Conservatism is an ideology built around the preservation of “traditional” values and social structures. But those “good old days,” for marginalized groups like women and people of color, were largely a time of oppression. Why would we want to preserve them?
Conservative politicians and thinkers—who have seen great success aligning themselves with racist, xenophobic, and evangelical voting blocs—actively work to strip women of their voices and exclude us from seats of power, proudly champion policy that keeps women out of the workforce and chained to the “traditional” family structure, promote abstinence-only education, shame and blame the victims of sexual assault, and give no credence to the possibility that women are best placed to make decisions about our own bodies.
Broadly speaking, conservatism is bad for women. So, yes, we want a “conservative bad, liberals good take on teen issues.” That is the explicit purpose of the site.
If kids want a “traditional,” victim-blaming, slut-shaming, conservative perspective, many of them can already get that at home or at school. This site aims to provide a counterpoint to that oppressive narrative, for the kids who have none and are struggling because of it.
The lesson for designers is they need to know two things about an audience to make a product cool. First, what does that audience consider normal? (The design can fit slightly outside that mold.) Second, what does that audience consider the limits of abnormality. (The design should not cross it.)
The perpetual concern for consumer designers, in particular, is that too much coolness can be a bad thing in the long run. A design that starts off as cool shifts the lines of conventionality, and then gets imitated so much that it becomes conventional, at which point it can’t be cool by definition.
The OECD’s prescription – more globalisation, more privatisation, more austerity, more migration and a wealth tax if you can pull it off – will carry weight. But not with everybody. The ultimate lesson from the report is that, sooner or later, an alternative programme to “more of the same” will emerge. Because populations armed with smartphones, and an increased sense of their human rights, will not accept a future of high inequality and low growth.