“Pink is for girls, and blue for boys.” “Ew, how can a boy play with Barbies?” “Can you speak in a softer tone please; women should not be so aggressive.”
Angry already? These are just some of the gender stereotypes ingrained in the way we communicate in society; many of these messages are subliminal with no ill-intent, but they can have negative consequences when it comes to achieving gender equity. In fact, a study by Ipsos in 2022 revealed that 24 per cent of Singaporeans believe that gender inequality doesn’t exist, and “feminism does more harm than good”.
Vivian Lim, co-founder of The Idea Co and lead curator for TedX Singapore, is hoping to bring attention to the semantics of gender-skewed language with a card game called Generally Speaking (only available to corporates for now). Generally Speaking is an inaugural project under GEN, The Idea Co’s initiative that promotes inclusivity, and features 40 statement cards with phrases like “I associate colours and/or fashion items with gender” and “I often associate life skills with gender”. These questions serve “as triggers to ignite thoughts, share them and other experiences, discuss reactions to the experiences,” says Vivian.
She adds, “Participants may share freely their point of view and be willing to listen to others. Thus, the game challenges the participants to explore different perspectives, (e.g., someone from a younger or older generation) and discuss how one would understand or react to a particular gender stereotype.”