Friday, February 05, 2010

Quick Post: 'Male' as default

I was reading through a news article today when I spotted this little image:

Looks fairly unassuming and inoffensive, right?

Read it again.


Oh, STV link-image-designer. I realize that it would take up an awfully large amount of space in that little box if you were to type 'his or her', and 'hir' still hasn't quite made it into common parlance, but would it kill you to type in 'their'? Lots of people use it as a gender-neutral term. It's only two letters longer. It doesn't break the flow. Most importantly, it doesn't imply that all MPs are male. This probably wasn't your intention, but it's there. When I and many others read 'his', we don't think 'person', we very specifically think 'man'.

Really, this is the 21st century. Despite being in the minority, Britain has had a number of non-male MPs and MSPs for a good while now - by the time I was born, we'd even had a female prime minister, and her time in power was hardly forgettable. There's no excuse, in this day, age and country, for using 'he' as a supposedly neutral default.

1 comment:

  1. You'd think they would want everyone to read the article, not just people with male MP's.