UN Women’s latest campaign is potent

UN Women, a branch of the United Nations, launched a powerful campaign that is both visually potent and thematically discomforting: Using the results of popular Google search terms – which we all utilise everyday on the Internet – the campaign highlights what entries are often being used.

The idea of cyberspace and sexism, of course, is something I’ve focused on before and it is of concern. It is good, then, that we can also use the same platforms to highlight the kind of treatment women still receive and that people still believe about women.

Its visceral nature and that we, as ordinary people use that search bar, makes this campaign powerful.

(If the data isn’t true, please let me know since that would be most unhelpful and only ammo to those who deny sexism and misogyny is a serious problem.)

[HT: Chris Miles from PolicyMic]





  1. says

    Those are pretty potent images. I didn’t see the exact same thing when I typed into Google though. I’m not sure if Google displays the same thing all over the world though. For what it’s worth here are my results from Google South Africa.

    Women shouldn’t…
    Women shouldn’t… work
    Women shouldn’t… be in combat
    Women shouldn’t… vote
    Women shouldn’t… be cops

    Women cannot…
    Women cannot… be trusted
    Women cannot… be pastors
    Women cannot… have it all
    Women cannot… drive

    Women should…
    Women should… cover their heads
    Women should… not speak in church
    Women should… not wear pants
    Women should… not preach
    PS: The next suggestion was “be treated the same as men”

    women need to…
    women need to… shut up
    women need to… grow up
    women need to… sleep more
    women need to… know about men
    PS: After those results the next ones were “feel safe,” “be wanted,” “support each other” and “be loved.”

    I’m definitely seeing overlap with the results. Maybe the results on the posters are not all in order but one would need to know how Google’s algorithms work to say for sure.

  2. badgersdaughter says

    Google US:

    Women shouldn’t… [blank], vote, work, go to college.
    Women cannot… be trusted, be pastors, have it all, teach men.
    Women should… [blank], not teach, remain silent, not preach.
    Women need to… know their place, shut up, be controlled, be wanted.

  3. says

    I got (Google Canada):

    Women shouldn’t… work, vote, run, wear pants.
    Women cannot… be trusted, drive, have it all, live with them
    Women should… serve men, be property, not wear pants, be seen and not heard
    Women need to… know their place, be put in their place, shut up, grow up

    For curiosity’s sake,

    Men shouldn’t… eat soy, get married, cry, marry
    Men cannot… be feminists, be feminists [again], be friends with women, go backwards sexually
    Men should… be what they seem, weep, own women, all die
    Men need to… feel needed, ejaculate, man up, be needed

    Girls shouldn’t… go to college, have abs, run, lift weights
    Girls cannot… be trusted, be colorblind, be trusted quotes, be colour blind
    Girls should… know about guys, not be educated, be healers, act like girls
    Girls need to… realize, know about boys, grow up quotes, learn to flush the toilet

    Boys shouldn’t… make you cry, cry, hit girls, play with dolls
    Boys cannot… hit girls, be friends with girls, [don’t] play with dolls, be trusted
    Boys should… be boys, know, be boys book review, learn to cook
    Boys need to… realize quotes, know about girls, grow up quotes, respect girls quotes

  4. sumdum says

    Google Netherlands:
    Women shouldn’t: work, be in combat, vote, be cops, wear bras, go to college, wear make up, drive, hit men
    Women should: ~er tattoos, (odd one out), not be in combat, not work, not preach, stay at home, be seen and not heard, not speak in church,
    Women cannot: be trusted, be pastors, have it all, drive, find husbands, vote in which countries
    Women need to: shut up, grow up, sleep more, know about men, feel safe, be wanted, support each other, feel loved, stand up for themselves (good ones at the end there!)

    Men shouldn’t: wear shorts, marry, wear flip flops, eat soy, hit women, wear skinny jeans, take selfies, wear jewelry
    Men should: ~er bag, weep, ~er tattoos, always pray, wear saree, be what they seem, wear pink, not get married, ~er workouts, wear make up
    Men cannot: be feminists, be trusted, urinate, live without women, get hiv from women, live on bread alone, pick up chair (no idea what this means), afford to be careless
    Men need to: feel needed, ejaculate, be needed, feel appreciated, cheat, grow up, be respected, be loved, provide, feel safe

    Lots of negative ones, but surprisingly a lot the same between women and men. Also seems there’s very little difference between countries so far. I wonder if that’s because of google being one company, the language used to query, or something else.