When my friend Ruthie shared a screenshot of what happens when you Google “Women should,” my first thought was, “well, maybe ‘stay in the kitchen’ comes up as a suggestion because women are searching a phrase they disagree with.” My first thought was, “just because ‘be seen and not heard’ pops up doesn’t necessarily mean that people think that.”
My second thought was, “but there’s a reason those phrases are the most searched phrases that begin with ‘women should.’ Even if it’s a joke, or if the people searching them disagree, the phrases are still prevalent enough that someone would think to search them.” My second thought was, “I don’t much like that.”
My third thought was, “I wonder what Google would suggest to me if I typed in ‘Men should.'” I guessed that the most searched phrases beginning with “men should” might be “men should open doors,” or “men should care about women’s rights as much as women do,” or “men should really shave their armpits too.”
So I typed it in. “Men should.” I waited, but nothing popped up as a suggestion. “My computer’s just going slow,” I thought. I clicked to search. Here’s what came up:
10 women men should not marry.
The other suggestions used the words “men” and “should” with several words between them, unrelated to each other.
Really? There’s nothing else online telling men what they should do besides staying away from certain types of women? (Let me guess – the type of women who won’t shut up and stay in the kitchen? I don’t know; I didn’t click the link.)
My first reaction to all this was to imagine starting a #menshould campaign so that men would know how it felt to Google “women should” and see “stay in the kitchen.” But I don’t think it would work. I think my second reaction is better. Apparently “men should” do whatever they like. My second reaction is to imagine a world where the general consensus is that “women should,” too.