An Autistics Guide To Corporate Social Responsibility

I want to reiterate that these are my own views and do not necessarily reflect the views of others.

You’ve probably noticed that my blog has critiqued certain sponsorships that I have found troublesome. I wanted to come up with something that would be a good, sharable reference point.

One :: Imagery & Colour Usage

If you want to create a favourable first impression, utilizing a puzzle piece and/or blue immediately raises red flags. Firstly, the image and colour combination evokes negative thoughts of Autism Speaks, which is known for their harmful PSAs, “Cure” culture and questionable distribution of funds. Secondly, The puzzle piece implies that there is something is missing or needs fixing.

Two :: Words/Terminology

When Autism is used as a negative or scare tactic, that is not considered to be favourable.

I  recently read the side of a case of beer and was appalled at the copy.

“Affected by Autism”, “have Autism” and my interaction with their social media team interjected the word awareness in to our conversation twice. I have also noticed that they switch from capitalizing Autism to not capitalizing it. There is no consistency. Other promotions have also used words like “hope” which is demeaning and not at all empowering.

Three :: Transparency

In reference to the case of beer, they mention things like “Autism now affects 1 in 68 children with boys being four times more likely to have autism than girls.  It is the fastest growing developmental disorder with 1% of the world’s population affected by Autism.” without citing any sources. They have also said “…remains dedicated to supporting Autism research in Canada.  Since 2012 more than $600,000 has been raised and donated towards better understanding Autism and how to effectively diagnose and treat the condition.” – this time they have left out exactly WHO is running this research. They have also failed to provide the information of what would be an effective way to diagnose and treat the condition.

Four :: Representation and consultation

When running a promotion: REPRESENTATION matters. Most of the companies I have reached out to have been individuals at the top of the business with an Autistic child. I have had some really negative interactions with affluent parents pledging money to Autism Speaks, business owners who run AUTISM AWARENESS promotions with a portion of the funds going to different organizations and companies running contests where they not only hire a non-Autistic artist, but they utilize the harmful imagery I mentioned in section 1.

If you want to do right by Autistic people, go on to twitter and search #ActuallyAutistic to see the voices of Autistics. You can also look up Neurodiversity and Neurodiversity consulting. You’ll find yourself someone who is incredibly qualified: an Autistic person.

It’s so important to embrace what Autistic people have to offer and this is the proper way of doing so – instead of creating a very offensive campaign.

Five :: Responding to Customer complains

If someone complains to you, instead of explaining yourself immediately, please listen. Please pledge to change and give ways you plan on improving the campaign if you choose to run it again. Understand that yes, if you have an Autistic child that they will grow in to an Autistic adult–We are some of your greatest resources. Don’t talk down to us. Don’t lessen our complaints with ableist speak. Listen. Commit to change.

Six :: Suggestions

A few things a business can do:

Two New Videos!

Why ‘Bell Let’s Talk’ doesn’t sit well with me.

I want to make it evidently clear that I am all for mental health awareness and supporting related causes. I have always struggled and believe that funding is entirely necessary.

Bell is a Canadian Telecommunications giant. For one day each year, the #BellLetsTalk campaign overtakes social media, with Olympian Clara Hughes as their Spokeswoman.

They make sure you are aware of the campaign through every advertising platform imaginable. I can’t imagine the money they put in to advertising alone.

They utilize the hashtag to get their customers and even non-customers talking about it to which they make a donation to their own fund.

I just don’t think this is the right way to do it. I have most definitely had real-life disagreements on this subject as well.

Here’s why I don’t think it’s okay:

  1. According to Forbes, Bell Canada (BCE) has a market cap of 40.5 Billion Dollars.
  2. Bell’s employees do not get equal or fair treatment in regards to their own mental health. CBC has written about this and there are various other articles online too.
  3. They have various ways you can get involved and they donate 5 cents to different initiatives. As far as I am concerned, they can make a sizeable donation without using the hashtag to, essentially, get very cheap marketing for their brand.
  4. The Bell Community Fund has a financial cap of $25,000 and has all kinds of exclusions including: Anti-stigma projects and event sponsorships etc.

I believe we should get to the point where talking about our mental health is a regular thing we can participate in and completely free of judgment. I don’t believe it is right to capitalize on mental health/wellness/illness for financial gain. I also don’t think it should be segregated to one day of the year that is decided on by a multi-billion dollar telecommunications giant.

Let’s talk about it, I think we need a new hashtag.

#LetsTalkAboutMentalHealth maybe?

Margaux

Disclaimer: This is my own opinion and should not reflect the brands or companies I have graciously partnered with.

My plight as a Millennial

I never decided to be part of the Millennial or Me Generation.

I have heard that nearly half of Millennials rely on their parents for financial help! I think there’s a very common misconception that we all have that “luxury”, Simply put: We don’t.

Being nearly 30 years old, I have always known I do not want to have children. I am perfectly content with my beautiful, spoiled rotten Cats and constantly worry about the economical and environmental state of our fragile planet.

I have had plenty of time to potentially advance my career. I never knew what to pursue. The idea of student debt is a frightening preposition. In hindsight, I could have gone in to some kind of broadcasting or film job but it’s very oversaturated and there is never a guarantee that I could or would be able to make ends meet.

That brings me to my next subject, home ownership.

There is absolutely no way in today’s climate that I would ever be able to own a home. Firstly, I work at a job I enjoy but it’s only minimum wage. (surprise, surprise!) Secondly, with homes starting in the million dollar range, my only hope would be winning the lottery and, to be honest, I would probably skip town if that ever were to happen.

My social life is virtually non-existent. It’s so funny how we are in the age of technology and social media. Yet, we are so incredibly disconnected from each other.

I will say that I’m a content creator. There’s nothing truly unique about that other than my autistic perspective. That, sometimes, can sadly be seen as limited or not equal to the rest of the population. There are lots of us who want to change that often misunderstood perception and believe me: I’m working on it!

If  you happen to have baby boomer parents like me (or the generation that followed), some (not my own) don’t always understand what we go through.  For instance, I have heard of parents who own their home and can’t understand that their offspring will ever have the chance to be able to have the same lifestyle as them. That can really cause some deep family conflict. I often wonder if a common ground or sense of understanding  can happen here because the divide is so deep.

I would love to see affordable housing, an increased hourly wage and more support. I also believe that healthcare needs more funding. We really need to consider how all these things impact our mental health because I truly believe the state of the economy, the planet and our changing and dividing times impact us more then we even know and it’s not always positive.
Photo Credit:Nathan Dumlao

What’s my time worth?

I have been suffering from some of the worst anxiety lately. Sleepless nights accompanied by cold sweats, tossing and turning and waking up repeatedly. I’m irritated during the day and I want to be silent at night.

I’m wholeheartedly frustrated.

I feel like I’m someone who can relate to a fuzzy picture on an old television. Sometimes it’s in focus and sometimes it’s just completely static.

 

When I reach out to corporations and companies I hope my time is valued. I hope that the work I put in to it is either offered with some kind of trade like being provided a service in exchange for a review.

So here I am.

I approached one of the largest computer/tech companies.

They are trying to create a resurgence in the marketplace with products marketed to Millennials in hopes that they will be converted from silver products to colourful cubes. Oh, did I mention their net worth is 200+ BILLION DOLLARS? 

Naturally, I would have expected compensation for my time. Knowing a computer is an expensive and hefty piece of equipment to offer me, I would have been happy with  money that I could use to reinvest in items for my blog (a microphone?!) to better my content.

Apparently this corporation does not have the budget to pay me to essentially borrow their item and spend time analyzing it and reviewing it. I am just entirely blown away and what I’m trying to do is show neurodiverse (and neurotypical) individuals products that would enhance life. I like to interject my own humour and thoughts. I love to interact with all of you and hear your precious feedback.

Brands: Please value our time as bloggers. If you say you’re going to cross promote us, please post our content on your website and channels as well. Please provide us some kind of incentive and show us that we are appreciated. Please WORK with us.

Margaux

 

Fundraisers and Charity Events

I’m not really here to knock the amazing work different foundations do (not all of them).

I just find it quite curious how voices continue to be silenced. I feel like there’s so many Autistic advocates who would be very interested in the opportunity to be heard by a room full of people who can make a change by donating funds.

I am aware that companies do this because, for the most part, it makes THEM look good.

Recently, a local Autism Centre had a lavish winter fundraiser with plenty of large companies and corporations who were quite pleased to contribute monitarily.

I was on twitter when my feed was absolutely bombarded with images of the event. My Boyfriend reminded me this was a BUSINESS FUNCTION and of course they are going to exclude Autistic individuals and that it’s more of a PR event.

I have been doing my very best to get the word out because I believe that people who are Autistic can contribute their voice to these kind of issues. When I found out about this event while it was happening I quickly sprang in to action.

Not only did I write each and every company that contributed, but I also wrote the board of directors for the Autism Centre that hosted the event. I did get one response which said I could BUY A TICKET for the event or I could become an “advocate” for this centre by making a $15 donation. Seems kind of backwards.

Please, Include us. Consider us as very knowledgeable advisors. Listen.

Margaux

 

Art, my passion!

Creating videos is something i’ve grown to love. I wanted an opportunity to showcase some of my favourite art i’ve made. It would mean a whole lot to me if you could watch this video!

New Reviews: Carina Organics & PureBites

I’ve posted a couple new youtube videos this last week, check them out!


PlanetBox Rover Review!

Thank you PlanetBox for sending me this product in exchange for my very honest review.

This is the Rover model, It’s a stainless steel bento-style lunchbox which amps up your creativity and can definitely promote the healthiest lunches. Perfect for Adults & Kids alike. I am in a childfree household but I could see my Niece and Nephew loving this for School. You have your choice of many different magnet designs to excite, create fun and personalization. There are two “dippers” which can hold dips, sauces, fruit and much, much more!

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I opted to create a delicious meal full of produce, crackers, cheese and cookies! The possibilities are truly “sky-high”. Without the magnets, the box can be hand washed or put in the dishwasher.

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You can also get your choice of a variety of lunch bags which perfectly fit your PlanetBox. There’s room for an ice pack, utensils, a drink and a pocket in the front for napkins or even more food.

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Thank you PlanetBox, I can’t wait to use this year round and in Summer-time. It’s going to make picnics really easy. Also great for those who can’t STAND their food touching other food–it’s perfection, all in one!

 

#MyFujifilm #XA3

I was SO excited when Fujifilm agreed to send me this camera to review. The quality of images is super fantastic and it makes photography easy and accessible for all!

 

I’m so impressed. I couldn’t believe the kind of images I was able to capture and the fact I didn’t have to fumble around with the settings. I still need to go through the manual and read it over.

For more information, please check out:
http://www.fujifilm.ca/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_x_a3/

THANK YOU FUJIFILM for providing me with this camera in a complimentary fashion.