5 Stupid Ways The World Is Accidentally Sexist

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by Pauli Poisuo

We’re not sure if you’re up on the latest research, but the world is currently 63% full of sexism. And to be honest, the only reason that figure is so low is that it was guesstimated by a guy, one who’s very much not up on the latest research.

With this ridiculous amount of gender-related dumbassery floating around, it’s not exactly shocking that some of the sexism out there is purely accidental, or at least born out of the popular human pastime of really, really not thinking things through. What you might be surprised by, however, is just how monumentally stupid some of this stuff is. We’re talking about things like ...

 
 

People Are Less Afraid Of Hurricanes With Female Names

Nature is beautiful. Nature is cruel. But nature can’t be called sexist, no matter how many female insects eat the males after mating. Nature ... well, just sort of is. And then, humanity saunters into the room grabbing all the glorious biological designs and weather patterns in its grubby mitts and declares: “Hey, so I’m going to ruin all of this in a second with a bit of unrelated, but wildly creative sexism.”

Consider hurricanes. You’d imagine that determining the danger one poses would be a fairly simple deal: The stronger the storm, the more dangerous it is. Unfortunately, it’s a bit weirder than that, as research indicates that gender bias is an oddly large factor in hurricane deaths. Seriously.

Here’s how it works: Every severe hurricane is given a name for easy reference and, presumably, catchier headlines. However, a look at the U.S. death rates from hurricanes between 1950 and 2012 revealed a sad bit of everyday sexism, as the hurricanes with feminine names tend to kill up to three times more people than ones with a male moniker. This isn’t because they’re stronger storms, either. People just instinctively respect the damage potential of “Betsy” way less than they would if it was called “Frank.” This causes them to take fewer precautions because, “Ain’t no girly storm gonna hurt me!” and as a result, they risk taking a flying combine harvester to the face.

Pixabay

Pixabay

“That? Oh, it’s just Irene. She’s harmless.”

Which makes us wonder why whomever names hurricanes hasn’t taken this stupidity to its absolute extreme and started exclusively calling them things like “Thorgarr Skullcrusher” or whatever—but maybe they’re stealthily taking a Darwin Awards approach? We won’t speculate or start a conspiracy theory, but we do know that the year 2017 saw the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record, and its name was Hurricane Irma, which you may recognize as being neither male nor obviously threatening. Honestly, it sounds more like something you’d call your drunk aunt after she’s had a bit too much eggnog at Christmas and starts in on some political tirade.

A Sex Toy For Women Is Banned From A Tech Show That Features Sex Toys For Men

If you’ve ever heard the term “Gamergate” or read stories about Silicon Valley’s marginalization of women, you’re probably aware that the world of entertainment technology is not what one might call an optimal environment for gender equality. The tech scene’s sexism can manifest itself in a multitude of ways, and in early 2019, it extended to sex toys, for reasons that seem to make sense at first before the Dumbass Truck crashes into the WTF Building in Idiotville.

Lora DiCarlo, a nearly all-female sex toy company, had painstakingly created a hands-free, highly-sophisticated robotic, uh, personal massager for women. The Osé personal massager was a stellar feat of engineering with features we won’t explore in detail here, though a summary might be something like: “All of them. All of the features.” The team’s elation over their accomplishment was further heightened by the fact that the Consumer Technology Association gave them an innovation award in the “robotics and drones” category. Which ... yeah, we also think it’s pretty rad that sex toys and drones are in the same category at a tech conference and are curious as to the glorious ways that those two things can be combined in the future.

Pixabay

Pixabay

There’s probably a joke here, but one we won’t make because it’s likely inappropriate and complicated.

However, as you likely already guessed given the premise of this article, their happiness was short-lived. A month later, the CTA reached out to Lora DiCarlo and unceremoniously revoked the award, because their sex toy did not “fit into any of our existing product categories,” and also because it was deemed too immoral, obscene, indecent and/or profane to fit with their image. To add insult to injury, they also forbade the company to showcase their supposedly vulgar product at CES 2019, an important consumer electronics trade show.

And sure, that kind of makes sense. Maybe it’s not the appropriate venue to display the latest in futuristic genital-pleasing technology alongside 8K televisions. In fact, it could only be problematic if CES was already known to have featured VR porn and actual sex robots geared toward men at past shows. Because that would be craz- wait, they did? Come on, you guys.

Father Is Called A Pervert For Changing His Kid’s Diaper In A Family Room

Let’s say that you’re the proud father of a baby. Let’s also say that, in a hypothetical and completely unrealistic thought experiment, that your child is occasionally fond of pooping at extremely inopportune moments that leave you scrambling for a place to change their diaper. Fortunately, parents’ rooms at malls and other public places exist for this very reason.

So you locate one, pop inside, and get to cleaning and re-diapering your kid, who is surprisingly unwilling to cooperate. We assume that the last thing you need is a heaping helping of unwarranted, surprise sexism, which is exactly what happened in 2017 to one unfortunate dad in New Zealand. While he was busy changing his son’s diaper -- a task that doesn’t leave you particularly responsive to idle chitchat -- a woman tending to her own kids in the room suddenly got all up his face for the ultimate crime of being a man in the parents’ room. According to her, it was solely for mothers, and he was a total “sicko” for being in it. She even threatened to call security and tell them the man was ogling at her kids.

Pixabay

Pixabay

“Officer! He was being a dad, right there in front of everyone!”

“Getting thrown out of the parents’ room for parenting” wouldn’t even be the weirdest supervillain origin story out there, but the guy took it more or less in stride. Despite his own son (whose diaper he still hadn’t had time to change) getting more and more hysterical by the second, he agreed to go stand outside the door until the room was free of people screaming at him (apart from, you know, his son). Fortunately, at this point another woman stepped in and told him to come back, agreeing to back him up in case Scream Lady tried to out him as a pedophile.

Of course, maybe this and other similar situations would never occur if there were more changing stations in men’s rooms. But that’s just a guess.

Facebook’s Search Function “Knows” You’re Looking For Female Photos

As the world’s premier social media juggernaut, Facebook is the corner of the internet that’s arguably most likely to go full Skynet and/or manifest itself in the real world by cutting off our countenances and gluing them into some sort of leather-bound collection of paper sheets. If only there was a name for such a thing.

The company’s less than savory practices means it usually has a scandal or eight going on at any given moment, and in 2019, its algorithms managed to accidentally kick off a brand new sexism-themed controversy when security researcher Inti De Ceukelaire discovered that Facebook’s search function routinely refused to show pictures of his male friends. However, searches like “photos of my female friends” not only yielded droves of results, but happily suggested phrases like “at the beach” or “in bikinis.”

Pixabay

Pixabay

Maybe a search for “buried alive at the beach” should be something they pay more attention to.

De Ceukelaire did some digging, and it turns out that Facebook is not solely at fault because … well, because of us. People keep searching photos of their female Facebook friends, which has caused the social media site’s ever vigilant algorithms to automatically assume that its users are all about semi-compromising pictures of their female contacts. Meanwhile, the algorithm has also figured that as far as Facebook users are concerned, photos of male friends can go hang, to the point that it can actually assume that “male” is a typo and auto-correct it to “female.”   

Pretty Much All Of The Safety (And Other) Equipment You Use Is Designed For Male Bodies

Safety equipment is the best. It truly is a testament to our development as a species that we’re able to deploy an army of engineers to figure out how to build scenario-appropriate shells and harnesses to keep us alive in situations that would otherwise liquify our fragile, soggy flesh-casings.

In theory, that is. In practice, the aforementioned engineers tend to forget roughly 50% of the population.

Have you ever noticed that your average crash test dummy has a distinctly male body? That’s because they were proportioned after the average male. Unfortunately, that means seatbelts (as well as “standard seating positions” for the driver) are designed for male bodies, and the smaller and differently-shaped women pay the price: In fact, a woman is 47% more likely to be seriously injured in a car crash than a man, and 17% more likely to die. It’s the same with other safety equipment: Safety harnesses, body armor, hi-vis and vests, masks and goggles were all designed with men in mind, and women have to deal with not only the discomfort, but potentially life-threatening danger.

Pixabay

Pixabay

“You’re lucky I’m a badass, otherwise I’d be pissed. Actually, wait, I am pissed. These safety glasses are the worst.”

If you look deeper, examples of this short-sighted “yeah, we just designed it for the average man” are everywhere. Everything from wrenches to smartphones are made for a man’s larger hands. Bags of cement are the size that they are purely because someone determined it’s probably what a man can comfortably carry. Even the standard office temperature is based on a 1960s formula about the “metabolic resting rate” of an average guy, which actually explains all those fights over the workplace thermostat.

So, yeah. As it turns out, pretty much every aspect of the world we’ve built is biased toward men. Well, except for the public spots where you change your kid’s crappy pants, we guess.

Like this article? Check out “Crazy News Stories That Escalated In Weird, Ironic Ways” and “5 Times Celebrities Straight-Up Fought Real Crime”.

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