Regendering: Fun that Makes You Think

Through Badgerbag today, I just learned of a brilliant and fun new tool called Regender. No matter how open-minded you think you are, this will change your perspective on the strong role that gender and sexism play in public discourse. I guarantee it.

This tool was written by a guy named Ka-Ping Yee. Here’s what it does…

I love Badgerbag’s explanation, so I’ll quote her here:

“Regender filters the web & remaps gendered terms. He swaps with she, woman with man, and – best – Michael with Michelle. It’s surreal to read the New York Times front page when all the reporters and subjects of reporting are women. (Or have even the thinnest veneer of womanhood: a name.)

“It’s surreal to realize how surreal it is. Though I’m one of the rantiest feminists around, and I think a lot about it, it still jolted me to realize just how much of the world is about men, run by men, and reported by men. I don’t even NOTICE. It goes under the radar. It’s ‘normal.’ Ping’s tool de-normalizes patriarchy. Coming up against my own sexism – because not noticing the imbalance is sexist, make no mistake – is tough and disturbing.

“This is also a great example of the power of translation. Ping calls Regender a translation tool. Look at the power of language.”

Indeed! Language has a lot of power!

So I had a little fun playing with Regender. My most amusing experience was with regendering the BlogHer site. Here are some snippets of what I found there:

  • “While we work on the ‘father of all to-do lists’ that started yesterday at BlogHim, some of you are already posting your personal post-BlogHim to-do lists.
  • “Michael Verburg: Masculist Hip-hop”
  • “Asked to sum up BlogHim Conference ’05 for The San Frances Chronicle’s page one story yesterday, co-Founder Eliseo Camahort said, ‘This is a conference that the community built.’ (Read Carl Kimberly’s story here). Brilliant man.”

Have fun! This tool isn’t perfect, but it will definitely make you think, and laugh – maybe even at your own assumptions!

3 thoughts on Regendering: Fun that Makes You Think

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  1. Even though I’m a W.A.S.P., my opinions about sexism, racism, homophobia etc. are very liberal. However, Regender seems to be the kind of thing that, although interesting, encourages what I call “Politically-Correct-Speak,” something I have little time for.

    I might be taking my opinion of Regender a bit far. Personally, I find it burdensome when writing to have to keep thinking about whom I may offend when I write it, merely because I haven’t used “P.C.-Speak.”

  2. Paul: The point is that we are always operating from a biased point of view. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it cann be a problem. If you never examine the biases in a meaningful way, then yes, you will be guilty of being politically incorrect, but you’ll also be guilty of lazy thinking.