Male Default Is All Ours, Change Is Ours Too

Marketing is communication.

When you’re communicating, accuracy is critical. If you make beer, you say ‘beer’, not ‘fermented beverage’ or ‘drink’ or (heaven forbid) ‘product’.

So when we read, speak and otherwise see messages all around us, what gender is usually identified? The default is male. And that’s not right. It’s wrong. So why is it?

Likely convention and tradition. Both directions we have to change. All emotion aside, it’s a fact that over half of the global population has herstorically been female.

With over half the global population being female, we need to be accurate in our communications. Defaulting to male is inaccurate, sloppy and unacceptable. Here’s a terrific overview of the vagaries of sexism in marketing. I agree. One place that’s long got my scratching my head and getting my goat is the sexism in sports: Women’s Basketball vs Basketball (which assumes men). Who the hell decided that??

Gender words matter - in life & marketing

Gender words matter – in life & marketing

Ever since I went to the World Cup last summer, I have refused to gender ID the event. Athletes all, gender unimportant. And I’m very glad, by the way, to see the US Team putting stops to abhorrent practices thrust only on the women’s team, never the men’s. Real turf anyone? Salary disparities? Totally wrong. By the way when I was searching “US soccer team” for this article, men’s soccer came up; for women I had to scroll down.

It’s also insulting to everyone – all genders – to get it wrong. It takes no more time to accurately identify, when it’s necessary at all, gender in circumstances. Seejane.org is the vision of gender equity coming to life by the brilliant Geena Davis. I recommend checking it out.

As a professional marketer, I’m also incensed when I see crappy sexist images, wording and – watch out – colors. Who said pink was a female color? It’s as ludicrous to say that as it is to say all men are represented by the color blue. Stupid, lazy, and thoughtless. Garbage like that makes me crazy.

Start today. Get it right every time. You can be part of positive, helpful change by thinking first and using appropriate gender words as needed.

And by the way, calling people “guys” isn’t okay either. Egads.

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