April 07, 2023

The grammar lesson some people need 🙄


Last month I went to a conference for professional e-commerce operators. The event was 90% male attendees, which is unsurprising; most e-commerce founders are men.
After the conference the event organizer heard from several women who received a lot of patronizing remarks from colleagues. Men asked women if they were there with their husbands, or if they were there representing a vendor, because it didn't occur to them that these women were their peers also running companies.
The event organizer posted to our industry forum about this behavior, asking for advice on how to improve the event for women and make the event more diverse. As men chimed in on the conversation I noticed they were doing something I find intensely irritating. They kept using the word "female" as a noun. "I think the females are overreacting," "I wasn't rude to any females," etc.
Women pretty much universally hate this. It is a dehumanizing way to refer to us and reduces us to our anatomy, like we are a science specimen. It's usually subbed in for another word we don't want men calling us, and that subtext is never lost on us.
Not only is it a misogynistic way to talk to/about women, but it's just not correct grammar. The word female is an adjective, not a noun. You can say "female founder" or "women in the industry," but you cannot say "females in the industry" without annoying us.*
*If you're a man rolling your eyes at this explanation:
A. why are you so mad at hearing how women want to be referred to?
B. why are you so insistent on your terrible grammar? Asking to be called women, the correct word for what we are, isn't a crazy request.
When I pointed out to the men on the forum that we don't like this and that it's not only incorrect grammar, but it's also insulting, I was of course ignored, as these very same men went right on insisting they aren't part of the problem WHILE CONTINUING TO REFER TO THE WOMEN IN THE GROUP AS "FEMALES."
So, shout it from the rooftops, put it on a t-shirt. FEMALE IS AN ADJECTIVE! Take note! Tell everyone!
mic drop gif
GIF via The Voice
Speaking of new shirt designs, you'll probably notice we're releasing a lot fewer t-shirt designs in 2023 and moving forward. This has a lot to do with the fact that the more popular Boredwalk gets the more we deal with people stealing the art from our shirt designs and it's made me a lot less interested in making art for shirts.
If you Google the design up top or even the slogan you'll see no one else designed this or is even using this slogan. If we bother to advertise it that will only invite parasites to post counterfeits all over Amazon, Etsy, Teepublic, etc. It's completely demoralizing to work this hard on new art only for crooks to make money off of it instead of us. It's even worse when we spend money to advertise our work and those ad dollars benefit crooks instead of us. We literally end up spending money to be stolen from and help the crooks.
Remember what I said up top about most people in e-commerce being men? If we popularize this design about sexism it will be stolen by a ton of them and proceeds from the sales will go to them instead of us here at Boredwalk and our predominantly female team. Not only will they profit, but companies like Amazon with their 86% male and 100% white c-suite, who are notorious for selling counterfeit goods and treating their workers like trash will profit too. It sickens us to see our work being used that way when it should be exclusively benefiting all of us here at Boredwalk. Every dollar that goes to the crooks is a dollar less for us to pay ourselves and our team for all the work we do. It's not fair to us or our team.
We have been putting our efforts into a lot of new product categories that are harder to steal from, including kitchen towels, books, and even a beautifully designed conversation deck. We hope you'll enjoy the new releases as much as we have enjoyed working on them. I can assure you the same humor, thoughtfulness, and creative sensibility will still carry over into anything we do.
On a lighter note, check out the newest episode of the Boredwalk podcast! This week Boredwalk co-founder/head designer Matt and Tess from our video content team discuss trashy TV, classic literature, Matt's dead cat Oliver haunting his dreams, and — as is their custom — Taylor Swift, as well as your answers to recent Questions of the Day! Listen on your favorite podcasting platform
Want a few notable April 7th birthdays and historical facts to kick off the weekend? Here are a few...
• Born on this day: director Francis Ford Coppola (1939), actor Jackie Chan (1954), and singer Billie Holiday (1915)
• 5,000 suffragists marched to the Capitol in Washington, D.C., seeking the vote for women on this day in 1913
 Albert Hoffman first produced LSD on this day in 1943 in a lab in Switzerland
• On this day in 2009, Vermont became the fourth U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage, just days after Iowa became the third
OK, that's it for this week! We'll be back here in your inbox on Monday with another email and (hopefully) a fresh customer Q&A! If you'd like to be featured in an upcoming email reply to this and let us know!
Peace, love, and grammar,