Social Constructs

Living in such a way that one cannot fully embrace themselves, their wishes, their desires, their believes and dreams supports a society less healthy, therefore unsustainable by design.

Whats a social construct?

A social contruct can be referred to as anything that is created by society, those could be particular meanings given to a certain product or practices up to “how we do things”. I also refer to them as “informal societal laws” , laws that do not exist such as in the court room, but laws or interpretations of things and actions shaped over years and even centuries.

Why do social constructs matter for sustainability?

Social constructs influence every day life, starting from how individuals or member of specific groups might be expected to look like, how one should feel or act, what traditions to follow or live up to, what should be liked or not, what one can or cannot do. Social constructs may also lay a foundation on how individuals, groups and even businesses should behave. i.e. not taking public transportation or buying second hand because its “for the poor”. Or having your employees work 8 hours a day. However, 2nd hand products and public transportation are great and research from Denmark shows that employees who work a 6 hours shift are more happy and more productive.

Who creates social constructs?

Society as a whole, different groups and people and also businesses that target their marekting towards selling a specific meaning or practice. There is also the influence of social media, advertisment, news outlets, families, friends etc. While these “outlets” are seperate, they may influence each other over time, and tighten certain informal rules, values and norms we live by.

Why are they important to understand?

Some underyling social laws hold true and they are important; think about not harming each other. Simultaneously, some rules are detrimental to the individual and collective health. Think about the perception that one only finds fullfillment in life with earning a lot of money, when in reality, earning less and consuming smarter can lead to an equally fullfilled life.

Social constructs and conciousness

Conciousness, which is defined as the state of being awake and able to understand what is happening around you , plays an important role in being aware of social constructs and how they affect us.

Sustainability and the Self

Advertisment makes us belief, that we are a product of the things we see and consume. It can be confusing, if the product mismatches ones own identity and because of that creates dissatisfaction. We are many people, with each of them being individual. It is odd to think, that one solution fits all.

On every emotion being valid- SDG3

Society tends to label emotions as positive or negative and attributs emotions towards a specific gender. A consquence is that a society is supported, more scared to share weaknesses, less open to show vulnerability and more likely to compensate suppressed feelings in forms of unhealthy behaviours i.e. overconsumption or anger.

Erase your face- a social dimension on sustainability

As people are aging, their looks change. Almost nothing can be done about it. However, advertisment makes us believe that creams, surgery and other changes help us maintain that youthfull look. However, it is not as important, because what matters most is how you feel within your skin, the things you do and how you use products to support your health.

Feel it- Creating sustainable space to feel

Often homes and spaces are designed according to what they should look like as oppose to how space owners want their homes to feel like. Because of that owners might feel less connected to the materials, and possibly the space used Changing that and using materials to last, can have a positve benefit to how well one feels at home and how long one keep your products.

What are unconcious biases and why do they matter for sustainability?

One of the most known biases is the “confirmation-bias“. It relates to a belief that you hold close i.e. believing that the product you bought or produced is sustainable. To confirm that, you are looking for a support network that verifies that. For sustainability innovations, this can be a challange, because the system, in which the innovation is embedded has huge influences on its success or failure.