- This woman told two students to ‘speak English’ and people are not having it Friday 9:53 PM
- Iconic 1968 drag documentary ‘The Queen’ finally released on Netflix Friday 9:29 PM
- This TikTok account for Chancellor Palpatine is hilarious Friday 8:43 PM
- Did the Space Force logo rip off Star Trek? Friday 6:24 PM
- Disabled people with service dogs say Uber, Lyft drivers are denying them rides Friday 3:25 PM
- TikTok teen famous for greasy hair ends her 8-year reign Friday 2:48 PM
- Police handcuff brown man at subway station for carrying a toy gun Friday 1:20 PM
- Fake clip of Sanders quoting infamous ‘hot chip’ tweet is duping people online Friday 1:16 PM
- The Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala alleges Scientologists behind dog’s death Friday 12:46 PM
- Eminem responds to critics: ‘This album was not made for the squeamish’ Friday 12:42 PM
- ‘The poet, the poem’ meme takes iconic lines and turns them into art Friday 12:40 PM
- People are making dark memes about the coronavirus Friday 12:27 PM
- Trump camp’s ‘head on a pike’ impeachment threat hit with memes Friday 11:34 AM
- What is the #FreeBritney movement, and why is Cher tweeting about it? Friday 10:52 AM
- This YouTuber claims the Saudi government plotted to kidnap him on U.S. soil Friday 10:30 AM
What Google searches can tell us about misogyny
A striking series of images confirms we still have far to go.
Have you ever started typing some search term into Google, only to be horrified by the suggestions provided by autocomplete? Of course you have—for most of us, it’s the 21st-century condition. But rather than just shake their heads in dismay, U.N. Women, a United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and female empowerment, has compiled striking screencaps of such results for an awareness campaign that demonstrates just how prevalent misogyny remains around the world.
The ads, developed with agency Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, use “genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women.” By entering phrases like “women should” and “women cannot,” the project turned up negative sentiment that ranged from the merely stereotypical (“women cannot drive”) to the jaw-dropping (“women should be slaves”). Since Google’s autocomplete algorithm takes cues from popular search terms, each sentence represents a population that ostensibly holds these repulsive beliefs, or is at least curious about their provenance—though that’s a bit charitable.
The placement of the search bar over the women’s mouths is itself significant, suggesting as it does the gagging and silencing of women that continues to this day. On Twitter, hearteningly, people are already speaking out against this status quo with the hashtag #womenshould. It’s U.N. Women’s hope that this conversation will show us how much further we have to go to achieve anything like the gender equality that too many people think we’ve already attained.
Next time your Web search pulls up a disgusting list of autocomplete suggestions, don’t get mad at Google. It’s really just holding up a mirror to the troubled society we inhabit.
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'