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That perhaps Jeremy Rifkin's humankind illustrations should include the other 50% of the human race, i.e. women.

It would have been a wonderful, positive, encouraging video.... Except, my enjoyment of it was ruined by the fact that Jeremy Rifkin's human race (or perhaps more fairly, only that of the illustrator) seems to assume that only men have any place of importance or visibility in the world - the illustrations suggest that human = man. Every time 'human' was mentioned, and an illustration of one accompanied the words - guess what? It was a male! At least 20 times, maybe more. The amount of times a female human appeared? 3. Two of these times were to do with reproduction. The other time? A woman shrieking hysterically as a spider crawled up her arm. Yes. Quite.

Each time a new human began to be drawn I became more and more infuriated at the assumption that the history of humankind has only involved men. That the planet now is populated only by men. That women only surface in cases of reproduction, and female hysteria.

I don't know if 'proposing an idea' is the right thing to do here, but I was so outraged by the video which I would otherwise have loved. It saddened me that such a creative, progressive, forward thinking video could be so blindly sexist.

Topics: men sexism women
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  • May 11 2013: You seem to have missed my point, edward long. Correct, gender/sex does not play any part in the talk. In the illustrations? It plays a large part, obvious to me, but perhaps not so obvious if you don't stop and consider these kind of issues. Stope and think about WHY it is normal to portray all humans as men, except when biology/gender stereotypes explicitly demand that the image must be a woman (as I said, this happens 3 times in the illustrations.) Perhaps you are desensitised to this kind of things/regard a picture of a man as the obvious portrayal of a human being. Well, I wonder how you would feel if every human being in this animation was an image of a woman. If a man appeared, say, twice out of 20 times. You might wonder if you had missed something. If you were watching a video that was focusing on the history of womankind. If this video had been made by people who forgot that men actually existed. Why on earth the makers were assuming that all humans are female.

    You may think I'm making a fuss out of nothing, a 'tempest in a teapot'. Funny, that you are a male. And sad, I think, that you can't see my point, that you are perhaps taking this as an attack on men.

    I make the point because I think it is important. That men are responding as you are reiterates that: these issues must be highlighted, so that people don't think it is normal and OK to assume that the archetypal human is a man.
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      May 12 2013: You should not assume is that I am a misogynist. I believe in, and support fairness for all people. I thought my response made it clear that I missed your point. You know it would take a fool to stand before a TED audience and present the idea that, "the history of humankind has only involved men.. . the planet now is populated only by men.. . women only surface in cases of reproduction, and female hysteria". Do you really mean to accuse Mr. Rifkin of such foolish behaviour? Also, is it not acceptable for a woman to dress and act like a male? Perhaps 50% of the "male" cartoon characters were females exercising their freedom to bend gender. Do you judge people by their appearance? You should also not assume that every short-haired, masculine looking cartoon character, or live human, is a male. Perhaps the illustrations are far more empathetic than you are when it comes to embracing all choices. Do you take-up an offense for non-Caucasians because there were no clearly dark-skinned, or almond-eyed cartoon characters? There are places where women are getting a bad deal but Mr. Rifkin's TED Talk is certainly not one of them.
      • May 15 2013: I have never met a misogynist who is aware that he is a misogynist.
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          May 15 2013: Nor have I. I suspect it is because the mind of a person who despises the entire female population of Earth simply on the basis of their chromosomes is not aware that there is a name for the behavior and that they deserve that name. I notice you used the male pronoun. Have you not met any female misogynists? Anyway, do you think Jeremy has grievously insulted the females of Earth?
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    May 11 2013: I hear you roar, but you have a tempest in a teapot Ms. Coleman. Gender/sex plays no role whatsoever in Mr. Rifkin's talk. I wonder how you would edit the talk. Change the cartoons to show more females? Change the text to include more feminine pronouns? Such suggestions are extraneous to the Talk. You are imposing a gender component which neither the author or the subject demands.
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      May 11 2013: Here we can see the ubiquitous manifestation of the Gloria Steinem meme.
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    May 15 2013: ...A woman was also shown as being 1/2 of the whole human race. Since 'a man' was the presenter, it would follow that 'he' would present in a manner that 'men' would: linearly, factually, path-of-least-resistancely. Many men might feel it (subconsciously) 'disrespectful' or 'they-might-think-I'm-a-creep' or 'I'll be criticized by women if I draw the 'wrong kind' of woman', if they drew pictures of women's bodies. So, although I'm familiar with being passionate about issues ("omg!"), he never said women were not to be included or referred to women as less important. Guilty by omission? "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" - as has been pointed out to me on multiple occasions. :)
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    May 15 2013: Even TED is at it Beth. They've used the male shadow in place of your portrait.
    I counted 3. 1) feelings of rejection. 2) Spider lady. 3) Mother of all mankind. I don't think the bias was deliberate. Skilled artist though, with some good ideas.
    :-))
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    May 11 2013: Wow. Look at the two 'men's' comments and look at the 'woman's'. I think I'll watch the video.
  • May 11 2013: I get what you mean, Beth.
    I'll never forget, when I was in elementary school, what my English teacher pressed upon us. When writing or speaking about a people, or individuals, we must never refer to anyone specifically as 'he', but as 'he/she'. And, preferably, 'she/he'. The word 'mankind' itself should be addressed!

    She clearly felt the same thing you do now - that it is common practice to refer to all humans as male when we are anything but.

    I agree with Edward, that the point of this particular talk has nothing to do with gender, but I also understand your perspective. The talk was 'the last straw'.
    Could it be, that your frustration (and the frustration of many women, myself included) has little to do with this talk, and more to do with that is is (still) socially acceptable to refer to a people as men first, and women second?