Tuesday December 11, 2018

Sexism is Real and Men Face it too!

While women tend to pay heed to such remarks, sexism directed towards men goes largely unnoticed. Read on to know if you have been making sexist remarks towards your male counterparts

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Sexism is unbridled in the Indian society and (finally) being talked about. Pixabay
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New Delhi, September 9, 2017 : Society has a huge role to play in the person that we become. And sometimes, that may not be the right way to go about it.

More often than not, society forces us to be somebody we are not. A woman belongs in the kitchen, a man is not supposed to cry; who established these ground rules to function in the society?

Sexism is real, and men face it too (surprise!)

“Man up!”

“Don’t be such a girl!”

Men are always expected to display vigor and anger; their insecurities are rarely taken into account and would rather be pushed under a rug that the society largely identifies as ‘masculinity’.

We keep reminding men that they should not wear pink, that they cannot cry, and that they are only supposed to express their emotions in a certain way. We tell them to ‘not be such a girl’, to shake off their fears and ‘man up’ and to always take charge. And this never stops.

But what we are forgetting here is that men have emotions too; even when the society does not allow them to emote explicitly.

These expressions and understanding are so entrenched in daily communiqué that sometimes we fail to realize when we are making a sexist remark.

Yes, sexism is unbridled in the Indian society and (thankfully) being talked about.

While women tend to pay heed to such remarks, sexism directed towards men goes largely unnoticed.

Here are a few subtle hints to how sexism has become a part of everyday life for men,

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According to the National Crime Victimization Survey 2016, 38 % victims of sexual violence were men.

Men are often faced with questions like “why didn’t you fight her?”, and made jokes on how they must have enjoyed it because why wouldn’t anybody enjoy a sexual encounter that essentially has ‘no strong attached’.

People in the 21st century fail to realize the real, societal damage that women who sexually assault men, cause to the society.

 

 

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The society largely looks down upon the men who earn less than their ‘weaker’ counterparts.

The man is supposed to be the ‘provider’ of the family, earning most of the money. For many men, it feels like a hard slap when women earn more money.

Because if they aren’t earning a living for their family, how can they be a “true” man?

 

 

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The society places unnecessary expectations on boys from a young age. Boys can only be ‘strong’, and ‘big’. Why cant they be sensitive and soft?

Sexism places men and women in stereotypical roles- women are ‘naturally’ kind, compassionate and sensitive, while the men are ‘naturally’ more rational, and stronger, physically and mentally.

 

 

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There is no denying that girls are body shamed,;but assuming that they are ‘weak’ and hence not self-sufficient is taking that to the next level.

People say this to boys all the time and must be immediately stopped because it increasingly encourages the mindset that girls are inherently weak.

Even when the tone of such sexist comments is compassionate- sometimes even flattering, they are indicative of a stereo-typically narrow and insulting worldview.

 

 

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Not only is it unnatural to discourage men from undertaking work that they are passionate about, it is also dangerous.

Despite the cliche that art is a universal language, artists are interpreted very differently in terms of their gender. The unease and suspicion that accompany a male artist, irrespective of what art form he practices, are often based out of society’s view of the body and a larger understanding of ‘masculinity’.

 

 

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Suggesting that boys and girls should be held to different behaviors is dowright demeaning, not to ignore dangerous.

The dominant idea about what a ‘real’ man should be include behaviors such as dominance, control, assertiveness, and emotional unresponsiveness. The society continues to think that men ‘do not do work’, but instead they ‘get work done’ by their weaker counterparts-the women.

While circumstances continue to evolve for the better, in the larger society, there still is a special place in the society  for men who get angry- they are looked upon with reverence. No one points out their anger issues, or frowns upon them. It seems like arrogance and aggression are the only two emotions that men can acceptably show; that these are the only emotions that a man today is capable of showing.

We need to understand that men no longer have to ‘man up’. Instead, let them be a little more human


 

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Google’s New AI Tool Blocks Gendered Pronouns

Microsoft's LinkedIn said it avoids gendered pronouns in its year-old predictive messaging tool.

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- The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Alphabet Inc’s Google in May introduced a slick feature for Gmail that automatically completes sentences for users as they type. Tap out “I love” and Gmail might propose “you” or “it.” But users are out of luck if the object of their affection is “him” or “her.”

Google’s technology will not suggest gender-based pronouns because the risk is too high that its “Smart Compose” technology might predict someone’s sex or gender identity incorrectly and offend users, product leaders revealed to Reuters in interviews.

Gmail product manager Paul Lambert said a company research scientist discovered the problem in January when he typed “I am meeting an investor next week,” and Smart Compose suggested a possible follow-up question: “Do you want to meet him?” instead of “her.”

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AI experts have called on the companies to display a disclaimer and multiple possible translations.. Pixabay

Consumers have become accustomed to embarrassing gaffes from autocorrect on smartphones. But Google refused to take chances at a time when gender issues are reshaping politics and society, and critics are scrutinizing potential biases in artificial intelligence like never before.

“Not all ‘screw ups’ are equal,” Lambert said. Gender is a “a big, big thing” to get wrong.

Getting Smart Compose right could be good for business. Demonstrating that Google understands the nuances of AI better than competitors is part of the company’s strategy to build affinity for its brand and attract customers to its AI-powered cloud computing tools, advertising services and hardware.

Gmail has 1.5 billion users, and Lambert said Smart Compose assists on 11 percent of messages worldwide sent from Gmail.com, where the feature first launched.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

Smart Compose is an example of what AI developers call natural language generation (NLG), in which computers learn to write sentences by studying patterns and relationships between words in literature, emails and web pages.

A system shown billions of human sentences becomes adept at completing common phrases but is limited by generalities. Men have long dominated fields such as finance and science, for example, so the technology would conclude from the data that an investor or engineer is “he” or “him.” The issue trips up nearly every major tech company.

Lambert said the Smart Compose team of about 15 engineers and designers tried several workarounds, but none proved bias-free or worthwhile. They decided the best solution was the strictest one: Limit coverage. The gendered pronoun ban affects fewer than 1 percent of cases where Smart Compose would propose something, Lambert said.

“The only reliable technique we have is to be conservative,” said Prabhakar Raghavan, who oversaw engineering of Gmail and other services until a recent promotion.

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Google is not the only tech company wrestling with the gender-based pronoun problem. (VOA)

New policy

Google’s decision to play it safe on gender follows some high-profile embarrassments for the company’s predictive technologies.

The company apologized in 2015 when the image recognition feature of its photo service labeled a black couple as gorillas. In 2016, Google altered its search engine’s autocomplete function after it suggested the anti-Semitic query “are jews evil” when users sought information about Jews.

Google has banned expletives and racial slurs from its predictive technologies, as well as mentions of its business rivals or tragic events.

The company’s new policy banning gendered pronouns also affected the list of possible responses in Google’s Smart Reply. That service allow users to respond instantly to text messages and emails with short phrases such as “sounds good.”

Google uses tests developed by its AI ethics team to uncover new biases. A spam and abuse team pokes at systems, trying to find “juicy” gaffes by thinking as hackers or journalists might, Lambert said.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

Workers outside the United States look for local cultural issues. Smart Compose will soon work in four other languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French.

“You need a lot of human oversight,” said engineering leader Raghavan, because “in each language, the net of inappropriateness has to cover something different.”

Wispread challenge

Google is not the only tech company wrestling with the gender-based pronoun problem. Agolo, a New York startup that has received investment from Thomson Reuters, uses AI to summarize business documents.

Its technology cannot reliably determine in some documents which pronoun goes with which name. So the summary pulls several sentences to give users more context, said Mohamed AlTantawy, Agolo’s chief technology officer.

He said longer copy is better than missing details. “The smallest mistakes will make people lose confidence,” AlTantawy said. “People want 100 percent correct.”

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Gmail product manager Paul Lambert said a company research scientist discovered the problem in January VOA

Yet, imperfections remain. Predictive keyboard tools developed by Google and Apple Inc propose the gendered “policeman” to complete “police” and “salesman” for “sales.”

Type the neutral Turkish phrase “one is a soldier” into Google Translate and it spits out “he’s a soldier” in English. So do translation tools from Alibaba and Microsoft Corp. Amazon.com Inc opts for “she” for the same phrase on its translation service for cloud computing customers.

AI experts have called on the companies to display a disclaimer and multiple possible translations.

Microsoft’s LinkedIn said it avoids gendered pronouns in its year-old predictive messaging tool, Smart Replies, to ward off potential blunders.

Also Read: Google Slammed With A Civil Case From Russia

Alibaba and Amazon did not respond to requests to comment. Warnings