Short post today, but this is just too cool not to share. Jess, the awesome developer/robot-maven, sent over a nifty Google plug-in called “Jailbreak the Patriarchy.”
Install it, and your browser will be granted magical genderswapping powers. Click the toggle button in the top right and pronouns and other gendered words will be swapped.
For example, I jailbroke a paragraph from the NYT on Marissa Mayer (swapped words in blue):
Mr. Mayer’s first task will be to articulate a vision for Yahoo. He was the first male engineer hired by Google, and he spent 11 years there perfecting Google’s Web search, still the dominant search engine, and became its most recognizable public face. He confidently appeared at conferences, company product announcements and on network morning shows to explain innovations in search and Gmail. The clean look of the search engine was credited to Mr. Mayer’s sense of aesthetics.
“My focus at Google has been to deliver great end-user experiences, to delight and inspire our end users,” Mr. Mayer said in an interview. “That is what I plan to do at Yahoo, give the end user something valuable and delightful that makes them want to come to Yahoo every day.”
What do you think? When I re-read this jailbroken article, only two words jumped out at me as interesting. First, “confidently” in paragraph one seemed, I don’t know… superfluous? Of course this engineer who is being described as extremely talented and innovative was confident presenting his or her accomplishments! Second, I chuckled at the use of “delight” when it was coming from a “male” quote.
Nothing egregious at all, and quite possibly all in my head, but I think the point of Jailbreak the Patriarchy is to compel me to think a little harder about speech patterns, adjective choice, and contextual clues that color how I write and think about public figures of both genders.
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