Fighting Rockstars and Ninjas instead of Sexism
Inappropriate rant cause I don’t know where else to rant it: I have seen people complain about the use of “rockstar” and “ninja” in job advertisements, saying they’re gendered terms and exclusionary towards women, but the study they inevitably link back to is this one from 2011, “Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality”. I have some questions about the applicability of that study anyway (their samples were drawn from a small group of Psychology undergraduates so the study does not address the question of possible personality differences across different fields) but even if its findings can be extended to apply across women in all fields (i.e., women in all fields feel they would be less welcome at jobs that use “masculine” words in their advertisements), the list of “masculine” words used in that study do not include “ninja” or “rockstar”.
When I Google to find the origins of this correlation I just find people declaring it to be so and referencing this original study, usually while attacking someone else for using one of these words. You can dislike the terms “ninja” and “rockstar” in job advertisements for whatever opinion-based reason you want (they’re non-descriptive, unprofessional, whatever) and that’s fine, but this inherent vocabularic sexism is being accepted as proven based on one small study that never proved this point in the first place.
I hate finding myself on the other side from what all the good liberals are doing. I either have to advocate for a position I don’t agree with or risk being ostracised and condemned as insensitive to the plight of women. And it’s also frustrating because there are so many bigger issues backed up by better science that we should turn our collective ire and action upon if we really want to make things better for women in STEM, like the unconscious assumption of competence which means men get promoted based on potential and women don’t get promoted until they’ve proven themselves and the fact that even if men were only 1% likelier to be promoted over women this would lead to an institution with only 35% women at the highest levels, whereas the reality is men are 15% more likely to get promoted. This is all real bullshit that we could be doing something about. But nah, lets ban the word “rockstar” from our job advertisements (because everyone knows women have low self esteem so we don’t need science to prove this is a gendered term) and put up sparkly posters in the workplace telling women they’re perfect, thereby creating/reinforcing this icky, weird 1950s pedestal notion that women need to be protected — I mean what the fuck is the good of that? All it does is call out to your colleagues that you’re some delicate flower who can’t handle the truth because the truth is -no one- is perfect. It feeds into this idea that women are irrational and need special treatment in the workplace when the only special treatment we want and need is goddamn fucking equality! But yeah, that “rockstar” word should totally be banned. It’s far easier than tackling institutional sexism.