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July 24, 2017 | by  | in VicUFO |
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VIC UFO

Unnecessarily gendered language you might use, and some alternatives!

“Feminine hygiene products.” Tiptoeing around what these products are for adds to the taboo around periods. Also, not everyone who menstruates is female, and not everyone who’s female menstruates! Saying “period products” or “menstruation products” reduces the stigma around periods, is not exclusionary towards trans people, and is just more accurate.

“Women’s health.” There is nothing wrong with this phrase itself; rather, the problem is the context it’s usually used in. “Women’s health” often refers to uterus-specific reproductive health. Not only does this reduce all of women’s health needs to simply those to reproduction, but not all women have uteruses and not everyone with a uterus is a woman.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.” Instead of erasing nonbinary identities, you could be more inclusive? Try “everyone”, or something more personal. You could even say something like “distinguished guests” in a formal context to add some flair.

“Man up.” Using this phrase conflates strength with masculinity and weakness with femininity. We need to create a society where strength is not considered a gender specific trait, and where the stereotypically feminine act of expressing one’s emotions is not undervalued and demeaned. Saying that someone’s “got balls” or needs to “grow some balls” conflates masculinity with bravery and strength, implying that women are timid and weak (you’d never hear someone praise someone’s character with “wow, they’ve really got ovaries!”). This expression is even worse than “man up” because it also conflates genitalia with gender which is inherently transphobic.

Using gendered titles like “chairman” and “postman”, and attaching he/him pronouns to a profession, erases women and nonbinary people and implies that they cannot do certain jobs! Try “-person” suffixes and they/them pronouns! Similarly, saying “women’s football” and “female doctor” just reinforces the idea that male is default and female is “other”.

Alright, thanks for listening, bye now.

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