Moving Beyond “Default” Language in Pop-Culture Criticism | Conscious Style Guide
Television has grown marginally more diverse in recent years. The language used by critics—and anyone else who writes about popular culture—needs to catch up.
A recent and convenient case study: On May 6, two new half-hour television dramas premiered, back to back, on the Starz network. Each show takes place in a major American city and uses a restaurant as its central location. Each is geared towards a young, female audience and features, as its central characters, twenty-something women navigating issues of careers, identity, sex, and love.
But the language surrounding these two sister shows helps illustrate a deep-seated bias in the way entertainment is too often received and described. Read more
CSG in the News
“One linguistically creative example uses the homophones mǐ (‘rice’) and tù (‘rabbit’) as a clever transliteration of #MeToo, giving #RiceBunny a hashtag as well as emojis.”
The firm-wide #ThatsNotCool campaign provides a mechanism for lawyers and support staff to call out poor word choices and inappropriate comments on the spot.”
“The way we use language matters. [The r-word] has been so stigmatized that it can no longer ever be just descriptive language,” says Heather McEntarfer.
A new social media campaign is addressing the use of the r-word by sending video messages from someone affected by the word directly to someone who just used it.
“Rainbow Youth communications manager Toni Duder said something as small as asking which gender pronouns a person uses, instead of assuming based on their physical identity, would help young people in our LGBTIQ+ community feel ‘safe’ and ‘accepted.’”
“At Tinder, we believe that no one should ever feel unrepresented or unseen. Love is universal, and it’s time for interracial couples to be represented in our universal language.”
France’s advertising regulator and leading advertisers signed a charter pledging to “abolish ‘sexist or sexualized stereotypes’ of men, women, girls and boys. The idea is to name and shame companies that rely on sexist clichés.”
Making Letters and Emails Gender-Inclusive | Government of Canada
Some simple techniques you can use to write letters and emails that are inclusive of all gender identities, from the Canadian Translation Bureau.
Conducting Interviews With Kids: Do’s and Don’ts | Columbia Journalism Review
“Don’t forget the basic step of asking a child, regardless of their age, if they want to be interviewed.”
I Didn’t Understand Male Privilege Until I Became a Stay-at-Home Dad | The Washington Post
“Raising awareness and listening are important steps, but I also wanted to know how to best respond when given undeserved attention.”
It’s a Theyby! Is It Possible to Raise Your Child Entirely Without Gender From Birth? Some Parents Are Trying. | The Cut
“‘Gender neutral’ is a term that tends to be rejected by people parenting this way—in lieu of ‘gender open,’ ‘gender affirming,’ or ‘gender creative.’”
I’m a Female Chef. Here’s How My Restaurant Dealt With Harassment From Customers. | The Washington Post
At Homeroom, cofounder and chief executive Erin Wade has implemented a system for dealing with harassment that “prevents women from having to relive damaging stories and relieves managers of having to make difficult judgment calls about situations that might not seem threatening based on their own experiences.”
“Precious Brady Davis says that she uses the label trans* to describe herself because it’s ‘undefinable.’ While that may be true in some senses, the experts at the Oxford English Dictionary have still given it their best shot.”
Orientalism Is Alive and Well in American Cinema | BuzzFeed News
“Orientalism shows up onscreen—in films, on television, in music videos—with so much more regularity than good faith representations do that pushing back against it has been a steady drumbeat in Asian American activism for decades now.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.