I bought a new mp3 player (my old one is falling apart, and runs on AAA batteries that I'm tired of buying*, so I went for something USB rechargeable), and got one of these skins for it (because I do my research, and they come highly recommended). I was totally stoked, until I read the helpful hints in the order confirmation, which includes this bit:
Tell your parents, wife or girlfriend about Best Skins Ever before your order arrives. They think the word Skin means pr0n and will throw it out before you ever see it.
Setting aside the ridiculous use of "pr0n" (Uh, hello? Are you a business or a twelve-year-old?), how freakin' hard would it be to swap the gendered language there for "spouse" or "partner" or even "roommate" instead? They're entirely excluding straight women and gay men (not to mention possibly lots of trans or genderqueer people) with this wording, and while that may be in line with their demographics, it still pissed me off. Not to mention the assumption that all of these people (apparently parents of teenagers [?], or those daffy women) "think the word Skin means" pornography. Plus, all women (or parents) would throw "pr0n" out without even looking at it? Say what? I mean, if I thought something was porn, I would probably at least give it a look to see if it was something I could parlay into a good story or a feminist rant!
I had a similar reaction in an entirely different situation earlier. I was shopping on Etsy this morning, looking for wrist cuffs. (I'm trying to motivate myself to get the tattoo I've been chickening out of for several years now. I can't help it, they fucking HURT.) Anyway, I'm checking out all these cute steampunk pieces with lace and hardware and all kinds of interesting little doodads. I opened one up to read about the construction, and in the description was this: "Fits a normal wrist."
Okay, not to pick on the Etsy artisan that created the lovely wrist cuff I was browsing....but what the fuck is a "normal wrist"? More importantly, how does being "normal" or not indicate anything about how the wrist cuff would fit? I recognize that people who don't have 9 inch wrists (or anything else sized out of mass manufactured - or apparently even handmade - goods) might not recognize that using the term "normal" as a size actually makes anything outside of that size range, logically speaking, NOT normal. Which, while it may be true from a purely statistical perspective, carries some pretty intense cultural baggage. Beyond that, saying something fits a "normal wrist" just communicates ZERO useful information (I mean, seriously, most craftspeople measure this kind of thing *anyway* so why not post some numbers and leave the adjectives for the trim?).
I know these are little things, but it seems like these little things are a big part of the daily onslaught that could actually be changed without nearly as much pain and work as, say, the ERA or federally sanctioned gay marriage. It seems like little linguistic shifts wouldn't kill whoever typed up the copy for situations like this.
Since it seems few are willing to give it a try, though, maybe it's not such a little thing.
* At one time, I rocked some rechargeable AAAs. One day, as I'm waiting for a train, one of the batteries literally melted down in my purse. I'm shocked it didn't burn me, it was so hot. I still don't know what the fuck caused it to go nuclear like that, but I swore I'd never touch another rechargeable battery (of that sort, obviously) again, and I have - and will - not.