From the World of Conscious Language

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

What Are We Teaching Boys When We Discourage Them From Reading Books About Girls? | The Washington Post

“What happens to a boy who is taught he should be ashamed of reading a book about a girl? For feeling empathy for a girl? For trying to understand how she feels? For caring about her? What kind of a man does that boy grow up to be?”

5 Ways Parents Can Help Kids Understand Consent and Prevent Sexual Assault | The Washington Post

“Assault is sexual touching or other sexual activity without consent. Many young people don’t understand the range of behaviors that actually constitute assault. Parents need to explain what these violations mean and provide specific, concrete examples.”

Many Ways to Be a Girl, but One Way to Be a Boy: The New Gender Rules | The New York Times

“Half of boys said they’d heard men in their family make sexual jokes or comments about women; those boys were more likely to feel pressure to be tough and play along with sexism. An even bigger share, 82 percent, said they had heard someone criticize a boy for ‘acting like a girl.’”

Warning Kids About Digital Privacy Doesn’t Work. Here’s What Does. | Consumer Reports

Five tips—each with excellent conversation starters—to help you talk to kids about their online choices and how they can become savvier digital citizens.

Why We Must Stop Relying on Student Ratings of Teaching | The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Our research shows they’re biased against women. That means using them is illegal.” —Kristina Mitchell, co-author of “Gender Bias in Student Evaluations” study

The Dictionary Is Gendered: “Hysterical” as an Insult to Women | Dictionary.com

“The evidence is overwhelming that ‘hysterical’ is used most often in reference to women, and that most of the female-tilted uses of ‘hysterical’ refer to actions that are negative in connotation or meaning.”

False Reports of Sexual Assault Are Rare. But Why Is There So Little Reliable Data About Them? | Pacific Standard

“Misconceptions about false reporting contribute to underreporting, a very real and widespread phenomenon.”

Citation in the #MeToo Era | Edge Effects

“Citing underrepresented writers and scholars is simply ethical practice; if it also entails obviating abusers, all the better.”

Challenging Visual Stereotypes of Masculinity | The New York Times

“Disabled people never seen themselves in a fashion magazine or in a fashion show. Why? They care about what they wear and about their sexuality. They want to look hot, too. I feel that fashion has a big role in changing people’s gaze.”

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Positive examples of conscious language, with a focus on YA books and kidlit.
A montage of Instagram posts on @consciousstyleguide.

White People Are Still Raised to Be Racially Illiterate. If We Don’t Recognize the System, Our Inaction Will Uphold It. | Think

“Imagine instead, if the story of Jackie Robinson went something like this: ‘Jackie Robinson was the first black man whites allowed to play major-league baseball.’ This telling acknowledges the role of white control.”

“People” Aren’t Divided on Kavanaugh’s Confirmation. White People Are. | The Root

“Parsing out this data matters, because if journalists don’t, they can misleadingly run with narratives like the one in a recent article from the AP, which boldly declared in the headline: ‘Many women line up in support for Kavanaugh.’ Not black women. And, as the numbers suggest, not Latinas either. And to suggest otherwise—to erase women of color or absorb them into this narrative—is incorrect.”

Criminal Justice Reform Phrase Guide | The Opportunity Agenda

New resource added to our site: The “Criminal Justice Reform Phrase Guide” offers five tips for effective and appropriate language (with multiple phrasing suggestions for each).

The Comforting Fictions of Dementia Care | The New Yorker

“Although some nursing homes have strict rules about being truthful, a recent survey found that close to a hundred per cent of care staff admitted to lying to patients, as did seventy per cent of doctors.”

How to Have a Better Conversation About Mental Illness | The New York Times

“The narrative that ‘mental illness does not discriminate’ and ‘mental illness can happen to anybody,’ which has been important in tackling stigma, has had the unintended consequence of disguising the political and economic dimensions of the way that mental suffering, and the treatment of suffering, is unfairly distributed.”

Words Matter When Talking About Pain With Your Doctor | NPR

“If today’s pain scale isn’t working well for patients and doctors, what’s the alternative? Many health care providers are trying to come up with a system that involves words, not numbers.”

Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong | Highline

The negative words used by medical professionals to describe fat people reflect a deep prejudice and is out of step with the current body of scientific research on obesity and health.

Stop Asking Me If I “Saved Room” for Dessert | Eater

“Of course, it’s not a server’s responsibility to manage the psychological machinations of an eating-disordered brain. But, as the term ‘hospitality industry’ suggests, restaurants are meant to be welcoming places; and if managers better understood what their service staff might be doing that could trigger someone with an eating disorder, it would be a big step toward creating a space that feels inclusive to everyone.”

In Case You Missed It

You Are Where? The Name Gentrification of Low-Income Neighborhoods | Conscious Style Guide

What to do when trendy areas take the name (and reputation) of a culturally rich low-income neighborhood.

September 2018 Newsletter

Read about the new online style guide from “Self” magazine, the “Disability Writing & Journalism Guidelines” from the Center for Disability Rights, a “Teen Vogue” how-to for using gender-neutral words, and more.​​​​​​​


From the Archives

When “Coming Out” Puts People in the Closet | Conscious Style Guide

#NationalComingOutDay is a great time to consider the assumptions behind some uses of “coming out.” Keeping information from the public isn’t the same as being closeted, for example, and mentioning new information concerning sexual orientation or identity isn’t necessarily “coming out.”

From Bias and Blame to Balance: Sensitive Style for Covering Sexual Violence | Conscious Style Guide

“News stories about sexual violence demand greater sensitivity in their details, portrayals, and narratives than do stories unrelated to trauma.”

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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