From the World of Conscious Language

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


Searching for Body Positivity in Fantasy | Tor

“Sidelining women through the way they look is definitely the way things often are, but don’t have to be. I can think of few genres better suited to tell stories of a more beautiful world.”

How to Describe Women Without Degrading Them | Mythcreants

“It’s not just men who describe women in problematic ways. While women are less likely to objectify female characters, internalized misogyny can still sneak into our work.”

White Reader, White Writer | University News

“Tell us that your characters are white…Don’t treat white as default.”

Merriam-Webster Updates “Bisexual” Definition to Be Less Binary | Them

“Bi and LGBTQ+ advocates say that [the prefix ‘bi’]—and how it’s used commonly today—is not specifically binary.”

Publishers: Let Transgender Scholars Correct Their Names | Nature

“The issue also affects any person who changes their name on marriage or to avoid an abuser, stalker or harasser.”

“There Is Nothing Minor About Us”: Why Forbes Won’t Use the Term Minority to Classify Black and Brown People | Forbes

“Words matter, especially when they’re inaccurate.”

How the Design Industry Can Confront Racist Terminology | Architectural Digest

“Let’s think a little bit bigger than the words; let’s change the mindset.”

Who Are You Calling Latinx? | The New Yorker

“In Latin American countries, the proposed neuter form substitutes an ‘e’ for an ‘a’ or an ‘o’ (in this case, Latine).”

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It’s Time for Journalism Educators to Rethink “Objectivity” and Teach More About Context | Poynter

“Our identities and experiences can inform the journalism we do, the interviews we get, the access we have to communities and the stories we tell.”

What’s the Difference Between Absentee Ballots & Mail-In Voting? | Romper

“While some states may prefer the term absentee ballot and others use mail-in voting, both terms refer to ballots being delivered through the mail.”

Group Urges Update to Textbooks’ WWII Terminology | Taipei Times

“The Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation urged that the term ‘comfort women’…be changed to ‘military sexual slaves,’ as this term is used in a 1995 UN report.”

N.B.A. “Boycott” or Strike: What’s the Difference? | The New York Times

“Another phrase that found its way into the social media discourse was a so-called wildcat strike, an old term for an unauthorized strike or work stoppage without a vote by union membership”

Has the Skin Lightener Industry Learned From Black Lives Matter? | The Conversation

“Combating the harm of skin lightening in the twenty-first century requires raising consumer awareness and challenging racist beauty ideals.”

Beyond Binary: USC Dance Student Zackery Torres Finds Their Voice | USC News

“Rather than saying, ‘all the men learn this, and all the women learn this,’ Torres feels dancers should be able to pick the part that they feel suits them.”

9 Questions About Trans Issues You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask | Vox

Trans men and nonbinary people assigned female at birth are “frequently erased and marginalized from the reproductive health care they need because of an assumption that this kind of care doesn’t apply to men.”

From the Archives


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

When we use the term coming out automatically, it “push[es] the tired myth that members of the vast LGBTQIA+ community—by default—feel shame about being queer when this is true for only a subset.”

In Case You Missed It


The Conscious Language Newsletter: September 2020

Read about whitewashed recipe writing, a medical student’s efforts to describe how symptoms appear on dark skin, the use of collective delusion to describe QAnon, and more.

Expand Your Perspectives

The Editors of Color Database, a 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. Also home to the Database of Diverse Databases, now with 70 resources featuring underrepresented communities!

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Creative Writing + Conscious Language

Follow @consciousstyleguide on Instagram for examples of how context can support sensitive content, with a focus on young-adult books and kidlit.

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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 .

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