Showing posts with label inclusion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inclusion. Show all posts

June 30, 2022

Skin and Body Image #skintoo

Hello internet friends!

I was reading this article from Stylist UK: 

A third of women won’t exercise because of how their skin looks, a new study finds

...And I have to share my own experiences. This article hits close to home because I am definitely one of the 1/3 of women they talk about that has struggled with body image issues, partially fueled by my own skin problems. I hope that by sharing my experience that I can help others who may be feeling the same way.

My skin problems and by poor body image started when I was a teenager. I imagine lots of people start having anxieties at this time. We're hyper aware of our own bodies and how they are changing, and our peers are quick to point out anything that seems even remotely different than normal body development.

I have a skin disease called hidradentis suppertiva that started when I was about 13. We live in Florida, so the hot, sticky summer weather made this skin condition even worse. I constantly wore jeans to hide my skin, even if I was hot, I would lie and say that I was fine just so I could justify hiding my body. In school, I carefully raised my arms when answering a question, being careful that my arm pits would not show where I also had lesions from my skin disease.

Hidradentis suppertiva is a auto-immune related skin disease where my body is overactive in attacking the regular bacterias that live in your skin and hair follicles. It produces painful sores that often leak blood or pus. I am fortunate that I know how to handle my wounds after so many years and my careful diet and lifestyle has made sure that the lesions have not progressed to stage 3.

It is a very embarrassing condition to have to deal with on a daily basis. You see other people's skin and all I wanted as a teen was to have beautiful skin and legs like I saw my classmates had.

Not only did this make trouble for my body image and confidence during my teenage years, but as an adult, I continue to deal daily with my extreme body cleanliness to make sure that the disease doesn't progress. Because it has an auto-immune component, I can sometimes be tired, like you have a constant cold hanging over your energy levels.

I propose a movement for skin acceptance, similar to the me too or body positivity movement. #skintoo

I hope this gives you a window into the struggles of having an auto-immune skin disease that will be with me forever and will hopefully not progress in severity. Please be kind to people around you regardless of how their outside might look... 

The above linked article gives the following advice to build your confidence:

  • Talk about it
  • Exercise in inclusive places
  • Wear whatever makes you comfortable
  • Don't worry about what others think
Please know that...

You are beautiful regardless of your skin type, skin problems, or skin "life character" like scars, sun marks, stretch marks, and wrinkles.

Photo by Eva Bronzini. 
#amberclee #skintoo
Photo by Eva Bronzini from Pexels: Photo by Eva Bronzini from Pexels:
Photo by Eva Bronzini from Pexels:

June 7, 2021

And Now For Something Different: Model Diversity in the Peloton TV Commercial 'At Home Motivation'

**Update to Article - only five days after this was published, the commercial was removed from Youtube, that's why the video is missing below... perhaps they listened?**


Have you seen the 2021 Peloton bike commercial advertisements on TV yet? In the era of body image diversity, this commercial is a total marketing FAIL. Read on to hear why this commercial irks me everytime the upbeat tune from Beyoncé starts to play.

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the newest Peloton bike commercial (released Spring 2021) which features the song 'At Home Motivation' by Beyonce. On an interesting side note, superstar singer and entrepreneur Beyonce has partnered with Peloton to create a series of custom workouts lead by the famed singer... Here's the commercial:


What strikes you most while watching? What do you notice about the people chosen to represent at-home exercise participants? Watching it at home many times now, I've noted a few things, both positive and negative, regarding the diversity with the models Peloton has chosen to represent regular people participating in home exercise using Peloton’s bike equipment.

Let's start with the positive attempts at model diversity - - there does appear to be many different ethnicities and ages displayed in the commercial for the at home exercisers. The Peloton trainers represented are also somewhat diverse in ethnicity and age. That's where the diversity attempts end.

Now for the negative - -

What bugs me the most is that every model representing at home exercise participants appears to be in really great physical shape. As I watch, I’m thinking “why do these people need to work out, they’re already fit?” Maybe Peloton is only for people who are already fit? And the only girl working out at home is in great shape, far from the average US women’s size (which I think is a size 16). The commercial really leaves me feeling out on the Peloton fitness trend.

Even the older gentlemen doing sit-ups at the end appears to have a little tummy, but upon second look, you’ll notice that he is quite fit and might have the bulk due maybe to a layered shirt.

My point isn’t to pick apart the models used (because these are real people too) - but to ask that companies consider body shape as a diversity item on their checklists. The lack of diverse body shapes is kinda depressing to watch. Every time I hear Beyoncé’s catchy tune start, I sigh and wonder why the marketers could be missing such a relevant issue in today’s world. Discussions about diversity, specifically body image, are everywhere.

And while we’re on the diversity checklist: I didn’t sees any models (both trainers and at home fitness participants) that had differing abilities, such as sight loss, limb loss, or mental illness. How about including some diversity here, which could recruit customers that are veterans, elderly, or somehow “different” than the norm Peloton is currently portraying in their commercial.

What about income diversity? Perhaps criticizing for income diversity is a reach, since Peloton equipment is at a high price point - and requires a monthly subscription that's more than most cellphone planes or a gym membership at a Youfit or Planet Fitness.

I digress, back to body shape -

For an example of a company that does a commercial right for inclusive fitness, check out the brand new commercial for Echelon Fit, sponsored by the Saved by the Bell character, Mario Lopez. The commercial uses very diverse models, looking like real people with many different body sizes and types. Here’s the most recent (2021) Echelon Fit commercial:


Peloton, please consider choosing models that represent a more diverse audience in your next commercial attempt.

Beyoncé, how could you put your name on something that leaves out so many types of people? I am both surprised and disappointed that you would so irresponsible with your sponsorship.


February 23, 2019

"Strategies for Cognitive Accessibility" at USF Bay-to-Bay Symposium on Diversity and Inclusion


Below is a poster presentation entitled “Strategies for Cognitive Accessibility” that I recently created for the USF Bay to Bay Symposium on Diversity and Inclusion. I connect UDL, ARCS+V motivation theory, and our online course assessment rubric standards (Quality Matters); to share strategies to support learners with varying cognitive ability differences. Cognitive ability differences could be memory loss, trauma or brain injury, aging related changes, dyslexia, learning disabilities, adhd, and autism, just to name a few that you can see in the average classroom these days.

September 2, 2018

Instructional Design: An Opportunity for Integrity and Inclusion for ALL

This is a the first of many papers being written for my Digital Media and Learning class this Fall:

Links to papers read online:

ethics of care - pluralism
by hello-magpie on DeviantArt

Synthesis and analysis:

Before beginning my first synthesis paper, I wanted to understand “synthesis” fully, since it’s a term that I have not been asked to perform very much [directly albeit] in my previous coursework. I found a great example and guidance after searching “blooms synthesis” as I wanted to know what our tested Bloom’s Taxonomy would define synthesis as:
As the page linked above defines, my articles/creations to follow will adhere to the following learning objective verbs and expressions:

Putting together ideas into a new or unique
product or plan.

Guiding questions for synthesis level:
What changes would you make to solve _______?
How would you improve _______?
Can you propose and alternative _______?
What way would you design _______?
Suppose you could _______. What would you do ________?
Can you construct a model that would change _______?
Can you think of an original way for _______?
Can you predict the outcome if _______?

This week, we were asked to read in order and synthesize 4 articles:
K. Marx, The Machine Versus the Worker
L. Winner, Do Artifacts Have Politics?
B. Pfaffenberger, Technological Dramas
L. Lessig, Code 2.0, Ch. 7

Our instructor promised us that it really wasn’t that much reading.

Karl Marx is a name I have heard many times, but before reading the assigned article, I really couldn’t remember his major stances on the worker and the machine-industrial complex. The reading assigned was only two pages in length, but was substantial in the new perspective brought to me attention. His major points in this reading are:
  • p. 156 “The instrument of labour strikes down the labourer. This direct antagonism between the two comes out most strongly, whenever newly introduced machinery competes with handicrafts or manufactures, handed down from former times.“
  • He states that “machinery not only acts as a competitor…” but that the capital generated “is the most powerful weapon for repressing strikes” (p.156).
  • On page 157, he gives the example of Nasmyth, the inventor of the steam hammer: he testifies that “Thanks to these new mechanical combinations, I have reduced the number of grown-up men from 1,500 to 750. The result was a considerable increase in my profits.” Mechanical innovation and replacement of human workers was seen as a solution to long standing strikes in many industries.

Prior to reading Langdon Winner’s article “Do Artifacts have Politics?,” I had no experience with the author, but I did have an idea of the article content: since most products or innovations are created for someone, or a specific audience or consumer type, I can infer that the affordances generated will favor that group, and that favoritism in design can be called ‘politics.’ After reading the selection, the following are the main points presented:
  • He states that “At issue is the claim that the machines, structures, and systems of modern material culture can be accurately judged by their contributions… but also for the ways in which they embody specific forms of power and authority” (p. 19). My thought in reaction to this claim of embodying power and authority is: ‘is this an intentional assertion of power/authority?’, but then I think it wouldn’t matter whether the answer was yes or no, rather that we must have designers with the highest ethical standards for all people so that the assertion of power and authority through innovations is a positive contribution intended to help the greatest amount of people, making considerations for as many learner types as possible and for known accessibility concerns. I am then reminded that sometimes good products come out of ill intentioned designs, such as nuclear power that grew out of military applications or maybe medicines developed through unethical methods that end up saving thousands of others.

Moving on to the next article “Technological Dramas”, I can speculate that the idea of artifact features having politics will be expanded upon by Bryan Pfaffenberger. Main points of this reading include:
  • Confirming my earlier thoughts about designers and how their personal values affect the social and political considerations and outcomes in a design, Pfaffenberger states that “The demonstration that technology is socially shaped (MacKenzie and Wacjman 1985) or socially constructed (Pinch and Bijker 1987) is a major achievement of science and technology studies (STS).... To account fully for a technical design, one must examine the technical culture, social values, aesthetic ethos, and political agendas of the designers” (p.282).
  • He goes on to assert that “Technical innovation provides an opportunity to embed political values in technological production process and artifacts, which then diffuse throughout society…” (p. 283).
  • Pfaffenberger then makes several claims that I personally questioned as I read them. I questioned the sources quoted for support of his idea, and I questioned the methods used to determine the thinking of the designers or managers described in the studies. He mentions “Noble (1986) shows how managers hoped that numerically designed machine tools would deskill lathe operators and transfer process control from the shop floor to management. Barker and Downing (1985) show how networked word-processing technology has been used to erode the work autonomy of typists by monitoring the number of times per hour that a typist presses a key” (p. 284). How do you ‘show how a manager hoped’ for something? Why does having a measure by which to compare yourself to others while typing at work ‘erode work autonomy’? Is this really what the managers or designers were thinking when designing these tools - thinking of controlling their workers? I do not think so. I would imagine that most inventors and good managers in business are creative, kind people looking to better the populations, the work conditions, and the precision and quality of products.

I decided to move onto the next article, because I did not have the time to locate and verify each of the sources that I found a little biased that were used to support Pfeffenberger’s argument.

Lessig’s open source text “Code 2.0” was published in 2006 and appears to be a very straight forward, comprehensive, and foundational text to understanding power in our digital world, despite being over ten years old now. We were asked to read chapter seven.
  • This author details how our lives are regulated by first naming us “as a dot” and then analogizing how we (quite sarcastically as “a pathetic dot”) are controlled in behavior by social norms (p. 122), that “the market is also a constraint,” laws, and architecture (p. 123).
  • I found the multiple historical examples of design choices to control or direct people fascinating, especially the French Revolution (p. 127) and the later building of wider streets; because I have been there and can visualize this constraint fully and how it later affected history during Napoleon's rule.
  • I appreciated Lessing’s inclusion of three major socially excluded classes: “discrimination against the disabled,” “drugs” (p. 131), and “abortion” (p. 132). Heavily socially stigmatized, these populations can give back to the world in innumerable ways, yet we seek to disinclude them or ostracize them for their actions. Unfortunately there are many other populations and stigmatized groups that can bring a lot to the world. I think of refugees and immigrants, people of gender or identity minority, people of religious minority or misunderstood groups; an endless list could be created entitled ‘you are different because ______, but you can still participate in and create fully’. I think this is what the creators of the internet intended (that unknowingly started humankind into all this digital social mess ;-) ).

In closing, I will attempt to provide a brief synthesis and closing to conclude this week’s reading assignment. I think that digital media and the internet has the unique power to make the world a more equal place for all. I think this is how it was intended when it was envisioned and built, but I think a handful of people’s greed and business interests seek to build on the majority’s good intentions and desire for inclusion for all people. Two ways that I think could encourage this positive ethic and intention in designers and developers is to 1. apply the principle of ‘care ethic’ in all design ventures and 2. Encourage broad adoption of a code of ethics for designers, similar to the oath a doctor would take prior to service with patients (but obviously a little less focused on life and death, but rather access and value in intentions).

I am particularly interested in adapting the physicians Hippocratic oath into a guiding document for designers and inventors., so I wanted to share it here for your consideration too. The current medically-focused oath reads as:

“I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
  • I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.
  • I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.
  • I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.
  • I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient's recovery.
  • I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
  • I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.
  • I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.
  • I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.
  • If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.
—Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.”

We have great powers as designers to shape the experiences in our world to elevate all of humankind for higher purposes, or to harm and control. We have power in the way we design things and to which attributes we craft. We can also be the gatekeepers and choose not break our own values just for monetary gain or otherwise negative purpose. May we all design with integrity and care.

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