If you’re anything like me, bridal showers, baby showers, and wedding games all seem incredibly antiquated and unnecessarily gendered. Pink and frilly vs. blue and angular. My personal likes and dislikes have far less to do with my gender and everything to do with my values and individualism. This is a call from creator to creator to acknowledge the importance of inclusive non-gendered content.
What is the difference between gender vs sex?
Gender is a social construct of masculinity, femininity, and everything in-between and outside the box. Some people are non-binary or transgendered. Sex refers to the biological DNA and genitalia your body came equipped with. There is actually a higher percentage of people who are intersex than people with green eyes, but they get even less recognition in our society that loves oversimplifying.
For instance, having a penis doesn’t make you good at being a mechanic. Mechanics became interested in fixing things, spent hundreds of hours under the hood of a car, and learned how to do it and take pride in their skill set. They may have done it with their fathers or friends, but the curiosity and skill is what makes it noteworthy, not your sex.
As another example, baking isn’t something all women love to do, but some really love sweets. The ones who do love baking practiced and learned how to do it well, just like other people who love baking. Women don’t innately love cursive sans serif script- that’s the brand of the gentry class who had the time and resources to practice calligraphy and letter writing as a hobby.
Gender and sex are not the same for everyone.
Everyone on the same page? Good. Let’s continue.
What does gender have to do with content design?
It’s becoming more and more important to address people in non-gendered ways interpersonally, in public, and the workplace. The reason? Respect. By using gender as a design or interest guide, you are eliminating at least 50% of the population, not including the folks that don’t fit into the binary at all. Unless that’s your niche, that’s hugely damaging to your readers and your brand. Like what you like, but acknowledge that your interests and topics are social, not biological.
To be clear, I’m not telling anyone they can’t like things that have been traditionally gendered, because that is also exclusive and harmful. Making assumptions about people’s interests by their gender is at best lazy, and at worst, extremely exclusive to literally everyone else. Let your common interests unite your audience. The rest will work itself out.
Creating Inclusive Non-Gendered Content Tips:
Whenever possible, use gender neutral words:
- In emails, use their first name.
On top of being short and actionable words to address your audience, all of these are gender neutral as a sweet bonus. Simple, right? Being inclusive and welcoming diversity is always a timeless and respectful brand stance. Compassion and inclusion build trust with your audience and also your brand, so why wouldn’t you?
When to utilize demographics:
Audience demographics can be incredibly helpful when you’re creating an ad or content, but unless your niche is gender specific, why? Often times, statistics categories are oversimplified to help gather market data points, but they are reported directly by the audience who have only been given two limited choices that may not apply to them. They are much more likely to offer feedback if you are inclusive. Cast a wide net and create audience segmentation to customize the way you speak to them on a smaller scale later into your relationship.
The importance of creating inclusive non-gendered content means your brand can appeal to anyone if they feel welcome. Set a place at your table and see who shows up for dinner.
P.S.- This entire post was made without a single gendered pronoun, and you got the gist just fine. For a larger conversation about creating non-gendered content and using gender neutral language, check out The C Method’s podcast.