How We’re Challenging Brands to Think About Gender at SXSW 2018

by Angela Yang

In recent years, gender has been a big part of the national discourse. For those who identify as non-binary, the fact that this age-old conversation is now being noticed by the mainstream media is the only thing that’s new. It’s been a long time coming.

The reality is that when it comes to gender, things aren’t as black and white (errr…pink or blue) as they used to be. Brands and marketers at the helm are just starting to scratch the surface of understanding, recognizing and including gender beyond the binary. And there’s still a long way to go.

But our industry isn’t doing enough to respond. Like many problems, the solution starts by looking in the mirror. As marketers, we have the opportunity to help shape and expand the expression of gender and the role it plays in our lives, both negatively and/or positively. When we recognize our role in influencing perceptions, we become more accountable and responsible marketers.

What can T3 do to help marketers and ourselves better reflect the changing norms of gender and identity, and create more inclusive experiences? Also, how can we as an industry drive greater awareness, discussion and participation of challenging stereotypes and assumptions in marketing decisions and business results?

Those are the questions we’re asking at two different panel discussions at SXSW Interactive this year.

How Gender Fluidity Recasts Brand Engagement
March 12, 11 a.m.
Fairmont Hotel, 101 Red River St.
Room – Congressional C

The first event is an official SXSW panel I’ll be moderating on March 12 at 11am at the Fairmont Hotel in the “Congressional C” room. The panelists include Andy Bossley, Senior Manager for Global Marketing Campaigns at IBM, Chelsea Hostetter, Senior User Experience Designer at Goodpatch, and Shane Whalley, owner of Daring Dialogues Consulting and adjunct faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work. They represent a diverse spectrum of viewpoints and come from backgrounds in academia, design and marketing.

Better Than Stereotypes
March 10, 3 p.m.
Omni Hotel, 700 San Jacinto Blvd.
Capital Factory’s Voltron Room

Get your tickets here!

For those without an Interactive badge, never fear. We’ve partnered with the Capital Factory to host a second panel discussion at the Omni Hotel (in Capital Factory’s Voltron room). This event takes place on March 10 at 230pm. The panelists include Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Executive Editor of Teen Vogue, Jordan Guggenheim, Lead iOS Developer at OkCupid, and Jacob Tobia, Author, Influencer and Activist. Our own Sarah Hoffman, Associate Director of Connections at T3, will moderate the discussion.

In addition to the panel discussions we are super excited about an initiative we’ll be launching in the coming weeks that we hope will spark a conversation beyond just one spring weekend in Austin. Check back here for the announcement and for details.

They say change happens when people start to question the status quo. Well, we’re doing do just that at SXSW by asking people and marketers to take a second look at the way they perceive and use gender. It’s time to make a change.


Angela Yang

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