by Christine Bailey
Originally published: May 9, 2016
“Can’t a woman learn to use her head?
Why do they do ev’rything their mothers do?
Why don’t they grow up – well, like their father instead?
Why can’t a woman take after a man?”
These are lyrics from the song “A Hymn to Him (Why Can’t a Woman be More Like a Man)” from the classic 1964 movie-musical My Fair Lady. It’s a scorchingly sexist song, but we roll our eyes and laugh along because it’s from the ‘60s and we’ve come a long way since then, right?
Then this happens: In late 2015, Google releases a Gmail plug-in called “Just Not Sorry” which purports to help women write stronger, more impactful emails by flagging the words that undermine our messages. In other words: to help a woman be more like a man.