Sexism has different faces. The two most well-known ones are hostile and benevolent sexism - both convey information about the position of men and women in society and the division of their power. Both share assumptions about women's inferiority but differ in some aspects. Hostile sexism communicates openly an iron hand approach, an "antagonistic attitude to women" and is therefore rather easily identified. Benevolent sexism, however, is sometimes more difficult to grasp and therefore more difficult to challenge. It refers to a more positive attitude to the fragile woman that needs to be protected and provided by men. As benevolent sexism with its velvet glove approach makes women feel better about their disadvantaged situation it is said to have "a paliative, system-justifying function" (Calegoro & Jost, 2010).
In a campaign created for United Nations Women, Google autocomplete suggestions were used to raise awareness for sexism.The autocomplete feature is based on the search terms other people have used before.
The campaign used autocomplete searches from 9 March 2013. It was launched in October and inspired a series of spin-off advertisements.
An article in The Guardian says: "Google has become something of a secular equivalent of a confessional box. Within the confines of a search bar you can ask questions or express opinions you would never admit to in public. Our most popular searches are, to some degree, an uncensored chronicle of what, as a society, we're thinking but not necessarily saying. What makes the UN Women campaign so powerful is that it pulls back the curtain of publicly acceptable rhetoric and lays bare just how widespread gender prejudices still are."
The following clip is part of the campaign:
Calegoro, R. M. & Jost, J. T. (2010) Self-Subjugation Among Women: Exposure to Sexist Ideology, Self-Objectification, and the Protective Function of the Need to Avoid Closure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(2), 211-228; photos via
Love the autocomplete idea, clever concept ideed!ReplyDelete
Absolutely. A brilliant idea.Delete
Great campaign, it makes you think, Thanks for sharing, Laura.ReplyDelete
It surely made me think, too. Thank you for commenting, Kenneth.Delete
I just tried it out (autocomplete) and... I hate it. This easily misguides people...ReplyDelete
Yes, it does misguide. The algorithm is based on the most frequent search terms. But I suppose that from a certain point on these search terms are also used because they are offered and not only because people intended to use them which again helps spreading them.Delete
Oh girl! I tried it out too, never noticed that!ReplyDelete
I've just tried it out again in three different languages ... some suggestions were more shocking than others. I wonder what role language or the cultural context Google assumes plays.Delete
Thanks! Great posting!ReplyDelete
Thank you for your kind comment, Wim.Delete
This autocomplete thing turned out to be a blessing and curse at the same time.ReplyDelete
Right, this precisely makes my point. It's a blessing to find a movie etc. But in connection with sexistic nonsense it's crap.Delete
Many thanks for commenting, Tim; thank you, Macy!Delete