An growing number of Chinese influencers have had it with the distorted, filtered images coming at them from every pixel on their super-app screen. From WeChat to Douyin and Weibo, they refuse to conform to social media’s perception of the perfect body.https://chinatemper.com/chinese-society/body-positive-influencers
When it comes to America’s legacy of Manifest Destiny, there’s perhaps no meal more symbolic than a bleeding steak. So who are we now that we’re consuming less red meat?https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/03/t-magazine/meat-beef-vegetarianism-veganism.html
Over the past five years, “soy boy” has become a favourite insult of the far right online, used to refer not only to vegans but to all liberals. (I noticed the rise of this slur with amusement, as when I met my first ever male vegetarian friend, Lee, at university, we proudly called ourselves “the soy boys”.)https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2022/mar/05/vegan-bros-busting-myth-that-real-men-eat-meat
“Traditional Korean society was very rigid when it came to gender roles, and when women tried to maintain their beauty, it was always done to please others.. But young women in contemporary Korea are a lot more independent and prefer to focus on themselves. They’re not overly conscious about how they are perceived by people they don’t know.”
PHOTO-ILLUSTRATION: SAM WHITNEY; GETTY IMAGES
The system was based on data—including age, ethnicity, country of origin, disability, and whether the subject’s home had hot water in the bathroom—from 200,000 residents in the city of Salta, including 12,000 women and girls between the ages of 10 and 19. Though there is no official documentation, from reviewing media articles and two technical reviews, we know that “territorial agents” visited the houses of the girls and women in question, asked survey questions, took photos, and recorded GPS locations. What did those subjected to this intimate surveillance have in common? They were poor, some were migrants from Bolivia and other countries in South America, and others were from Indigenous Wichí, Qulla, and Guaraní communities.https://www.wired.com/story/argentina-algorithms-pregnancy-prediction/
While Salta’s AI system to “predict pregnancy” was hailed as futuristic, it can only be understood in light of this long history, particularly, in Miranda’s words, the persistent eugenic impulse that always “contains a reference to the future” and assumes that reproduction “should be managed by the powerful.”
Research by Srinivasan, Orenstein, Holden and others all points to the existence of a real trend toward sex-negativity among the young. Yet attributing this trend to Gen Z obscures more than it reveals. More than anything, the idea that Gen Z is especially uninterested in sex erases a history – one that began as a split within feminism but whose reach far exceeds this origin. Indeed, just as earlier generations of sex-negative feminists ended up making bizarre alliances with conservatives in their efforts to criminalise pornography, so too are second-wave talking points today voiced by unlikely actors, including – but hardly limited to! – teenagers on TikTok.
To begin seeing change, heed the externalities
The practice of foresight has always believed in the critical nature of the past. In fact, we believe knowing the past is imperative to see the future that might await us. Our usual approach is to start with a classic PESTLE (political, economic, sociological, technological, legal and environmental) analysis to see the externalities in play. We do this through a semiotic lens. We are looking for signs so that we can speculate about design futures.
Consider the 1980s as an example. On the surface, 2022 seems like a replay of 1982. So many happenings from fashion to pharma feel like déjà vu — whether you lived through the ’80s or not. Yet, there are fundamental shifts from 1982 that can only be understood by looking at the years side by side.
In 1994, the Newsweek staff critiqued its earlier decade. They wrote, “The market magic of the triumphant conservatism of the 1980s did help squeeze out fat and make American business more competitive in the brutal global economy. But we have yet to come to terms with the social costs.”
Unfortunately, in 2022, we still have yet to come to terms with the social costs of the ‘80s – but we are finally making headway. The aspirational “trader” archetype spawned in ‘82 by the Baby Boomers and portrayed in movies like Wall Street has given way to a socially aware archetype within Generation Z. A disruptive layer of behavior has pushed in through Gen Z and bolstered by Gen X, the generation once thought of as slacker. Critical policy thinking is coming to the forefront as a layer of fear fades away.
The information presented in this report shows that 2022 is not on the same trend trajectory as 1982. Too many cultural tensions exist for that to happen. However, to have confidence in this cultural evolution, we need to respect even the smallest signals of change.