doing at

Then my husband said that I

It’s very international here.

our activities. We have twenty

was following classes to learn

Occasionally men, youngsters

volunteers who help us with

Dutch.”

and girls come here. Actually

the walk-in-hours, courses,

it’s just a home, for many

counselling and administration.

Do you still have to deal with

people that come here it’s their

It’s just enough that thewomen

prejudice?

second living room.

in the neighbourhood know

Darifa: “Yes, but we handle it

that our organisation exists.

with humour now and we try

Darifa: “Everyone is welcome

They can decide for themselves

to place ourselves in someone

here.”

if they want to use our

else’s shoes. Maybe someone’s

Are you consciously

coming from the countryside

tempting other nationalities?

services.”

171

[non]sense

People think I am analphabetic


How did your family and

other people, but also the idea

school and we always do nice

relation of trust with them,

friends react to the fact that

of voluntary work was odd

things together such as baking

when they do something

you were setting up this

back then. Now however, it’s

cakes. The children help us

wrong, we can correct them.

organisation?

completely normal.”

here at the center sometimes,

That’s less odd than if a

my daughter of thirteen sees

stranger tries to do that.

Darifa: “The children are very proud, especially when

How do you combine the

me as her example, her dream

we were mentioned in the

- more than full time - jobs

is to become a volunteer too.

newspapers, Het Parool in

you have with quality time

2014. After that, we were also

with your family?

Do you receive many questions of women from

Nora: “My daughter helps

other neighbourhoods

nominated for Amsterdammer

Nora: “My children are already

here quite often. It’s good for

who also want to set up a

van het Jaar. Other women

full-grown. My husband is

her resume and she gets work

voluntary organisation like

thought we were crazy, they

doing well, he’s so proud of

experience here. In the future

this?

didn’t get that we work so hard

me, he drops by every now and

we want to attract more young

Nora: “Big establishments and

as volunteers. Most people said

then.”

adults to the center.”

organisations as ABC Alliantie

we should get a payed job,

visit us. They want to know how

from working you might receive

Darifa: “It’s easy to combine,

How are you going to reach

we reach the women who are

money, but from voluntary work

but I have to be sure that I plan

the youth?

isolated.”

we receive love.”

everything in a good order.

Darifa: “We’re going to set

My eldest child is twenty-

up a girls club or a boys club.

Darifa: “Because this group

Nora: “Of course it was

three years old, the second is

There’s just one disadvantage;

doesn’t come out of the house

difficult for our family, our

seventeen, one of twelve and

we don’t have enough space.

too often, they are isolated.

families didn’t accept it in the

two of eleven, so that’s a big

We know many youngsters

But we have other inputs, for

first place that we were giving

family. But I try to be at home

from when they were little.

example, we are invited for

so much attention to help

when they come home from

Nora and I try to build a

coffee at people’s homes or go

172


to weddings often. On those

like a queen in our religion, the

get stronger, more conscious

occasions we meet a lot of new

husband has to take care of his

and tell them what their

people.”

wife. When a woman has a job

rights and duties are in Dutch

the money she earns is hers,

society.”

it’s not fifty-fifty.”

for you?

Nora: “We used to say ‘the

Darifa: “Religion plays a big

Darifa: “Girls were buried

mother is the half of the

part in our lives. We act from

alive before the Islam was

society’, but if you look closer,

our religion, because the Islam

originated. The oppression of

you’ll realise that actually she

is peace and love, and we try

women is a matter of culture

is the whole society. We always

to make that happen here.

not a matter of religion, men

say ‘the mother is a school, if

Above all it’s about helping

who oppress women usually

you prepare her well she will

your fellow human being

don’t know much about

get well raised children that

regardless who it is.”

religion.”

form a good society.’ So if we

Nora: “We don’t expect

can educate the mother all

anything back, we do this pure

What do you think about

the important stuff for example

for god. Eventually we get back

women rights in general?

education about health,

a lot for doing this.”

Darifa: “It’s still not very

school, and how to deal with

good. I was interviewed by

governmental institutions, than

Many people in the

a journalist who lived at the

we’ve indirectly helped their

Netherlands don’t really

Javastraat for a year. Women

children too. The mother is

know what the Islam

rights in The Netherlands are

very important at home, she

is about and assume

still not well utilised, since men

is the mirror of her family and

that women are getting

still earn more than women

eventually also that of society.”

suppressed in the Islamic

while they have the same

community, is that true?

occupation. Are we talking

Nora: “No, it has nothing to

about women rights? No. Is the

do with religion, it’s tradition

woman doing less? No.”

and culture, religion and culture are very different.

What’s your biggest driving

There’s a chapter in the Quran

force to bring women from

devoted to women which says

the neighbourhood here?

the female has to be treated

Darifa: “We want women to 173

[non]sense

How Important is religion


My BFF Robot The paradox of technology on loneliness. Can social care robots help young people to feel less lonely? It is well known that people aged 75 and above experience a lot of loneliness, but it is becoming more prevalent among young people in their late twenties as well. How is this possible? Is it because of recent developments that we need people less and less? Getting a child without a partner, sex through virtual reality, communicating via social media... it’s all possible. Great works of technology have stimulated individualisation, which could be a reason why feelings of loneliness increase. That same technology that causes loneliness also connects people to look for a solution. This in turn causes an increasingly feminized society. This is an interesting fact. In this article we will research the paradox of technology on loneliness. First of all, we’ll start with how loneliness can come about.

Changes

which a lot of changes happen. In general, two

The amount of young people that are going

groups are created in this period. One group

to psychologist due to loneliness is increasing.

finds it easy to adapt and the other group has

Young people are embarrassed of their loneliness,

trouble adjusting to working life. Some people

which is why they prefer talking to a psychologist

may focus on growing a

about this issue rather than talking to a friend.

family, whereas others might be more interested

That is where the problem lies, the absence of

in pursuing a successful career. Tensions may

deep friendships causes a social loneliness or an

build up because of mentality differences between

emotional loneliness.

these groups. This may cause friends to get out of touch.

Where does this come from? Results of a report by Leen Heylen show that changes and choices

This has been around for a long time. The

have a big influence.

part that is new about this is that now a days

The period in which students finish university and

technology can amplify feelings of loneliness of

start looking for a job is a transitional period in

people. Social media make us aware of what 174


Psychologist Susan Pinker has done research

may cause lonely people to worry more.

about the secret of becoming older in a healthy

[non]sense

other people do in their day to day life, which

and happy way. Research shows that the people Seeing perfect Instagram photos of others can

on Sardinia have the highest average age of

have a negative effect on people. People are

around 100(!) years. Aging happily involves two

prone to believe that others have a better life

factors. One is close relationships with people

than they do, even though this may not be the

who are there for you. On average, people

case. The grass is always greener on the other

need about 2 or 3 others who they can count

side. People who are prone to loneliness are

on. The most important factor for a happy life is

more drawn to social media. When someone

social interaction; the amount of time spent with

spends more time on social media, they will

people on average. This includes both strong and

encounter less people face to face. This causes

weak friendships. We can all contribute to these

a paradoxical downward spiral, because many

social interactions by simply greeting the coffee

young people see social media as an instrument

lady, waving at your neighbours or smiling to

to fight loneliness.

passersby.

Feeling of connection We all want to belong to a group. When someone is bullied, is poor or a political refugee they might have trouble having a connection

People are prone to believe that others have a better life.

to peers. There are projects that help young people who want friends of their age meet peers. Volunteers take these youngsters for walks, sports

by Carmen Liebrecht

activities or a normal cup of coffee. 175


Technology as a solution

completely accept the robot because of the stiff

The feeling of connection apparently is a primary

movements and the robotic voice. On the flip

need among people to prevent feelings of

side, a robot that looks like a seal, for example, is

loneliness. Technology can amplify loneliness, but

very much accepted by humans.

it may also take away feelings of loneliness. According to psychologist Sarina Kers, this is Technology is an important factor in the

a great development of technology: ‘Research

increasingly feminized society because it also

has shown that robot seal Paro is very effective

connects people. An example are the social care

among people with dementia, Alzheimer and

robots.

people with a handicap. The interaction is of a high quality. When Paro is touched he makes a

Social care robots are frequently used to fight

squealing noise which causes humans to become

loneliness. Seal Paro is an example of this. Paro

emotionally attached to the seal.’

calms people down and provides interaction. He responds to tactility, temperature, light,

Paro is featured in the Netflix original series

movements and voice sounds. This way he tries to

‘Master of None’ with the grandfather of the

elicit a response. A lot of what we see, we see as

character Wareheim. Wareheims grandfather

social interaction. A human brain can make eyes

is a war veteran and he got Paro to help him

of something as simple as two dots. However, we

as a type of therapy. At one point in the story,

are frightened when we see a robot that looks

Wareheim and his grandfather are watching a

very much like a human. Our brains cannot

film. Wareheim suggest his grandfather to buy 176


a Blu-ray player because there is a lot of white

of a Furby are that they do not have to be walked,

noise on the television. Grandfather does not

cleaned or fed. A Furby can be a listening ear.

trust the technology of a Blu-ray player, but

During times of loneliness you like reminisce

he does like the therapeutic seal Paro. When

about when everything was better, for example the

the grandfather passes, Wareheim gets Paro.

time spent on primary school, when everything

Eventually Wareheim and the seal build up a

was safe and innocent. You might have spent

relationship just as strong as the grandfather had

hours talking to your Furby about the one cute

with Paro.

boy in class, but he was also there for you when your parents were fighting. My BFF Robot.

Furby 2.0 In conclusion, Paro helps fighting loneliness among elderly. I anticipate a Furby 2.0 that is mainly focused on young people. Social interaction between young people and the Furby will make for a strong bond like the one that is

[non]sense

seen between pets and their owners. Advantages

177


Artificial Affection my eyes overflow with tears which couldn’t come before because of the lack of feelings – missed feelings. my hand touches you in vain. I feel lost, rather alone. but I’m still human even without affection.


my shoulder belongs to you now, I refuse to go away.

by Sara Blanken


The anthropomorphism of robots Emotional technology - From factories to our bedrooms?

Dr. Khiet P. Truong is a member of the Human Media Interaction program of the University of Twente, where she researches socially intelligent and affective technology. We met her at her lab to shed some light on the evolution of emotional robots.

by Lea Franziska Simon

social machines. We are using Ever since Fritz Lang introduced

human interactions as a start.

to have a robot behave more

the idea of humanized

It’s what we have for now.

social. Yet, for some of the

technology in his movie

From that we can formulate

tasks robots do not have to

Metropolis in 1927, we are

hypothesis about how

behave social. If I have a

exploring relationships between

interaction would be between

vacuum cleaner robot it just

humans and machines. Now,

the human and a robot.”

has to do its job. There is no

90 years later, the first man got

social interaction needed. But if

married to his robotic wife.

What exactly are you

Are we going to being

looking at within this field?

replaced by our technological

“I am especially interested in

innovations?

the question of how we can

you think of a coaching system,

We want the robot to

recognize emotions. One of

You are currently studying

the applications resulting from

emotional and social

this question would be a social

interactions between humans

robot.”

understand what the human is feeling, so it can adapt its

and between humans and machines. Could you

In history robots were built

explain this a bit more?

to take over solely functional

“The idea is to look at how

tasks. Why do we suddenly

humans interact with each

need social robots?

other in order to build more

behavior to the human’s emotions.

“There are several advantages 182


for example a robot that

anger, joy, boredom, disgust,

Having a robot interact

should coach you to exercise

surprise and sadness. So, if

in this way with humans,

more, then it is understandable

the conditions are good then

implies that it has a certain

that if I am moody the robot

the accuracy is okay. In our

character.

has to say something else than

research, we ask the person

if I am in a good mood. In that

to act and exaggerate their

sense, we want the robot to

emotions a little bit. But that is

understand what the human

not how the real-world works,

is feeling, so it can adapt

there is still a big gap between

its behavior to the human’s

emotions in the wild and these

emotions. So, empathy is a big

acted emotions.”

“Yes, exactly. That is the idea.”

There is still a big gap between

acted emotions.

word.”

What does the robot

“Those characters are all

How does the robot know

do when he recognizes

designed and programmed

which emotion we are

emotions?

by humans. Which values

feeling?

“It depends on the goal of

are the most important to

“The robot can use different

your application. We have this

equip a robot with?”

sensors, a microphone, camera

Frog Robot for example and

“That is really hard to say. It

and nowadays you have

it serves as a sort of museum

depends on what the goal of

wearables which can measure

guide. It can stop at certain

the robot is. In our empathetic

your heart rate or skin response

artefacts and can tell stories

lighting system for example we

like the amount of sweating. All

about the piece of art. Through

had a discussion about what

those streams of information

a camera it can look at the

exactly this lighting system

can give an indication about

faces of people to see if they

should do if it detects that

how this user is feeling.”

are still interested or not. If the

someone is in a bad mood.

robot senses, that the person is

Is it the goal of the system to

How exact do robots

still happy, then the robot can

keep people in a happy mood?

interpret human emotions?

continue telling more about the

If you are always in a happy

“That is a big challenge.

art piece. But if the audience

mood, is that good or not?

Nowadays all the algorithms

looks bored, then the robot

Maybe the right strategy is not

that we have are pretty good

can say: ‘Ok, that’s it, let’s

to cheer this person up but

in recognizing basic emotions.

move on to the next piece of

rather to talk him through or

The six basic ones are:

art.’”

ask him what happened.” 183

[non]sense

emotions in the real world and


Frog Robot A Fun Robotic Outdoor Guide, who provides you with knowledge while respecting your interests.

Kirobo A communication partner who helps people to fight loneliness

Could those interactions lead

I am pretty sure that this robot

deep in the technology. I see

by talking, gesturing and

to emotional relationships

doesn’t have any emotions. It is

what all goes wrong with the

responding to emotions.

or even friendships between

just a thing.”

technology. So, for me it’s very

human and machines?

hard.”

Empathetic Ligthing system

“So, what happens if I take

You are saying, that this

your phone for example? You

certain robot doesn’t have

Following the ideas of some

the mood of its user and

would have problems with that,

emotions. Are there robots

visionary movie directors

adapts according to the user’s

probably. It has become more

that do have feelings?

we will all be replaced by

current emotional state.

A lighting system, which detects

or less your own. In that sense,

“At this moment not really, not

robots in the future. Do you

the user can get attached and

yet. We’re still at this level that

see this scenario becoming

feel a certain emotional bond

we’re actually faking it. We’re

reality?

to a robot but I would say it is

faking that those robots have

“This is not the intention of

still not on the same level as a

emotions. They are able to

our research. We want to

friend. I would say it is more on

show and recognize emotions,

develop a robot that can

a level of a pet but maybe even

but they don’t really feel them.”

help the humans but not fully

below a pet.”

In Japan you can buy a

replace them. Of course, there

Recently, a Japanese man

are some jobs which can be

married a robot.

replaced, but those are the

robot, Kirobo, which is

“Oh my god…”(shaking her

dull, dangerous and dirty jobs.

supposed to help you fight

head).

But for the more human-like

loneliness. How do people

interactions that you need for

interact with this robot

What is your personal view

example in healthcare, it is

emotionally?

on relations between robots

really hard to say if a robot can

and humans in the future?

replace the human. In the end,

combination with elderly

“Can you imagine marrying

the robot can only provide part

people. You see indeed,

a robot? I can’t. I think there

of the human job.”

that elderly people are really

is a lot more to a relationship

enjoying the company of such

than a robot can give – a

A robot. Whether they’re

relationship is about someone

building up an emotional

who can feel and share your

bond with it, I don’t know. But

emotions. But maybe I am too

“I’ve seen this robot in

184


Melancholia “There’s a special quality to the loneliness of dusk, a melancholy more brooding even than the night’s.” Ed Gorman, Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool

by Kertu Serikov


Emotional Technology to the rescue Emotional experiences are rich and complex, as I am writing this article I can feel several emotions boil up, especially when I think of the following everyday phrases; Women say “Man up” or “Grow a pair” whereas men would say “Don’t

Reconstructing the gender norms

be such a girl!” Phrases like these shape

So lets talk a bit about the villain called ‘gender norms’. The socially

our understanding of society which is in

acceptable ways of acting out our gender is something we learn

my opinion not very desirable. To make

from our first day on earth. We learned what is expected from

a quick conclusion of the stereotypical

us and how we should behave. Let’s take men as an example;

emotional differences between men and

men are not allowed to express any emotion other then manly

women: Men are more “aggressive and

aggressiveness. When a man would shed a tear this would effect

unemotional,” whereas women are seen

his manhood. I am not writing this article to snap at the past, these

as more “crazy and emotional.” People

norms might have worked a few centuries ago and men still don’t

tend to think that women’s emotional

die of deficiency of emotional self-regulation. For centuries men

behaviour derive from their emotional

have defined themselves as the one who brings home the bacon: it

nature whereas men’s emotional

is the main source of their identity. But lately we see a shift in society

behaviour is often linked to external

and women don’t need men to fulfil their traditional role anymore.

circumstances. Well, I call bullshit on

So we could say that gender norms are socially constructed yet

that! I think this is a very interesting

the construction is out of date. When we look at the mental wealth

phenomenon since studies repeatedly

situation among men, we can see we have reached a critical point

show that there is no such thing as a male

within depression. This is very problematic because most men are

of female brain. There is much more

still hooked on proving their masculinity and therefore less likely to

overlap than difference between genders

seek help. This matter is prove on why the world needs feminisation.

in nearly all brain measures.

Men are not really yearning for this change. Maybe because of the word ‘feminine’ processed in the word. No, with feminisation we

by Amber van Winssen

don’t mean that each guy is about to walk around in pink dresses and glittery beards. The change is most likely to be seen on a conscious level. When the world would feminise, men would gain emotional benefits and become happier.

Artificial Emotional Intelligence So how would we even start to overcome the burden of the socially constructed gender norms? It is clear to me that there is a need for

190


to evolve towards the best

utopia whereas for others it is

which direction the change

version of ourselves and to

more like a dystopia, where

will evolve and if it will leave

guide us to the path where

technology would rob us

the world a better place.

our true potential lies. But in

from our human conditions.

Throughout my research I

my opinion AEI is particularly

Seen from my perspective,

stumbled upon an interesting

promising when it comes to

I remain hopeful. I believe

invention which (with a bit of

mediate in communication.

that when people would keep

imagination) could open a lot

We as people are very poor

in mind that both men and

of doors for mankind. Anno

communicators and AEI could

women share the same diverse

2017 we live in a world were

be of great help to explain our

emotions, gender roles could

anything is possible. Phone’s

thoughts to others. AEI will

become way more flexible

get smarter, planes get faster.

help to counteract upon our

than we ever thought. And if

But when we think of the future

natural weakness to interpret

technology would lend us a

the emphasis usually falls

others. When AEI is upon

hand within this field, I would

on performance of rational

us I could envision a world

not mind.

executive tasks. But we could

were thoughts and emotion

also imagine ourselves a far

become more transparent,

more mind-blowing scenario.

since knowing what the other

Hold your horses people,

persons feels is just one ‘scan’

because it’s time to imagine

away. I believe that emotional

a world where AEI short for

technology could help to

Artificial Emotional Intelligence

end emotional stereotypes by

will be used to enhance the

helping to accept and respect

things we most value: empathy,

the emotional states of every

creativity, kindness and

person, regardless the gender.

[non]sense

change. I am wondering in

generosity. AEI is a promising invention because it is mainly

Gender should be

the flaws in our emotional

celebrated

outbursts which are ruining

Don’t get me wrong here,

existence and this is exactly the

I think gender is great and

part of life where AEI comes

everything that comes along

to the rescue. AEI is promising

with it should be celebrated.

in several area’s, for example

I just believe that there is no

within education. Education

need to put ourselves in boxes

nowadays is still not at its

and see everything so black

best because people are not

and white. Right now we notice

always good at understanding

a shift within society and I am

what other individuals are

curious where this shift will

capable of; where their talents

lead us. For some a world

lie and how to externalise

with so much technological

these talents. AEI will help us

advantages sounds like an 191


Resolving mental health one conceptual design at a time

Our increasing self-awareness, acceptance of feeling deeply and eager desire for connection are all key indicators of our feminised society. From countless Hollywood stars emerging from the shadows revealing their battle with depression to Netflix series such as 13 Reasons Why explicitly showcasing graphic depictions of suicide to teens worldwide. While the state of our mental health seems to be the hot topic of conversation in 2017, the solution seems further than ever. But when taking a closer look to what’s happening in conceptual design the days ahead seem a little brighter.

Although we may be getting in

medicines and medication,

touch with our emotions, the

offering innovative solutions

feminisation of generic health

to the complicated issue of

care seems yet to emerge. In

our minds. Albeit a feminised

2006, it was recorded that less

take on therapy. By homing in

than 50 percent of people with

on the thesis of 3 students in

a diagnosable mental health

social design, we can compare

problem didn’t even reach their

the various ways design could

primary care doctor. What’s

reinvent the way we tackle

worse, treatment is essentially

feelings, trauma and fighting

unchanged since those early

loneliness.

discoveries. With there being

by Isabel Dingle

only two options; prescription

From shooting stored tears

meds designed to mask the

at former foes to inhaling

problem or psychotherapy

heavenly scents for a

that’s only available for the

momentary place of peace,

privileged among us who can

the days of lying deadpan in a

afford it.

shrink’s chair seems comically old-hat. All 3 graduates take

192

In light of this massive gap

a step back from this passive

between need and solution, a

perspective and aspire to

multitude of responses have

activate the way we tackle

emerged in the creative sector.

the issue. Comparing their

These services go beyond

personal approaches, it’s clear

the concepts of alternative

to see that they present the


future vision of therapy. The

where questioning authority

centre stage undoubtedly has

question, however; how likely is

figures is deemed incredibly

its advantages.

this vision to become a reality?

rude but highly encouraged

Are they merely conceptual

in her new classroom, left

ideas or practical tools that will

her overwhelmed after

Perceiving our mental health

transform the way we address

unprecedented criticism from

as a multifaceted issue, Rui

this sensitive subject?

her tutor. Her response a Tear

Sun devises multiple solutions

Gun that allowed her to shoot

to combat the complexities

her collected tears at her coach

of our minds. The emotional

as a form of mental release.

toolkit was designed with 5

Taking the most radically physical approach to releasing

ideas in mind meditation,

pent-up feeling, Yi-Fei Chen,

Although the apparatus may

calming scents, a stress

a graduate from Eindhoven

draw familiar memories to the

buster, a confidence booster

Design Academy, takes aim

teenage days of throwing a

and an aide to create new

with a Tear Gun. Packed with

dart at a picture of an enemy in

perspectives. For example,

emotional bullets, the device

the confines of your bedroom.

should the user get involved

was invented to deal with her

In this scenario, a dialogue

in an argument, the Green

inability to speak her mind in

is created between the user

Meditating Stethoscope

her new class environment.

and receiver or potentially

helps the patient tune into

Separating her design from the

the victim and the offender. It

their breath and meditate.

other examples, Chen drew on

can be seen as a method of

In comparison to the Yellow

her personal struggles as an

healing and has the possibility

Confidence Booster, a super-

exchange student from Taiwan

to be used in treating trauma

light padded jacket that

studying in the Netherlands.

patients or healing broken

helps people who “lack the

The cultural differences in

relationships. Even though,

confidence to solve dilemmas

classroom etiquette at her

the practicality of patients

or address a situation�.

new university resulted in a

collecting their tears seems

In addition to the Purple

backlash of restrained distress.

a little fanciful the nature of

Breathing Mask that emits

Growing up in an environment

having physical actions take

calming scents when the user 193

[non]sense

Shootable tears

A tackling toolkit


inhales, allowing them to think

in comparison to inhaling

seemingly simple construction

clearly in intense situations.

therapeutic aromas to calm

of a booth on wheels married

you down?

with a pen and sticky notes

Sun’s inventions are potentially

asks passers-by to dig a little

the most commercial out of the

Controversial confession

deeper. By encouraging us to

3. The 5 products could easily

Similar to Tei Chein, Dan

be vulnerable in such a public

fulfil several needs within future

Spiegelmann’s interest in

setting, Spiegelmann actively

therapy sessions due to their

human behaviour and emotion

alters the passive, restrictive

practicality. Hypothetically, if

derives from experiences

nature in which we’ve been

developed and branded right,

within his culture. As an

taught to cope with our inner

these tools could even be

Israeli graduate from the

most thoughts.

sold in our local pharmacies

Bezalel Academy of Arts

like Etos as a method to get

and Design he looks to the

However, when comparing

you through the day. After

trauma he feels in his everyday

his approach his thesis acts

all, why does the medical

surroundings. In response to

more as a momentary release

industry tar mental health with

this, he conjured up the Mobile

rather than a long term aid.

a brush of taboo? What’s the

Confessional, a portable safe

The act of sharing your secrets

difference between needing

space for anyone to declare

with strangers provides the

a Paracetamol for a migraine

their deepest secrets. The

confessor a sense of comfort 194


lovely as that would be. It’s a

not unique to them. “When we

complex issue that demands

open up and have an authentic

several services. Nevertheless,

connection with others you

the diversity of these tools

realise or see that your sorrow

pin point key areas that

is shared, everybody is sad

need dire attention from our

and everybody has the same

health care providers. The

problems. Most importantly

first implementing an active

that it’s ok to be sad. We all

dialogue to therapy, talking

have the same makeup and

is just not enough anymore.

DNA, the sooner we realise

Secondly, small stress relievers

that the better. A problem of

that are easily accessible

many is a comfort to one.” says

without the need of a bank

Spiegelmann.

breaking therapist. Finally, daily

Injecting creativity into a

aids and reminders to connect

field that has lost its sense of

and share with the people.

innovation is exactly what it

around us. A sorrow shared is

screams out for. With each

a sorrow halved. Even though

of the designers taking vastly

these projects are maybe still

different approaches it is

in a conceptual, the insights

obvious that there will never

they have provided us with is

be a one trick pony that cures

enough to revolutionise therapy

our mental problems, as

as we know it.

[non]sense

and realisation their problem is

195


tast e


personal preferences and the acceptance of differences in that


The tip of your tongue, the teeth and the lips. Taste is so much more than this. Tantalising taste buds that either draw moments of sheer elation or pure disgust, they are simply a metaphor for our unique preferences. To compare taste like chalk and cheese we explore the future of porn in comparison to the art of living an eco life. Their connection you may ask? A move towards progressive thinking, acceptance and evidently an overall change in our tastes. Albeit, a feminised transformation in the form our palette has taken. Whether it be a simple draw to female strength and allure or a shift to an altruistic, caring way of living. It’s clear that today the acceptance of our ever growing needs, tastes and preferences will build a more flavourful, exciting world. A rejection of these growing differences and diverse attributes can only lead to a bland ending in much need of salt.

199

[non]sense

tast e


Empowering sexy times

Jacqueline Texidor comes across just like her online porn platform Shespot (founded in 2000): open, trustworthy and charming. On Shespot, women can experience every aspect of their sexual desires in one safe space on the internet. Read, talk, watch, research and shop. Why? “Sex makes us happy. Therefore we have to explore what we need to do to get this satisfaction.” I spoke to Jacqueline, owner since 2014, about her journey to empower women in sexual relationships.

What was Shespot’s biggest

into the importance and the

achievement?

needs of women. Today, we

“We introduced the term

still maintain this formula: we

‘porna,’ to show women

look at the person behind the

they’re not the only ones

desk. By communicating with

who want to watch different

our visitors we are constantly

porn than men do. Also,

working to improve ourselves

we’re the first platform in the

for the user.”

Netherlands who gave women

by Robin Huberts

the opportunity to truly express

Are you running the

their feelings about porn and

company only with this

claim their sexuality. After

social drive?

that, there has been a lot of

“We don’t do it for any

achievements. Sexologists, for

commercial reasons, so we

She was born 5th of July 1976. Jacqueline

example, use Shespot to help

don’t earn money with it.

studied computer science in The Hague

their clients.”

Shespot is established from

Jacqueline Texidor

and specialised in usability in Delft. She’s

a social plan. That’s also

been an internet entrepreneur since 1999

Was your work really

where the name comes from:

and worked her way into the E-commerce

controversial in the zeros?

it’s the place on the internet

branch. Due to her fascination with the

“There was absolutely nothing

for women to discover their

power of women, she took over Shespot in

available focusing on female

sexuality and feel free and safe

2014 and founded CLS Healthcare.

pleasure. If a woman thought

about it.”

about sexuality, she thought

200

she’d have to find a partner

‘Fantasy,’ ‘sexual

and experiment together, or

exploration,’ ‘tensive.’ These

buy a Playboy. That was it.

key values of Shespot are

Founder Liesbet Zikkenheimer

pretty rare for a porn site. Is

has done a lot of research

that your strength?


“Women respond better to

Without change, porn will

titles of porn videos, like

desiring and mystical words.

never be female friendly.”

‘Spicy Latina’s?’

Even in self-written stories

What do you mean with

people are used to placing

that women are the centre of

‘female-unfriendly’ porn?

people in categories. Certainly

Shespot is clearly visible. By

“Well actually, in March The

on the internet, it’s almost

research and tests we found

Big Pornography-research

inevitable; otherwise you can’t

out this is how our visitors feel

came out, concluding that

search for your specific desires.

attached to the brand.”

there is no female friendly porn

It isn’t respectful, and we try to

yet. Porna doesn’t exist. Free

avoid it as much as possible.”

Can you describe the current

porn mostly contains miserable

porn industry?

women and forced movements.

The website contains more

“The current porn industry is

That’s the unfriendly part.

soft porn, but most of the

dominated by men. At least,

Since launching Shespot, we

written stories are about

both demand and production

have continuously tried as

domination. Why is this a

are driven by men. As a result

much as possible to collect the

popular topic?

of digital access, free platforms

porn our visitors want to see.

“There is a big difference

and content providers, such

By introducing Porna, we are

between fantasy and reality.

as Pornhub and XNXX, do not

trying our utmost to fulfil this

You can imagine everything,

benefit the industry. There’s

term. We want to make and

no money earned, no money

show porn where the woman

available and therefore:

is in her rights, enjoys her job

no changes made. What’s

and is confident about herself.”

fascinating is that, in general,

We don’t do it for any commercial reasons, so we don’t earn money with it.

men and women want to see

So, sexualising woman is

the same content. They want to

a problem in the industry.

see the actors visibly enjoying

How do you feel about the

but that doesn’t have to mean

themselves and equally filmed.

stereotyping you see in the

anything. This isn’t based on 201

[non]sense

“It’s hard to say, because

from our visitors, our core


research, but I personally think

When we talk about men,

needs to be highlighted more

that women can now have

women and equality – do

for woman.”

anything they want. Sometimes,

you think that women have

you just want to forget all the

the same control as men in

Do men have an advantage

stress and don’t want to have

relationships?

in this development?

to think.”

“This is a fascinating subject,

“Yes, I think so. Not only

because we are experiencing a

are there more platforms for

In the porn-industry, porn is

wave. The last decade, women

males, but the whole industry

considered only to be ‘good’

knew what they wanted for

is pointing in their direction.

when it showcases women

themselves in a relationship

Males talk openly about their

with unattainable bodies, at

and set out to achieve

longings, while women often

which point it only further

that goal. Now, younger

feel embarrassed.”

presses the patriarchal ‘ideal

generations are, once again,

woman.’ How does porna

insecure. Teenage girls are in

‘Men are also welcome

empower woman without

constant contact with external

to respond, provided with

losing aesthetics?

influences and have the idea

appropriate modesty,’ a

“A good example is the Spanish

they must fulfil a perfect image

quote from the website. How

Erika Lust. Her movies are

that has been created on the

do you know it’s a man?

incredibly different from what

internet. While we want to raise

“Regarding the self-written

we are used to and it contains

our children with freedom, they

erotic stories, you’ll notice

real people, real stories, made

can’t be their full selves in this

immediately if they’re written

with real money. Porn is a

society. Hopefully Shespot can

by a man or woman. A man

representation of society, with

help.

tries to crawl into the skin of a

different tastes. With the

woman, but it doesn’t work that

dominant American porn

What effect do you want to

way. Our editors read every

industry, we get materialistic

have on visitors of Shespot?

story and select the best ones.

and fake content, like Kim

“I hope she feels empowered,

There are also moderators who

Kardashian. This isn’t the

not ashamed, to find out

clean the platform of scurrilous

demand of Europe, but by

her desires. When people

men out of the comments.”

the limited budget, there is no

develop their sexuality, they

room for risks. I hope people

become happier. This personal

will see the need to pay.”

development is important and

Scurrilous? “Yes. In the respond section, 202


life is, she is criticised by other

keep an eye on and delete

women quickly. I don’t know

inappropriate behaviour.

if men experience this kind of

You’ll notice men are more

jealousy.”

[non]sense

for example, we try to

dominant. There is this topic that often gets re-introduced by

What does the future for

men, called cuckolding. This

Shespot look like?

Hetero behaviour men find

“I want to make affordable

exciting, while women aren’t

pornography, that offers what

interested in it in the least.”

women really want from porn, and create new content. How

And women? Are the

can we innovate the platform

women among themselves

and raise new themes? Women

always supportive of each

change and therefore so do

other?

we.”

“Most of the time yes, but I would be lying if I said it’s all rainbows and sunshine. There is a certain jealousy at play. For example, if there’s a woman who expresses how perfect her 203


PORN – Political offence versus realistic needs

Twenty-three billion visits, the total amount of views Pornhub counted in 2016. So cut the crap, we all know you watched Porn. From the Japanese-weather-forecast to classic-Barbie-dolled-girl-ongirl-action, all fantasies ask to be stimulated. Then, on a cold winter day, the feminist raised up from the pornographic-ashes and provoked the masculine society with porn for us everyone. Through waves of orgasms as well as waves of feminisation, western society reflects upon the porn industry through the feminist porn awards, queer porn festivals, and ‘fucking’ 50 shades of grey.

Porn-Walhalla Once upon a time, when tapes and the internet did not exist, people read books with one bare hand. The word ‘pornography’ is descendant from Greek language and means ‘plot of evasion’. Pornography, by definition, came to exist in the 16th century. An individual named Marcantonio Raimondi started to publish sexually explicit engravings, originally created by painters as statements. This exposure got porn tightened up in political and religious opposition. The public embraced Raimondi’s publicities because of their taboo nature. Porn was then used as a political attack towards aristocrats and clergymen. Ironically, until then porn had been available to the elite only, it was now being used as a weapon by the working class full of hatred. During the Victorian era, ‘the palmy days of porn,’ porn developed into a selfcontained genre with the goal of generating lust. The government tried to keep this ‘dubious literature’ away from the public in order to protect the ‘biologically inferior,’

by Rachel de Gooijer

otherwise known as women. While women were protected from these ‘terrible lusts’, porn consumption grew within manhood. The golden age transformed into the pornWalhalla.

The American dream It’s obvious that porn addresses society and many political matters, such as equal rights and sexuality. With the rise of feminism, women and some strayed men got themselves tangled up in the ‘battle of sexes’. The sex-war divided feminists into ‘The radical feminist’ with the statement ‘Porn is rape’ and ‘The sex-positive feminist’ who believed that sexual pleasure was also for women. The radical and sex-positive were both driven (and still are) by the question ‘does porn harm women?’ Society definitely did, just saying. Research by Klaasen, 204


communication-scientist, shows that both men

pleasures, this is no surprise.

However, half of the movies contained equal

What is pleasure for the female gaze?

authorities between gender. Except American

Neurologists, PornHub and even scientists

amateur porn. According to Kim Holland,

continue the research women’s desires. Spoiler

Dutch porn-star/producer, American producers

alert: Women have many different fantasies, so

think that hard-core porn replaces emotions.

it’s impossible to find explicit needs. However,

The documentary ‘Hot Girls wanted’ shows this

the idea of ‘make love not porn,’ fair trade and

statement. “My first film was ‘facial abuse,’ which

‘realness’ should work. Though dominant Mr.Grey

is much more degrading for Latinas than white

in ’50 shades of Grey’ sets many vaginas on fire.

girls” [Reynold, 2015] I’ll spare you the details.

If you think about the rehearsals, actors and fake

Welcome to the American dream, people.

lights many feminist porn-movies use, then what’s real? “The fantasy ‘prince on the white horse’

What does this say about American society? It’s

is a small girl’s fantasy.” [Holland,2017] Which

easy to find the red thread especially when it

means that we need something we rather dictate

comes to authority in America. Their disrespect

ourselves with than it being dictated for us.

towards ‘niggers’ as they are called. Their need for ‘plastic fantastic’ - let me remind you that

Flued sexuality

Trump is married to one - and size zero, which

Nowadays tolerance towards blurred gender-

makes them absolute hypocrites as they’ve been

lines is represented by ‘queer’ porn, the ultimate

struggling with obesity. These producers have the

flued-sexuality-porn. I got so intrigued by this

tendency to dismiss diversity in bodies and place

particular porn sub-genre that I even doubted my

‘un-stereotypical’ ones as unmarketable. If it’s not

own sexuality. Isn’t that what society does? Blur

clear yet, we needed change.

gender-lines by creating gender-free toilets and genderless clothes.

Female Gaze

“I recognised an unserved demand for an

Within the last decade, women got seriously

alternative on mainstream porn” [Houston,2012]

involved in the (feminist)porn-industry. Even teen-

Who started crash pad, reality-queer-porn-show,

idol Emma Watson, expressed some statements

as a straight up lesbian in 2005. Being praised

on the behalf of feminist porn, ‘Wingardium-

with many prizes by the feminist porn awards,

Leviosa’ upon feminist-porn. Let’s be honest,

Shine sets a high standard for feminized porn.

with women’s capability of understanding female

A comprehensive quote by Houston, “Sometimes 205

[non]sense

and women are placed as objects in porn.


I like peanut butter and sometimes I don’t”, in my

this to a whole new level by producing a porn

opinion is the perfect description of our undeceive

in the Church itself. While this VPRO made the

society.

announcement of producing a porn to ‘break the taboo,’ a reference is needed to increase the

“We need change in order to survive”

levels of transparency. Since we strive to foster a

“Porn gives access to bodies we cannot have in

culture of trust.

real life” [Taormina, 2012] Sounds materialistic

To conclude porn does visualise our behaviours

hûh? This need for more is exactly what we

within society. As much as we like to consider

have been addressing through the development

porn as ‘inappropriate images’, it is just a

of digitalisation and power(shifting). Helmy,

translation of the signals we see in our daily lives.

XBizNews says that the porn industry needs to

Feminisation, individualism, racism, transparency

change in order to survive. Ironically, since that

and many more are translated into desires,

is what we said about the world when we noticed

fascinations and fantasies.

that masculinity isn’t always the answer. Porn is literally showing us that there is no need to commit yourself. What does this say about us? ‘I’m sorry God for creating Adam and Eve but we came up with the idea of using intercourse for another purpose’. Recently producers took 206


207

[non]sense


Concede In the 21st century design remains the part of art where formal principles are important for creators and spectators.

In the 21st century we can be proud to have the ability to create new forms both in our minds and in reality, made possible by computers and geometry.

In 2st century we feel the urge to become sensitive and gentle, gaining a wholesome life is fundamental. We create a soft foundation.

In he 21st century we need feminization.

by Amber Blewanus


‘Popc-porn’ for woman by Rachel de Gooijer

Porn, the place where money, sex & media converge. Once overruled by males, intruded upon by feminists and now produced by business minded women. Grab some ‘popc-porn,’ whilst Kim Holland shares her opinion about the feminisation of porn and explains how traditional porn isn’t necessarily degrading towards women.

“I try to ‘play the adult, ha-

The porno-industry is

ha.’ This means that I take

Do you think men would be

overruled by the male

them shopping, get to know

gender, how do you

them and try to boost their

As much as Kim doesn’t like

experience this?

able to do your job?

enthusiasm. If you have any

to generalise, her partner

“My businesses includes me

fantasies I’ll try to make them

does have an opinion

and my previous partner,

happen. In my opinion, the

about this and joins the

this means that we’re both

most important part is that you

conversation.

on the decision panel. We

experience the most out of it.”

Mark: “I don’t think a man

do decide with a different

is able to do what Kim

approach. However, most of it

Do you consider this as

does, she is unique in her

concerns images and filming.

typical feminine ‘behaviour?’

approach towards her ‘little

The interest towards porn is

“I don’t like to generalise

princesses’. Some of the

higher among the male-gender

gender, my approach is mostly

girls strive for more publicity

and my preferences aren’t

related to my character and

and go to foreign countries;

always what men like, so my

how I experience life. There is

however they are trapped in

business partner often wins the

a lot of variation within porn,

a disillusion. These girls never

disagreements and puts my

every producer has a different

get the attention Kim gives

opinion aside”.

approach. I do believe that

them; they experience a whole

showing warmth is important,

different world, no respect, no

Kim, can you describe your

something I always try to bring

boundaries and no satisfaction

approach towards the girls?

to set.”

at all. 210

Kim Holland, porn actress, producer and online sex writer. Co-founder of websites such as meidenvanholland.nl and kimholland.tv. “I am the person who made erotica up for discussion and much more accessible.” Holland was the first Dutch woman to claim such a territory in the ‘male dominated’ sex industry. She and her (ex) partner built an empire in the Dutch Porn-industry. ‘A bold blond girl who wanted to show women how to have sex.’


So, I assume that there is a

However, you choose to

producing porn, what is

big difference between the

stick to the traditional porn.

your opinion upon this?

Dutch and the foreign porn-

Why? “There are several reasons.

anymore. You can find it

“The biggest difference is that

Even if the porn movie shows

on Ziggo for free. I would

the Dutch or ‘my porn’ is real.

a ‘gangbang’ or lesbian

rather see them showing the

If I compare it to American

intercourse, I believe that

difference in ‘porn vs sex

porn, they quite often use

‘female friendly’ is all about

education vs how teens look at

girls from Eastern-European

the girl and her satisfaction.

porn’ than 3 creative people

countries who are totally

For me feminist porn, a.k.a.

making a porn movie. You

oblivious about what they

the Dutch term porna, is

need to take teens and show

got themselves into. This is

about using the right light,

them that erotic entertainment

not how you make a movie. I

showing attractive men, a

is just entertainment, show an

don’t believe, and this is what

different perspective. Porna

actress in her daily life cuddling

you see in foreign porn, that

is more artistic, but in my

with her boyfriend while

because there are no emotions

opinion it’s not porn anymore.

watching porn. That, would be

involved it needs to be harder.”

Porno means literally ‘to

a product I would believe in.”

show explicitly.’ Honestly, the

When you started to create

most important reason to do

Do you think that going

porn, what was your goal?

business in the industry is to

mainstream would degrade

“I wanted to show women that

produce some money. There

or increase the character of

sex is gratifying. So, I told my

is so much content online.

porn compared to feminist

boyfriend, get me a camera,

So, to make sure that you are

porn?

‘I can do this better’. I strived

successful you need to make

“No. There is plenty of

to help women discover their

as least 2 or 3 videos a week.

research on female fantasies.

sexual capabilities. Yeah, it

This is a big movement in the

Conclusion: Women have

might be through porn, but this

porn industry. I choose porn

many different fantasies, men

was the only qualified platform

with an amateur quality; in this

are easier to predict. There

to do it.”

sense I call it ‘Polder-porno.’

are always men with higher

Porn is porn.”

standards, but the fact is that

Many female producers are

men just like to watch porn and

heading into the feminist/

VPRO strives to break ‘the

if he wants to watch porn, he’ll

female friendly porn-scene.

taboo’ around porn by

just watch porn and that will 211

[non]sense

industry?

“Well, porn isn’t a taboo


never change.”

comes to sexual desires. I don’t

made some of the classics

believe that the term ‘feminist

such as ‘the pizza delivery boy,’

What is your opinion about

porn’ is quite right, the concept

but this is also about humour

the outcome/visualisation of

needs to be elaborated

inside porn. Besides that I

feministic porn?

differently.”

always show real girls with real

“I see feminist porn more as an

emotions.”

aesthetic erotic movie. Some

Research among others,

of the female friendly-porn is

such as Playboy, describes

How do you see the

rather boring, but I haven’t

that women feel that feminist

developments of traditional

seen that much feminist porn.

porn is more realistic, while

porn vs feminist porn?

For me emotions are the most

in most cases the scenes

“Of course you have people

important thing and if these

have a dressed rehearsal

that are turned on by aesthetic

are included in an erotic

first. What is your opinion

erotic movies; something that is

movie where they also build up

about this?

performed well can be incising.

towards a certain climax, it can

“This is an interesting matter,

Although you will always have

be thrilling.”

which I have heard before.

people who’d rather see ‘the

I believe in spontaneity, in

horny neighbour’ over ‘plastic

What are your biggest

the moment. What they do

fantastic.’ People that don’t

struggles when it comes to

is ‘acting porn’ but they are

reach for high demands, they

feminist porn?

also acting love, which is

just prefer a nice amateur

“Feminism stands for femininity,

something ‘moms’ like to relate

movie. Porn does have many

the power of the woman.

to. Something we can only

developments, like 3D porn.

Feminist-pornographers portray

achieve by filming couples.

Where you can actually

women as a weak gender by

Back in the day you had these

interact during a blow-job

creating soft porn movies. I

old romans, so the fantasy of

scene with the girl in the video,

believe that a strong woman is

the ‘prince on the white horse’

providing a completely intense

a woman who allows herself to

or ‘the dark stranger’ is a small

experience.

respond as a primitive when it

girl’s fantasy. Of course I have 212


The contact between Holland and her girls is deeper than the superficial feeling you get when watching porn. Femininity is the beautiful

you ever make feministic

combination of ‘tough’ vs

porn yourself?

‘lovely.’ We should be proud to

“I’d rather persuade a feminist

be women, wear our femininity

producer to make a change

like an ornament.”

[non]sense

the girl a nice experience.

So, considering this, would

of heart, make women look stronger. Add a little bit of my style into their movies. I wouldn’t make it myself, if something is not your passion you can’t pretend for long.”

How would you describe masculinity compared to femininity? “I love men, they are nice, easy to please, sturdy and cool. A man needs to be a man, but a woman must stand up tall. Everyone is unique, masculinity and femininity are both unique. I prefer a good character over good looks; I’d rather give 213


The Dream Ma(n)chine Do we still need men? – the birth of male sex robots.

After a very long day at work you come home to find your man hanging on the sofa, wearing that dirty tank top, while watching some second-class football match. The sink is full of unwashed dishes and instead of food, he offers you a beer. No worries ladies, this has an end. Imagine coming home, the house is spotless, it smells of your favourite food and your lover is awaiting you in bed – and best of all, the sex is all about you! Let me introduce you to your future partner, the sex-robot! by Lea Franziska Simon Stay home, boys - we don’t need you anymore Take a look around you – at schools, universities, politics and leadership teams of big companies. Women are at the forefront. In this feminised society, female values are becoming increasingly important by challenging men to redefine their masculinity. Liberated from an outdated patriarchal mindset, women are increasingly focusing on their own careers. We are no longer dependent on men as we earn enough money to finance our own living. Our autonomy has evolved that far, we don’t even need men to have children. In-vitro fertilisation seems to be the new trend among women who live better on their own and daycare gives them enough time to work and bring home the bacon. To complete our independence, we now have an electronic man, who can be switched on and off for our comfort and most importantly doesn’t fall asleep before we’ve reached our sexual satisfaction. 214


‘Bonding, Intimacy and Sex Robots’, 33% of

When hearing the word ‘sex doll’, most people

women already expressed their interest in sex

probably picture a hyper sexualised and

robots. In keeping these significant numbers in

pornographic sex-toy explicitly designed for

mind, companies are reacting to female needs.

men. Sinthetics, who call themselves an artisan

Instead of designing overblown sex symbols they

doll company, paved the way to change this

let their clients customise their sex-bots with little

connotation when they created the very first

imperfections, like freckles, pubic hair and scars.

male sex doll. Contrary to the common belief that women wouldn’t be interested in such a toy,

So, good news, girls! We no longer need to

the demand is surprisingly high and after only 6

spend our precious time dressing up and waiting

months, the order numbers of male vs. female

in some bar for our dream man to finally show

dolls have become equal.

up. All we have to do now is press a button and wait for him to be delivered to our doorstep.

Smelling the big money, it didn’t take long for companies like Realdoll, True Companion and

Life in plastic, it’s fantastic

Abyss Creation to take the idea of the humanised

31-year-old writer Karley Sciortino went on a

sex-toy one step further into the future. They

sexual adventure with Gabriel, a handsome

started to implement artificial intelligence into

looking sex doll made by Sinthetics. “We always

their dolls, aiming to make the experience more

assume men are more likely to enjoy sleeping

real and human-like. The newborn sex-robot not

with an object and that women need some sort

only responds to your touch, but you can even

of emotional connection to enjoy themselves, but

choose his personality and he will learn from you

that isn’t always the case”, said Karley.

over time - something we can’t expect from most real men.

More than that, having a partner which feels indistinguishable from a real body, yet does

According to Scheutz and Arnolds report,

everything we want, allows us to be fully in control 215

[non]sense

The evolution of the perfect man


while we immerse into our wildest fantasies.

Kathleen Richardson, senior research fellow in the ethics of robotics at De Montfort University

However, the probability of this niche trend to

is convinced that such machines are threatening

gain broader acceptance will depend on the

our sense of humanity, as we might neglect real

younger generation. Considering that this age

relationships. Aiming to start an ethical discourse

group grew up in an overly tolerant society in

about the impact of sex-bots she founded the

which you can freely express your sexuality, and

‘Campaign Against Sex Robots’. On her website

people marry everything from their pets to the

she proposes “that the development of sex robots

Empire State Building, it is likely that sex robots

will further reduce human empathy that can

will soon become socially presentable.

only be developed by an experience of mutual relationship.”

When questioning students, all in their twenties and fully reliant on the on-command dating

Modern love stories like the movie HER or current

world, they all agree, with a slightly naughty

Netflix release Westworld have almost convinced

glance in the eyes, that sex with a robot is

us of the idea that a robot could develop real

certainly easier than going on a tinder date.

feelings towards a human. Yet, we need to be careful to not mix Sci-Fi with reality.

Heartless machines or Heartbreakers? All those advantages aside, there are women

Dr. Khiet Truong, a member of the Human Media

who strongly disagree with the rise of sex-bots.

Interaction program of the University of Twente, 216


Sex-bots may have liberated us women sexually

the aim of human-machine interaction, as the

from our male counterparts, but up to now they

robot can only adapt its behaviour to the human’s

weren’t able to stand in for our emotional needs.

emotions if he understands them. The idea of

This is not the end. Technological progress is

emotional robots however, will for now remain

unstoppable. Who knows, maybe we need to

pipe dreams of some visionary movie directors.

protect men as endangered species sooner than

“We’re faking that those robots have emotions.

we expect.

They are able to show and recognise emotions, but they don’t really feel them.”, so Khiet.

No feelings, no problem? Being in a relationship with a man who listens to what we say and even understands and reacts to our emotions, sounds like the perfect partner. Unfortunately, we are not quite there yet. According to Dr. Khiet Truong, it will take at least another 10 years to produce authentic empathetic robots. Until then, the sex-robot remains nothing more than an advanced sex-toy. And let’s be honest, emotions are at the bottom line of every passionate relationship. It’s the little dramas which keep it exciting and intensify our sexuality. So, let’s give our men another chance.

217

[non]sense

explains that those fictional visions are indeed


My fe-male lover. Relationships are build on intimacy. You share your body. Your belongings. You share your personal space. Your couch or your bed. No secret is bound to stay hidden. You share a T-shirt or a hat. Everyday you share a kiss. Your passion and ambition. Eventually you share values. May be even a gender.

by Britta Flinterman


In conversation with Stacyian Jackson, play writer of “Don’t worry, Be Yoncé” by Elizabeth Thomas

How would you define

What conversation did you

alleviate labels. However,

female values in today’s

hope to start with “Don’t

you chose to work with

society?

worry, be Yoncé”?

labels in “Don’t worry, Be

“The caring part, the

“We were looking at what

Yoncé”. Can you elaborate?

motherhood. Even if you

she stands for, and she is

“I get what labels are for,

don’t have a child, I think

everything, she is the business

they’re for you to understand

that motherly instinct and

woman, a mother, a wife and

the situation, to understand the

caring part is valued. That’s

these are all things she proudly

world. Some people push it too

what people see when they

talks about. How is it that this

far, saying this is the label, so

see women, that softness,

one person can balance it all?”

this is you, but the problem is

but I also think the world is

she says, “if I can do it, you

not the label itself, the problem

seeing a change, I see other

can too. Well first of all that

is the way people think. As a

women fighting and going for

ain’t true, but if that’s the case,

woman, I don’t like people

a change and it gives me this

lets all just become you!”

thinking I’m weak. People might

empowered feeling that I feel

think it, but I realise it comes

no one can miss. It might be

You’ve started a

from somewhere and it’s up to

small, teeny tiny steps but it’s

conversation on gender

you the human being to know

there. We women are inspiring

before, in your series Queer

what it is you are and are not.

each other.”

Amsterdam, aiming to

How would we see the world 220

Stacyian Jackson is an Actress, Play Writer and recent winner of the 2017 Fringe Silver award for her “Don’t Worry, Be Yoncé” performance. Through her comedic social commentary on the idolising of Beyoncé, she shows how you too can become Beyoncé. Touching on feminism, music, and what it means to be a woman, Stacyian guides us through everything Beyoncé encompasses as a modern female icon.


if there were no labels, no so

but she always fits the time

expected of her, that’s where

called ‘box’? Those labels are

without changing herself.

she grew and found her power.

there to give you direction, not

When Beyoncé found her

The fact that she threw

to decide on how something is.

brand, she stuck to it and

And they’re not always good but

most importantly, never tried

they’re not always horrifically

to go back to who she was in

bad.”

Destiny’s Child. Her politics lay

The problem is not the label itself, the problem is the way people think.

situation of the world and looks

“She stands for a lot. She’s a

at what’s necessary in this time

business woman, a mother, a

and just goes for it. In 2013

something like feminism in it,

wife, and these are all labels

it was feminism, and in 2017

and even if you don’t agree

she proudly talks about. She

its black culture in America.

with her so called feminism,

even called her tour the Mrs.

And the fact that she doesn’t

the truth is that she made it a

Carter tour. When you look at

do many interviews makes you

word. Eight and nine year olds

her earlier music like If I Were

focus on her music and art,

are now able to call themselves

a Boy, Single ladies, these were

and it is art. She protects her

feminists without associating

all strong empowering female

brand like that.”

themselves as ‘man haters’.”

songs, but at the same time she often has the idea that

You’ve mentioned Beyoncé

Do you feel her previous

she is a submissive woman

as ‘the brand’, do you still

albums were as empowering

in her videos. I feel like she

think it’s authentic?

as they are in 2017?

plays a lot with the dominance,

“Yes, I know as a musician

“I think her previous music

submissiveness and power

she’s making money out of

had something like it, but the

women have, that is her label

this brand but the fact is, the

fact that she’s now a mother,

of feminism in a way.”

message is still there and clear.

and the way she thinks, has a

I think the moment she took

new strength and power to it. I

How does she stand out

control of herself and therefore

personally believe stereotypes

from other strong female

her brand, was when she left

are there for a reason. She

icons in the music industry?

the management of her father.

plays with that idea by saying “I

“Beyonce is very business

The self-titled album was a

am the woman, I am the wife,

smart, she’s been around

completely different Beyoncé.

I am the submissive one but

for the last twenty years,

She did it in a way that was not

look at me bitch, I can also do 221

[non]sense

in her music, she looks at the

What are Beyoncés labels?


this”. She knows how to use

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Songs like Flawless

her feminine power.”

whose talk on feminism is

declared an independence

featured in Beyoncés song

from the patriarchy. What

How much further could

“Flawless”, is quoted saying

would a matriarchy look

Beyoncé take her work

Beyoncés feminism is not her

like?

and the movement of

kind of feminism. What do

“I don’t think it would be a

Feminisation?

you think of this?

matriarchy, I think it would just

“I wonder if she at some point

“I think that’s perfectly fine,

be an “Archy”. It would just

just will stop when she’s at that

it doesn’t have to be this or

be equal, but I don’t think it

climax, or will she continue

that. But there’s this woman

will ever be completely equal,

when she’s sixty? I think society

who bothers me, Bell Hooks, a

but I think it would be closer.

is slowly changing and she

feminist who is loudly against

Where when you look at guys

jumps in on what’s happening

Beyoncés Feminism. Because

you wouldn’t know if they’re as

and pushes it a bit harder.

she doesn’t think Beyoncés

strong or as superior as you.

The moment she talked about

sexuality is on her terms.

And you wouldn’t look at a

feminism people were like:

Because what is looking at

woman just as a woman, but

‘YEAH YOU SEE?’ The mantra

her? The Male gaze. But even

as a person.”

of the mask of masculinities

if it’s there, so what? Just

has been ‘I can do it all, there

because it’s there she can’t do

What could come from

is no weakness here’, and

this or that? She’s not letting

a politically feminised

that’s what she is pushing as

them touch her, she’s showing

workforce?

well, there is no weakness

them this is me. Touch me? You

“I think if people really, and

here, I can do it all, but as a

can’t touch me”.

openly listened, a lot would

strong woman.”

be solved. The world is going 222


(hiring to make sure you have

not there to be messed with,

no one is listening. It doesn’t

half women or POC), but

a simple fact of not judging a

matter if it’s a man or a

another reason we have this

book by its cover. Just because

woman running, it should just

is otherwise it won’t happen.

I have titties and a vagina, that

be a person with a good head

But I don’t want to be hired

doesn’t mean I’m less than

on their shoulders. I don’t know

somewhere just because I have

you, and I think a lot of them

if it would be better. I don’t

a vagina, it makes me feel like

realise that now.”

actually think it would be better

I can’t do it anyway, it doesn’t

if it’s only women running it,

make me feel empowered, it

or if it’s only men running it.

doesn’t make me feel strong.

You just need to have the right

It makes me feel small, but if it

balance of a group of people

wasn’t there, women wouldn’t

who know what they’re doing.

even be in the business. Once

Having a woman around can

you get in, you have to prove

never hurt because all of the

that you’re more than that

feminine values we have to

vagina.”

care, and see certain details that men in general don’t

What impact do you see

see. We’re known to be more

Beyoncé having on men?

empathetic and sympathetic.

“She could definitely inspire

I’m not a fan of this positive

men in that sense of ‘you can’t

discrimination thing as well

mess with us’. Women are 223

[non]sense

down into a shithole because


Feminisation: The real cause of sustainable lifestyles? by Nina Steinlechner

The former sustainability manager of Unilever Chris Dutilh lets us in on why we all have a split personality living inside of us.

How did you come up with

“Then you can also say the

my house, I feel oppressed and

the idea that there are two

consumer is the masculine

uncomfortable. You can’t order

personalities living inside of

behaviour and the citizen is

a plumber to get it repaired

each person?

the feminine behaviour. And

cause he won’t see it, it’s

“At Unilever we came across

in this masculine domaine you

subjective and personal.”

the problem that people

can say ‘There is a problem’.

say they are very in favour

Your roof is leaking, the water

Why do you think some

of sustainability but when

comes through when it rains.

characteristics are more

they’re in a shop they behave

What do you do? You phone

perceived as feminine and

differently. That brought me to

a plumber to get it repaired.

others as masculine?

the idea that we all have two

So when there is a problem

“I think it’s because we are

different characters which can

everybody can observe that

built up of those domains.

be drawn as two vectors, one is

in an objective way and can

We have two things we like

a citizen and one a consumer.”

measure the damage. In the

to manifest ourselves, we like

feminine domain we talk about

to compete, we like to win

What is the difference

‘We have a problem’. When

but at the same time we are

between the citizen and the

I wake up one morning and

desperately needing affinity,

consumer?

suddenly I don’t feel at ease in

affection and love, and we 224

In 2003 Chris Dutilh wrote the report Sustainability A gender perspective in which he examined the correlation of feminine and masculine values in a society with a more sustainable lifestyle. In this report Chris uses a concept of consumers versus citizens which both highly influence a brand’s success, however, they need to be catered to in a completely opposite way - one in a masculine way, the other in a feminine way.


we wanted to improve

love.”

sustainability of the company

When feminine values are more present in society, the

and the world. So we started

How does the masculine

to do things about the way the

and feminine domain

fish is caught, the way which

influence the consumption of

the vegetables are grown and

products?

help the people who work in

have to obey to. This is

“In the domain of food

a Third World country to get a

the license to produce. If a

for example you have the

better living. People at Unilever

company doesn’t produce the

masculine domain, which is all

were really enthusiastic about

right product consumers won’t

about maximisation. Calories,

this. The company did enough

buy it, this is the license to sell.

vitamins, etc. everything you

and at the right time in the

This is reversible, measurable

need for fuelling the body.

feminine domain to motivate

and comparable. And then

But food is also pleasure,

the staff and to make the

there is a third interaction

appreciation and satisfaction.

outsiders enthusiastic about the

between the company and

That is the feminine domain,

way Unilever was operating.

the citizen about norms and

which is about appropriation.

But as soon as they tried to

values, the license to operate.”

So yes, it is important that you

make money with it, it didn’t

know the calories and what is

work.”

sustainability level is higher too.

Do you have an example to illustrate the influence of this

in the food because it matters for the body, but the feminine

But without making money

domain which would be things

a company can’t exist.

“I used to illustrate this with an

like homegrown or locally

So what are the different

example of Unilever. In 1996

produced is equally important.”

influences a company needs

Unilever introduced liquid

to regard when launching a

margarine.

campaign or product?

We got the price of the most

Is it possible to move the

license to operate?

values of the feminine

“In the market there are four

successive innovation. But at

domain into the consumers

entities: The company, the

the same time we got the price

mind?

authorities, the consumers

from Friends of the Earth for

“If you know the notion of

and the citizens. Each of them

the most awful innovation.

vectors you know that’s

interact with two of the others:

They found it ridiculous to

impossible. At Unilever

The authorities formulate

put the margarine in a big

the management decided

legislation which companies

plastic bottle instead of a 225

[non]sense

don’t make a competition for


There is no such thing as THE balance because the world always changes.

piece of paper. The reason why this group is important for

surrounding?

group to change consumption

a company is word of mouth.

“They all have an impact on

If a person that supports the

them but the difficulty is that it

Friends of the Earth’s point of

is not a homogenous effect.

What do you think about the

view, tells her daughter about

If a company launches a

Common Good Economy:

it, she’ll either be so influenced

product everyone can compare

Companies that do good

that she stops buying the

it to other products. This is a

for the planet and people

product, or she doesn’t care

numerical interaction. In the

would get less tax, it would

too much and still buys it.”

feminine domain there is no

enable them to offer cheaper

numerical interaction, it’s a

prices than poorly produced

subjective experience.”

products?

How do you know what the

behaviour.”

public reaction to a product or campaign will be?

“It doesn’t work. As soon

And what about consumers?

as you start to quantify the

“It is important because the

“During my studies there was

performance in the feminine

feminine domain can boost

a big problem with drunk

domain you’ll get problems.

reality in both directions either

driving. Campaigns that

Some organisations have tried

in a positive or negative

were addressed directly at

this in the field of standardising

direction. You can’t predict

the drivers did not affect their

sustainability reporting. In

which direction, but what you

drinking behaviour. Once the

the first manual there were

can do is you can listen to

campaigns appalled to their

twelve criteria that companies

citizens.”

friends to call out drunk drivers

were assessed on. As a result,

within their friend circle, it

companies started to optimise

What do you think is

suddenly worked. Companies

for these twelve points. But

the biggest influences

address the citizens if they

after just a short time, an

on the citizen? Is it

want to change habits because

updated list of criteria was

brands, governments or

they are the most powerful

release which already included 226


one hundred points, which

values are more present in a

was updated again to finally

society, the sustainability level

include four hundred criteria

is higher too.”

points.”

In your paper you compared

a sudden change in society

two unrelated statistics.

to embrace more feminine

One was an article rating

values?

the level of sustainability

“I think it is because the

in a country. The other

masculine domain has been

one was about the level of

emphasised so much that we

masculine values within the

got fed up with it. Who knows

population of a country. The

how long the feminisation is

countries with the lowest

going to last. Maybe at some

rates of masculinity, like

stage we think: ’now we really

Sweden, scored really high

need more direction’, and we’ll

in sustainability, the ones

move towards more masculine

with high masculinity scored

values again. It is always a

rather poorly. How did you

balance and there is no such

correlate the two?

thing as THE balance because

“I had these two articles, they

[non]sense

Why do you think there is

the world always changes.”

were completely different articles and I thought why not combine the two. The result was amazing because it made visible that when the feminine

227


I’d rather be Glacier Girl’s victim, than selling than selling my soul to ‘King Kylie’ It’s over with the ‘protracted idolised facade of the botoxed’ Kylie Jenner and the other rich and famous. Brought up in a globalised world full of misery caused by foregoing generations, Generation Z envisions the need for the world to become a more humane place for everyone. Whereas former ‘masculine’ societal behaviour has led to inhumanity, loneliness, economic crisis and war, the digital generation has started to establish a new societal blueprint around ‘feminine’ values. Their idols do not represent the perfect picture game anymore instead they are cherished for their more feminine values; values like empathy, compassion, coexistence and cocreation. We’re at the inauguration of a new, feminised era, which is led by the Glacier Girls and Malala’s of today’s society.

Gen Z and Millennials are alike, you say? Tag influencers in your pictures and don’t forget to geotag. Write enough hashtags. Make sure your feed has a consistent colour palette and your lightning is always on point. Use a lot of minimalistic white walls,some fancy cacti and make sure it’s exactly put in the right place. You know, for the framing. We are all aware of these tricks, aren’t we? Just like we all know how crucial it is to have a visually pleasing Instafeed so you can attract possible followers, no? Nah-ah. People tend to think there are only two things young adults care about: going out and being online. Well, for Gen Z not so much. They set their priorities differently. Although they cannot live without it, they use social media in another way than their precursors, the Millennials, who popularised it.

Perfect Instagram, huh? What about some real stuff? Don’t think you can fool Gen Z with cheap branding or ‘dolled-up Vloggers’. They have one hell of a super-sensitive bullshit-detector and if they smell danger, the craze for your influence will dry up faster than you can say ka-ching. This online generation has grown up with digital ads, so they know how to tell the difference between good and bad, real and fake (Firth, P. 2017). This generation grew up with reality TV stars, candid photos of celebrities and no-makeup selfies. They are used to behind-thescenes access. Everything generation Z has been exposed to created an expectation that they can see behind the curtain and get the real story, in every realm of life (Troy 2017). Whereas Millennials are more likely to be crazy about editing photos, making sure that each photo presents them in the best light possible, Gen Z is turning their back on TV, email and the fake world of celebrities (Patel, D. 2017). They look for messages that reflect reality rather than a perfect life. They’re sick of the ‘everything is fine’ facade. Because things simply are not.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse Remember, they grew up in a society at risk, exposed to a constant fear of terrorism, war, political polarisation, immigrant revolutions and a triple-dip economic recession. 228


They believe in creating a better world and are

They never experienced any kind of economic

looking for similarly minded icons. Moral values

improvement or any other positivism, as stated

and ideology are what they find admirable, rather

by Whetstone Strategic Foresight (2017).

than likes and followers. They are yearning for

Basically, the only thing they see is how previous

heroes like Nobel prize winner and women’s

generations fucked up. Consequently, this

rights activist like Malala Yousafzai, who stood

generation is shaped to have a much broader

up against the Taliban when she was only eleven.

world-view than earlier generations. So don’t be

They idolise Amandla Stenberg, according to

genuinely astonished if they couldn’t care less

Adweek.com (2017), who used celebrities like

about dearest Miss Kylie Filler-Lips or Jenner’s

Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera in order to stand

pregnancy. No, what they really care about - or

up against cultural appropriation, intersectional

at least the overwhelming majority of Gen Z are

feminism, and outstanding racial and LGBT

real issues like equality for LGBTQ+ people,

issues. This Generation does not want to be like

anti-racism, eco-consciousness and social

Glacier Girl, even though she is often discarded

responsibility in general. They are concerned

as a lazy ‘armchair activist’ (Shah, D. 2017).

about humanity’s impact on the environment and

They’d rather be her ‘victim’, then selling their

the true value of independence, according to

souls to the fake and immoral. So King Kylie,

Gen HQ (Villa, P. 2017). Teens today believe that

step aside for the Malalas, Amandla and Glacier

they can and will change the world, and they are

Girls of the new generation. Because despite

not afraid of working hard to achieve that goal.

the fact that our current ‘masculine’ societal

This entrepreneurial attitude, their moral values,

system does not work anymore, it doesn’t mean

their (digital) world-weariness; all these aspects

it can’t be changed. Although they’re inevitable,

are the drivers for Gen Z’s passion to change the

almost natural obsession with the digital world,

world into a global community of compassion,

Gen Z-ers take a lot of effort and pride in being

empathy, environmental awareness and overall

socially responsible on a global scale, swearing

well-being.

off narrow-minded definitions of race, gender,

[non]sense

And on top of everything, Trump happened.

economics and the environment to make some We could be heroes. Moral heroes

real change towards a better future, together. Led

It’s not a surprise that there is a whole shift in

by new, moral heroes.

‘idolism’ going on. With their entrepreneurial approach and their new moral ethos, duplicated by their confidence of being the chosen generation to change the world, this digitally native generation is longing for a whole other sort

by Geesje Remijnse

of celebrity than the Kim K’s and Gigi Hadid’s. 229


Send my love to our new lovers Some have only buddy’s, other believe new beliefs and some want multiple hubby’s.

by Jeffrey Dral


Now what does your ‘guts’ tell you?

Our journey has come to an end, leaving you with heightened senses - what is it that you feel? Place all your observations and outcomes into a comprehensible order. Working your way towards processing, understanding and eventually defining. Right now, you might find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, questioning your identity. Did the scent of answers confuse or enlighten you? Or did you waste your time on something that sounded like nonsense? Did you find what you always have been looking for, or was it simply not your taste? Either way there is no denying that the cultural established perception we created on gender, on what we perceive as masculine and feminine, is going through a transition. More important might be even the decreasing amount of agency which we ascribe to these binary differences. Are they really that essential, or might they be the actual cause of our current societal headaches? Now, balancing on the edge of a society luring to shift, slowly but the time has come for us to smell some bullshit. Our whole polarising, tough-ass system has lost its spark and we can feel it running through our veins. That is when we see the transformation in society occurring; a metamorphosis from hard values to soft values. From limitless individual striving for short-term goals, to co-creation for accomplishing long-term solutions for the sake of both people as the environment. We see how teens elect their idols rather based on their moral values than their perfect Instagram feed. We learn to favour the importance of communicating; listen to each other and openup. To listen in order to be heard. Either face to face, or through technology. If we do not want to understand each other, how can we make the world a better place? That is how we can get in touch again; work together with empathy and compassion. We are all unique creatures with our own preferences in taste. So, in the end it is up to us, and only us, to accept our differences, embrace equality as a standard and trust our gut feeling as it is the only thing which tell us no nonsense.

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Trend bible: (non)sense  

Feminisation: a word full of preconceptions, assumptions and old-fashioned associations. Feminisation is not only a movement, it's deconstru...

Trend bible: (non)sense  

Feminisation: a word full of preconceptions, assumptions and old-fashioned associations. Feminisation is not only a movement, it's deconstru...

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