Action figures of Missy and the Thirteenth Doctor sit cozily on a couch.Doctor He, She, or They? Changing Gender, and Language, in Doctor Who | Conscious Style Guide

On New Year’s Day the latest series of the venerable British TV show Doctor Who came to end. Since it premiered in 1963, Doctor Who has aired thirty-seven seasons—encompassing over 850 episodes—but this season was special in a number of ways. It was the first series for new executive producer and head writer Chris Chibnall. It was a series that featured unprecedented diversity in the supporting cast, the writer’s room, and the director’s chair. And most importantly, after fifty-five years and twelve previous lead actors, it was the first series to feature a woman (Jodie Whittaker) in the titular role of the Doctor.
Whittaker’s assumption of this iconic role creates a situation that is all but unique in serialized entertainment, and challenges us to reconsider our understanding of gender—and the language we use to discuss it—in fascinating ways. Read more

CSG in the News

The Top 10 Tools for Journalism in 2018 (and 10 Other Things to Bookmark) | Poynter

“If you’re looking for more inclusive and empowering terms than the ones you might find in your normal style guide, this one is your saving grace.” Thanks to Ren LaForme and Poynter for including Conscious Style Guide as one of ten sites “you should bookmark or share with a friend”!

Edit Like a Boss: Cool Tools Help You Master the Trade | Quill

A magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists, Quill named Conscious Style Guide as one of the “most helpful resources” for editing, for our “guidance on words and phrases to avoid, as well as advice on how to re-frame writing and see it through a more socially-conscious lens.”


From the World of Conscious Language

Note: The authors’ viewpoints are not necessarily shared by Conscious Style Guide.

Eat Your Words | Strong Language

Editor Iva Cheung covers food-based slurs, which she describes as “expressions attacking foods that people choose to include in their diets.”

Editor’s Letter: The End of “Anti-Aging,” One Year Later | Allure

“This is not about nine letters that form four syllables—it’s about the motivation behind them.”

Matthew A. Cherry Wants “Hair Love” to “Chip Away at” Negative Stereotypes Around Black Fathers | Essence

“We really went out of our way to make sure the dad looks like any young father that you see today and get away from that stereotype of what a safe Black man looks like.” —Matthew A. Cherry

Why You Should Learn This Design Principle | Lifehacker

“The heart of design isn’t making something look good or feel innovative, but to consider the experience of the end recipient.”

Reducing Gender Bias in Google Translate | Google

“Now you’ll get both a feminine and masculine translation for a single word—like ‘surgeon’—when translating from English into French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish…And we’re already thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations.”

Not Male or Female? Germans Can Now Choose “Diverse” | The New York Times

“The change came more than a year after Germany’s highest court ruled that binary gender designations were discriminatory and in violation of guarantees of personal freedom.”

15 Ways to Bring More Positive Language Into Your Classroom and School | We Are Teachers

“It can be hard to find the kind of mindfulness and positive language we hope to model. Here are a few ways we can do that with just some small adjustments to our words.”

Beacon Press Set to Publish Radical Histories for Teens | Publishers Weekly

A new series of books for young adults will feature stories of underrepresented groups in American history written from diverse viewpoints.

Please Stop Telling My Children They’re “Lucky” | Scary Mommy

“These ‘compliments’ scream an unhealthy message to my children: that we, the parents, are superheroes or saviors, while our kids should be grateful that we swooped in to save them.”


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Follow @consciousstyleguide on Instagram for examples of how context can support sensitive content, with a focus on YA books and kidlit.
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Little People Advocates Push to Change “Midget” Hockey Name | CBC

“An organization representing people with dwarfism is pushing for Alberta hockey teams to remove the [slur] from age categorizations and league names.”

“Pagan” a Bad Term? Unpacking Modern Terminology & Plurality of Faiths | Patheos

People who identify under the imperfect “pagan” umbrella “have one thing in common: we are religious minorities struggling in a society that is codified, stamped, and molded into Christian mindsets and ideas.”

Words Matter: The Language of Suicidal Self-Directed Violence | Psychiatric Times

“The incongruity between recommended reporting guidelines and the language often utilized by the popular press provides evidence of a significant disconnect between the field of mental health and the media.”

Sexual Harassment Poster From Japanese Government Draws Criticism for Seemingly Taking Men’s Side | JapanToday

“The look on [Mikihisa] Azuma’s face in the central photo, as well as the phrasing of the warning in blue, have some online commenters upset over what they interpret as the poster emphasizing the wrong victim.”

It Finally Sinks In That Some People Aren’t White | Nieman Lab

“It’s perfectly fine to write and report specifically about the experience of white Americans, just as it is to write and report specifically about the experiences of members of other racial identity groups…The important thing is that we are aware when we are doing it, and that we communicate it to audiences.”

If We Called Ourselves Yellow | NPR

“Though it’s a slur—in fact, because it’s a slur—it’s the type of word that could force people to face its long, storied history of racism and resistance directly, every time they hear it.”

If You Feel Thankful, Write It Down. It’s Good for Your Health | NPR

“Studies have found that giving thanks and counting blessings can help people sleep better, lower stress and improve interpersonal relationships.”


From the Archives

How to Speak Up Against Casual Hate | Conscious Style Guide

Guidance from the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Going to ACES 2019?

Don’t miss our presentation and Q&A on religion and language! For details, visit our Events page.


Need an Editor? Start Here!

Transparent white strip on top of blood-red background has EDITORS {OF COLOR} knocked out. Below, reads "Tools for Diversifying Your Staff and Sources," followed by editorsofcolor.com.

The Editors of Color Databasea project of Conscious Style Guide, is a free service that connects employers and recruiters with editors, proofreaders, and sensitivity readers of color in the U.S. and Canada. Check it out!


In Case You Missed It

December 2018 Newsletter

Interested in conscious language in the world of religion? The December newsletter includes articles on Hebrew for nonbinary people, positive news coverage of Muslims, and textual notes warning of anti-Semitic passages in the Quran and New Testament.

The Conscious Style Guide newsletter rounds up the best news and blog posts from the world of kind, compassionate, mindful, empowering, respectful, and inclusive language. Note: Spotlighting an opinion is not intended as an endorsement. Please send news tips to love@consciousstyleguide.com.

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