Written by:2010/08/18 08:29 AM
The internet has brought many people from many cultures from all around the world together. Male and female, black and white, young and old.
All these different groups of people with their own unique characters have opportunity to read your blog and be inspired. Don’t turn them away by explicitly excluding them in your copy.
Write gender and geographical neutral copy as much as possible. Obviously it is not entirely possible, because sometimes the context requires it. Have you considered that most times a person’s gender is not relevant to the story you’re telling. Nor is their geographical location.
Avoiding gender or geographical bias can be tricky. Often times they are built right into our language. Example, manhole, fireman, manager. It seems rather stupid to substitute womanhole, or personhole doesn’t it.
Sometimes it’s just unavoidable. Don’t get caught up with in the male-female argument. Your job is to tell a story.
In many languages, such as Greek, and even English, words take on a particular gender, male female and neutral.
But sometimes its just plan unavoidable. Like the very word woman which literally has the word man in it.
Replace gender specific words
Most gender specific nouns in English are related to some profession or work. Because in most cases both male and female can perform the specific task, its best to use gender neutral words for this.
Take a look at the examples in the table below which I found on the internet.
Do not use
businessperson (or be specific: stockbroker, shopkeeper, store owner, executive, etc.)
mail carrier, letter carrier (for people who deliver the mail); postal worker, postal employee (for any post office employee)
man (a person)
person, individual, human, people
to man (verb)
to operate, to staff
humanity, people, the human race, humankind
synthetic, manufactured, artificial, constructed, handmade, fabricated, handcrafted, machine-made
workforce, staff, personnel, workers, employees, labor, labor force
salesman, saleswoman, saleslady
salesperson, sales representative, sales clerk
Because the internet is so global, specifying geographical places when it is not needed may exclude a whole group of people. Make sure that you only use specific geographical words when the context requires it.
For example, if you say Americans really hate terrorists, Are you implying that only Americans hate terrorists.
Example: When you say African American people have a real raw deal, are you implying that only black people in America or Americans in Africa have a raw deal.
Do not point out cultural specific people, or race or colour. Only use this if the context absolutely requires it. Try not to isolate countries, cities or geographical areas if at all possible.
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