Sticking Sex Where it Doesn’t Belong: The Little Things

2010 February 6
by Lizzzzzz

People occasionally get upset with me for being nit-picky about small things relating to gender. Why does it matter if we speak in ways that imply all pizza deliverers are men or say mom when we really mean parent or caregiver? Here’s why I care:

I believe that the more we call attention to gender
differences, the more different the genders appear to be and the more
we excuse or overlook behavior which treats people of different genders not just differently, but unequally.


Here’s a small example of how¬† we can stop emphasizing gender differences when it’s not really necessary, and, in fact, makes more sense not to. Today, I was looking at a crochet/knit site that is collecting bath kits (with knit/crochet washcloths) to send to Haiti. The site seemed really neat, but I was let down when I saw the instruction that we should not send flower-scented soaps because men will get these kits too. But really, we shouldn’t send scented soap because people of any gender might be allergic or sensitive to scents and/or they may not like the scent. Better to send unscented which everyone will be able to get clean with. Sending soap to people who need it isn’t a gendered cause.

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