Can you pass the pronoun test?
Thanks to whoever is behind the blog “One Hot Mess” for inventing my new favorite game. Take any story about a successful woman, and swap out the pronouns. Does it sound ridiculous? Congratulations! You’ve discovered gender bias, hiding in plain sight.
The genius behind “One Hot Mess” treats us to a New York Times story about Wimbledon champ Serena Williams, rewritten as if it were about Super Bowl champ Tom Brady. Here’s a sample:
“Brady, who will be vying for the Super Bowl title against Russell Wilson on Saturday, has large biceps and a mold-breaking muscular frame, which packs the power and athleticism that have dominated men’s football for years. His rivals could try to emulate his physique, but most of them choose not to. Despite Brady’s success – a victory Saturday would give him four Super Bowl wins – body-image issues among male players persist, compelling many players to avoid bulking up.”
When you’re done reading the whole story, have some fun re-gendering your favorite news stories. And then, if you’re feeling lucky, go take a look at some of your own writing. You might stop laughing then. But maybe you’ll also stop unconsciously (I’m sure you’re good people, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt) perpetuating stereotypes.
It’s a challenge we should all take on, whatever the state of our biceps.