From Ancient Religious rituals that washed away the Sin and Medici schemes of ‘Selling Forgiveness’, to Contemporary practice of Business unethical behavior (such as greenwashing), washing seems to be an universal remedy. And when washing is coupled with greed and coins, the results obtained were in favour of the Few at the expense of the Many. Society will need all its creative talents, to understand washing syndromes, to find an antidote or a new system. Future Jobs might be: X-washing investigator, headshrinker, anti-X-washing innovation specialist.
It all started innocently with rituals of sin-washing – different religions around the world have rituals that use water “to wash away sins”.
For instance, Christians use water in the Baptism ceremonies to purify the soul. In India, till nowadays it is believed that the sacred waters of Gange will purify you, and Muslims engage in wudu, the act of washing body parts in clean water, to prepare for worship.
In the Old Testament, Pontius Pilate is described as washing his hands after condemning Jesus to death. Even Shakespeare recognized this link by having Macbeth wash her hands as a way of clearing her guilty conscience after contributing to a murder. Although still debated, the “Macbeth effect” seems to underlie these beliefs.
Psychologists Chen-Bo Zhong and Katie Liljenquist, found out that “a threat to one’s moral purity induces the need to cleanse oneself”.
Washing Away Your Sins: Threatened Morality and Physical Cleansing report written by Chen-Bo Zhong and Katie Liljenquist
published on Researchgate or in National Library of Medicine -NCBI
But, from the innocent water that washed away the sins, the rich started a whole new process where the more coins you had, the fairyer you could become.
Coin lovers, De Medici invented a whole new scheme: you can actually buy your way to become a Saint, by supporting the Church, who in turn will support you.
The Wheel of Power started to work pretty well with/for coins.
Leo X was Pope in Rome, a member of the high-living de Medici family,
invented a new fundraising scheme
selling forgiveness of sins –
and for the right fee relatives could get
a deceased loved one out of Purgatory.
Washing has evolved from the Dark Feudal Ages into Modern Times changing their forms, concepts and cause, but remains related to coins.
Washing is a model that needs all the creative efforts from yesterday’s-world to pull-up The X-Washing Entertainment.
Where X is a known-unknown variable on a wide range of past efforts to maintain highly unethical business behaviours, till future unseen efforts that are coming in the new iterations and visions of our Greedy world.
concretization of the explanation in X
X can be named or re-named in the name of THE CAUSE green, ethics, diversity, etc. So we obtain …
X(green) + washing= Greenwashing. OR X(pink)+ washing =Pinkwashing, but also we can obtain Ethicswashing. So on.
How does this simple equation solve some problems for the few, while complicating the life of others? Here are few examples:
|We face climate change & non-sustainable supply-chains?||/ We solve it through greenwashing|
|We don’t control tech-algorithms created?||/ Ethics washing might just solve the problem|
Customers in some communities don’t want to buy our products? We face criticism from the new diverse generation that is entering the workforce, asking us uncomfortable questions such as: women in companies, career opportunities and development for marginalized youth, etc.
The solutions have never been easier:
Pinkwashing comes handy.
The energy, willingness and funds poured into showing something that doesn’t exist, are remarkable! Basically, companies are so creative that they will do anything
- support conferences and debates,
- write ethics manuals,
- give money to charities,
- even employ ethics or diversity experts , green-experts
A lot of companies do absolutely anything except one thing… make some real changes.
So, let’s see the old and new opportunities that will use creative energy to make things…worse!
And in the end, you will find even a short manual for any
X-washing in 7 easy steps!
Sustainable, green, eco friendly, fair-trade, natural, and so on...
Companies love these words. Definitely these are the favorite words of the PR, marketing or branding departments. But, what about the production, business development? Not so much.
Welcome to the green-washing era, when companies will do everything to prove to you how eco-friendly they are, while continuing to do ‘business-as-usual’.
The term ‘greenwashing’ was coined by environmentalist Jay Westervelt in 1986 and refers to misleading advertisements or false claims by companies that suggest they are doing more for the environment than they actually are.
And from the Creative Industry, fashion was found one of the major culprits, and more specifically fast-fashion.
READ HERE ”Crisis Is Not A Show” the Unfashionable Story about Juan Carlos Gordillo a Designer who do not follow the trends just to be cooler. His choice is to create a new brand based on ethical fashion.
Through his art, he convince people To BE more responsible; not only with the clothes, but also with a style of LIFE. Juan Carlos Gordillo a game-changer and a pioneer of Ethical Fashion
Unsustainable supply chain, textile-waste, use of massive chemicals, exploitation, the crazy consumerist culture that encourages consumers to change their wardrobe every season, and made it ok to buy 5 euro T Shirts, are fashion-sins.
And companies will do greenwashing to make you feel less of a sinner. Some companies were sued and lost, but the practice is continuing…
There are also efforts to change the industry by strategies of circular economy, inventing new materials, rethinking ecosystems, keeping an eye on green-washers.
XR, VR, AR, AI, Blockchain and so on. All these technologies that are developing and come up with new and new products, opportunities and ideas that promise to revolutionise our lives. And we believe them: our life will be changed.
Question is: HOW? Will it be for better or for worse?
Considering the interlink between all these new technologies, when ethics are discussed you have to know all fields.
But, companies know their tech and interest as well, and shareholders want one thing: profits.
And we already have proof that they will whatever it takes to have higher and higher profits. Including Ethics washing.
READ HERE ”XR EthicAll Dilemmas”
TechvangArt highlighted a few risks related to data, stories, danger of embodiments, concerns around ethical-washing, and we recommend a few more in-depth readings for those who are really interested in the field.
Thomas K. Metzinger argues that ethics washing appears when the industry and/or politicians constantly organise and cultivate ethical debates to buy time, to distract the public and to prevent or at least delay effective regulation and policy-making.
Or simply put: apply the rules of old-type-PR: “show that you care, talk about it endlessly, but… let’s avoid doing the real-thing that might change something!”.
Even if realities are contrasting, and statistics show that certain groups are not represented enough, corporations spend huge amounts to tell us otherwise.
Based on PR strategies that say “opinions matter, not facts’ which was once-upon a time a winning strategy.
So can a big PR budget convince the public that great brands are so much diverse? But, it is not all about PR anymore.
A new role is rapidly created inside companies: Chief Diversity Officer – that is supposed to improve representation across ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, disability and class, thus driving cultural change inside the organisation. Even companies that do not allocate this status to such a high level, there are allocating it under the ‘head of diversity’.
A study PUBLISHED on Linkedin
showed that diversity roles were increasing by 71% in the last five years..
Why the Head of Diversity is the Job of the Moment by Bruce M. Anderson
One thing remains, companies love to talk about their efforts to achieve diversity, without actually achieving diversity.
And the NEW Diversity Officers might just be fitting into the definition of diversity washing, when businesses hire members of minority groups in roles that have no real function beyond building fake trust in communities to make more money.
If Diversity Officers will succeed to drive change or will quit massively in the next few years, we will see….
Some subcategories are: pink and gender /washing is mandatory ….
Gone are the days, when creatives had to be so creative to make Gay-ads, but without being too Gay-ad. It was the era of so-called hidden marketing. Now, all that is gone. Because brands proudly pride themselves on supporting pride.
Companies logo are change to rainbows, some queer-friendly ads are popping up, a rainbow company car appears in the pride, executive are putting rainbows on pictures on social media. Still, critical voices say it is not really a change.
Pink washing is all about making big noise inside the LGBTQ+ communities, supporting ¥€$ even financially the non-profits that organise Prides or Parade of Diversity, while all these activities are just about ticking another box in the diversity claims.
Genderwashing is on the rise as well. As more and more voices demand more representation for women. And brands are ready to show us they care.
Some of the tactics used are: -supporting and financing feminist organisations, debates arounde gender equality
–making huge PR around the few women that were selected in some roles
–employing women in some roles but don’t give them enough power, budget,
–using the pink ribbon day to fight breast cancer in order to make another PR appearance (especially if products of companies are somehow high-cancer risk)
Did we forget anything?
Oh, Yes: A lot of things that happend….
And the story can continue…and will continue… If ever this story will change?
Most probably, yes. In time.
And more exactly?
That is a mystery, for sure!
Till then, in the good-old-fashion -way of speedy learning about everything, here is also
to be your genuine business- arsXwhole. (*remember X can be any past, present or future opportunity for any cause)
Creative Tips&tricks on How to be PR-X (X= Feminist, Ethics, Diversity-Friendly, etc)
- State clearly on social media that you are X, and pro–X rights
- Start criticizing some obvious morons about being non-X (you, know, those ones that everyone “love to hate” make sure not to touch the hipster-influencer-non-X)
- Start criticizing other industries for being non-X. So, if you are a journalist – > the sport industry is non-X. If you are from the sport industry – > journalists are non-X. You get it, right? No need to be too aggressive with your own kind.. .
- Find X influencers from your community and share approvingly their posts. Obviously, give likes, hearts and some short comments to X-influencers such as “well said!, totally agree, etc.
- Don’t forget to post wise– empowering quotes from leading Xs…
- If you do have to promote an X in your company, because public opinion requests it, make sure, you don’t give X budget or power.
- Allocate budget for X-debates, X-ads, X-creators to tell your one-day will be X. You can also put in some non-X speakers to tell you about the X-effort you want to make.
With these simple 7 steps, you will be an X-ally, but hey…you still remain buddy with your non-X tribes. 😀