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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: 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?

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