‘Promiscuous’ – having or characterized by many transient sexual relationships – “she’s a wild, promiscuous, good-time girl”.
Does something about that sentence seem a little off to you? It should.
An Aussie campaign called ‘Redefine Women’ has actually convinced Google to change some of their dictionary sample sentences that were super sexist.
Last year, two Australian women, Georgia Patch and Kiah Nicholas, launched ‘Redefine Women’, a campaign aimed at tackling sexist dictionary definitions that used gendered example sentences to help define specific words (like the above).
Their first target: Google. And already we’ve seen some changes.
Chatting with Pedestrian last year, Patch and Kiah Nicholas. said:
“Redefine Women is about changing perceptions of women starting with definitions. We realised that definitions were reinforcing prejudices against women [and] knew we had to do something.
We perceive Google as a progressive company, and we’re reaching out to them for help. They’re an aggregator, we know they’re not the ones publishing [the definitions]. But they’re so powerful, I think together we can make a big change.”
Fast forward a year and Google have started addressing the example sentences that pop up when you search words such as conniving, shrill, dumb, whinge and promiscuous into the engine, giving them a gender neutral edit.
For example, until recently, the sample sentence for shrill read “the rising shrill of women’s voices”. It now reads, “a shrill laugh”.
Or promiscuous, which has been changed from “she’s a wild, promiscuous, good-time girl” to “promiscuous teenagers“.
“A nagging wife” has been changed to “a nagging person”. And “she let off steam by having a good whinge” is now “stop whingeing and get on with it!”
And….well, you get the picture.
Good shit, Google. We like your stuff.