[Gendergap] Hardcoded discrimination

KIZU Naoko aphaia at gmail.com
Mon Feb 7 08:14:32 UTC 2011

On Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 3:51 PM, Sue Gardner <sgardner at wikimedia.org> wrote:
>  On 6 February 2011 16:32, Lena ... <lenarohrbach at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I agree with you. It should absolutely be the users own choice. But
>> right now, you don't have a choice. If I want to get a user account,
>> it says "Benutzerkonto" (German: Account for male users)
> Wow.
> So just to make sure I'm understanding this: on for example the German
> Wikipedia, not only are all registered users identified as part of a
> male category (Benutzer, "male user"), but the actual invitation to
> register in the first place is itself also gendered (Benutzerkonto,
> "account for male users")?
> That is awful.

Grammatically it is justified because of a rule: if a group consists
of both male and female, the group should be gendered as male. It is
same in many Indo-European languages including German, French and many
others. Of course same in Latin and Greek. I personally don't like it
and think of it as no politically correct, but it is our linguistic
reality - reality which reflects male dominance in society as whole.

I don't care on my "Benutzer" page, nor mind someone female calling
themselves Benutzer, but not easy to call myself "Benutzer:Aphaia". It
could be not consistent at all, but I've felt so for years. I'm happy
to know I'm not alone to feel that.

Also it is a long tradition of using male form in the argument on a
person whose natural sex doesn't or should not matter at all. I
doesn't cite examples here, but supposedly Benutzerkonto is one of
such examples.

For those MediaWiki valuables, it's technically quite easy to change.
Just register to Transatewiki.net and edit related Mediawiki files, or
modify dewiki* equivalents if you prefer to begin with a small step.
IIRC German l10n team on twn is active but still small (4 or 5 ppl
when I gave a look last time). They might welcome new translators I

> In marketing, depth of attachment/affiliation/identification to a
> product is often gauged by asking people if they feel like the product
> "is for people like you." The corollary of that is that marketers try
> to increase users' sense of attachment/affiliation/identification, by
> persuading them the product is in fact "for them." We are doing the
> opposite.
> Thanks Erik for first raising the issue, and Lena for providing a key
> piece of information that is important and new (at least to me).
> Thanks,
> Sue
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KIZU Naoko / 木津尚子
member of Wikimedians in Kansai  / 関西ウィキメディアユーザ会 http://kansai.wikimedia.jp

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