The more I look, the more I notice how often people speak as though everyone in the world is male. Ever noticed how many people when driving refer to all other drivers as he even though they can’t see the person clearly enough to tell? “What’s he doing?” “Jesus, I nearly hit him; he needs to look where he’s going!” All animals are “he” if you can’t immediately identify their sex. I tried referring to a spider as “she” just to see how people would respond and predictably they said things like “why ‘she’?” Never mind the fact that if you see a spider in your house it’s most likely female. Everyone and everything is male until proven otherwise. If you call a spider “he,” nobody bats an eyelid.
Certain…corners of the internet are particularly awful for erasing women, feminine people and those who are attracted to men. I read one social media site for less than 10 minutes and came across the following:
1) An old riddle: “A beggar’s brother died. But the man who died had no brother. How can this be?” This only works as a riddle because people assume in the first instance that “a beggar” must be a man.
2) A screenshot of a Facebook profile photo showing JUST someone’s tattooed (and not at all hairy) arm. All of the 10+ commenters without exception assume the arm and tattoo belong to a man, even though the person’s name clearly showing in their Facebook profile is Laura.
3) A status about “…I was once swimming around in my dad’s testicles….” I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of these and I have never once seen “when I was an egg…” which would be far more accurate as it’s the egg that gets fertilised and begins to divide thus growing eventually into a person! It’s as if some people can’t fathom the idea that they did not start out as something associated almost exclusively with being male.
4) A joke: “One by one, many of my friends have become interested in men as well as women…
I’m just sitting here, watching the world go bi.”
Because “the world” consists exclusively of straight men, obviously.
5) “Sharks aren’t that bad. If a dude came into my house uninvited wearing nothing but a Speedo I’d probably attack him too.”
Only men get attacked by sharks, you know.
Certain sites, for example a lot of Reddit, consist almost exclusively of people speaking as if women don’t exist.