Women According to Google

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Reflecting on the “Men vs. Women According to Google” post, I recalled an UpWorthy post I recently viewed titled, “Would  You Expect These Results To Appear When You Google ‘Women”? This post includes four UN Women advertisements that illustrate the most popular search engine results that accompany the word “women.” These UN advertisements are powerful considering how familiar the average person is with “related search results,” but more importantly because Google is the world’s largest, and most used, search engine. These search results are massive indicators of how women are most commonly perceived around the world. What implications can be made about gender equality if “women shouldn’t have rights,” “women should be slaves,” and “women need to be controlled” are among the world’s most popular internet searches?

After viewing this piece I immediately conducted the same experience in the search engine of a computer in the Amherst College Library. My results were similar, if not worse.

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The most alarming results of my experiment were “women need to shut up,” “women should not speak in church” and “women should be seen and not heard.” All three of these phrases comment on suppressing women voices. The last one particularly relates to our recent class discussion about the portrayal of women as passive in the media; how women’s bodies (and not their voices) are the nucleus of pop culture and how cultural discourse and imagery implies women are to be looked at rather than listened to. These horrifying results confront us with how distant our world truly is from reaching equality.

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