Andy Rutledge

Culture Fail:A Man’s Guide To
Design Conferences

December 19, 2014 | By Andy Rutledge

If you’re a designer, a man, and you’ve been paying attention, it’s likely that you’ve noticed something peculiar in articles and discussion about design conferences lately. Over the past five years or so, they’ve begun to assume a specific tone and subject. The tone is fearful, accusatory, and dogmatic and the subject most often describes, in its various incarnations, the supposed tyranny of men. I’m a man and I find this trend a bit bewildering.

These articles and discussions are almost always written or initiated by women. Well, not women, per se; “feminists” is more accurate; some of whom are male, but just behave as females. The distinctive quality of these articles and discussions is that they are concerned almost entirely with emotions—the private, varied, subjective feelings invented on a whim in the mind of those who hate and fear men.

These women womyn insist you live your life according to their feelings. In other words, these women insist you live according to irrationality.

In this type of article or discussion, a woman’s emotions will be described in some detail, justified in various ways, codified into an irrational and immoral ethos, and then presented as the moral basis for specific actions that will affect everyone involved with a design conference. The specified actions vary, but they generally follow a blanket indictment of some group: usually men. Almost always Caucasian men. The specified action typically involves a commandment for men to cease causing some specific emotion or range of emotions in the minds of women (or members of some supposedly threatened group defined AND SPOKEN FOR by the Cult of Diversity). These articles or discussions typically then conclude with an ultimatum or two.


While articles are yet being written and discussions still occur, the discussion is actually over. Design conferences belong to the feminists now; both the irksome, accusing, female kind and the sniveling-beta-male variant that serves them.

If you’re a rational, moral, male designer, the conference environment is now quite dangerous for you. “Unwelcoming” is the feminist term. You could probably use some advice. Here’s mine.

Don’t Go To Design Conferences

The best possible advice for designers—men or women—is do not attend.

Any information offered at a design conference can be found in the presenter’s articles and/or videos, for free, any day of the week. So there is nothing of value to be found at a design conference, beyond fellowship. But the feminists have destroyed fellowship. Fellowship is fraught with emotional discomfort and chance. Unless the fellowship is several feminists finding solace in the uniformity of their fears and hatred of male hegemony, it is likely too-inappropriate a fellowship in which to engage.

If fellowship involves a Caucasian male, the other participants are now said to be subjects under sexist, racist patriarchy—said fellowship was actually an injury or other sort of offense upon the (non-white, non-male) participants. If you are Caucasian and male and didn’t perceive any injustice during the fellowship, well that’s just because your patriarchal privilege renders you incapable of the requisite sensitivity to injustice. Which is also a horrible crime, you horrible person.

A design conference today is just a venue for feminists to celebrate the dogmatic structures and strictures they’ve created, while meticulously evaluating human interactions for offense. All the conference is a stage and we are merely players. So learn your feminist-approved lines, lest ye be cut from the cast.

If You Do Attend, Beware

Some of you will not take my best advice and may foolishly decide to attend a design conference. So for those of you who make the poor choice of going, keep some things in mind:

Your (male) presence at a design conference creates what today’s Inquisitional authorities call an “unwelcoming environment.” Know that by your mere presence you have already transgressed the New Rules of design conferences. You are guilty. If you do not spend your time there apologizing to the feminists for your presence and criticizing the other offenders it means that you are not only guilty, but unrepentant.

Your unrepentant, male presence contributes to the tyrannical, white-male hegemony that, we’ve come to learn, has plagued design conferences since they began. Your choice to attend results in a horrible perpetuation of male domination; a factor that the feminists and beta males in attendance are working hard to eradicate. Your presence is an affront to their noble, liberating work.

More consequential for you, your presence will undoubtedly result in emotions—negative, fearful, unwelcomed sexual emotions—in the minds of the attending feminists. You, sir, are treading on thin ice and it will be a miracle if you are not accused and brought up on sexual assault charges.

No, seriously. Your heroes may be Massimo Vignelli, Erik Spiekermann, and Edward Tufte, but these feminists’ heroines are a vicious and evil bunch. In fact, here are a few quotes from the people who shape feminist ideology:

 “All men are rapists and that’s all they are.”
- Marylyn French
“All sex, even consensual sex between a married couple, is an act of violence perpetrated against a woman.”
- Catherine MacKinnon
“Men who are unjustly accused of rape can sometimes gain from the experience.”
- Catherine Comins
“I do want to be able to explain to a 9-year old boy in terms he will understand why I think it’s okay for girls to wear shirts that revel in their superiority over boys.”
- Treena Shapiro
“Under patriarchy, every woman’s son is her potential betrayer and also the inevitable rapist or exploiter of another woman.”
- Andrea Dworkin
“The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.”
- Sally Miller Gearhart, in “The Future—If There Is One—Is Female”
“The more famous and powerful I get, the more power I have to hurt men.”
- Sharon Stone
“The nuclear family must be destroyed… Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process.”
- Linda Gordon

There are countless other examples, but these few should provide fair insight into the ideology that is shaping design culture these days. If you’re a man, the design conference landscape is, to use mambypamby parlance, unwelcoming and filled with hidden (and not-so-hidden) landmines. Be careful; your career and reputation depend on it.

No Control

While I admonish you to be careful, you cannot actually be careful enough. One of the more dangerous aspects of the rules and strictures these man-hating feminists require of design conferences is that they are entirely involved with how women feel. Therefore, there are no objective measures for your actions or words, only subjective emotional measures that are invented in the man-hating minds of feminist ideologues from moment to moment. Yes, even if you escape without having seemed to cause any discomfort in others at the conference, upon reflection, some may discover that you were brutish and made them feel creeped out or dominated. Perhaps your comeuppance is pending, vile male.

When you do what a normal person does at a conference and approach and speak to a fellow conference attendee, you have no control over how your words and behavior will be perceived. Your friendly smile and, say, invitation to talk about that last presentation session over coffee, will in the mind of one person be perceived as friendly and innocuous. In the mind of someone else, though, it may be perceived as creepy or threatening or sexual. You have no control over the person’s feelings or perceptions.

And God help you if you accidentally brush you hand across theirs while gesturing in conversation.

Human beings are emotional creatures and there is usually nothing at all wrong with the irrational emotions we invent in our minds. The fact that interactions produce emotions is entirely natural. A problem arises, however, when one imagines that one’s emotions are anyone’s business but one’s own.

Emotions are relevant to nothing on earth and to but one person: the one experiencing them. They’re a private matter and should stay private while the individual attempts to rise above irrationality and engage in rational thought. And while it is generally rude and tiresome to share or impose your emotions on someone else (other than those associated with love, and with the object of your affections), insisting that others behave and otherwise live their lives according to your emotions is just plain awful. Only horrible people do such horrible things.

But codifying those private, by-definition-irrational emotions into an enforceable policy, rule, or law…well, that is tyranny.

Emotions are entirely subjective. As such, it is impossible for another to control some subjective invention in the mind of another. Rules, policies, or laws that require people behave so that they do not cause some other person to experience some particular emotion overflow the bounds even of idiocy.

As a man at a design conference these days, this is precisely the stricture to which you are required to adhere. It is impossible and you are a fool to try.

MambyPamby, The Destroyer

Due to the feminist/diversity movement’s corruption of design culture, the days of different individuals choosing to attend a design conference (the very definition of diversity), hanging out together, enjoying each others’ company, and listening to and interacting with presenters are over. It may seem like this still happens, but when the conference is over the articles will be published and the indictments and accusations will be invented and leveled upon offenders. You see, someone was made to feel UNCOMFORTABLE!

The act of individuals making individual choices has, by the Cult of Diversity, been exposed as only ever resulting in tyranny. The New Rules, described by the Cult of Diversity, say that individuals must be divided into groups and those groups must be represented at the conference according to strict quotas (also defined and enforced by the Cult of Diversity).

Today, if you are not carefully searching for offense and then describing your emotions to others and opining as to how white men are ruining everything and then insisting how The Rules must change and under what conditions you will or will not participate in the future, you’re part of the problem, brother! I mean, sister.

* * *

Background image: Elhay Helman | Femen Israel bursts onto the stage at Tel Aviv Pride 2014, to protest homonormative community priorities that leave already oppressed groups such as bisexuals, transgenders, and other gender non-conforming identities out of the loop