Happy New Year Y’all.
It’s blowing a gale of rain and dark outside my window and I’ve worked through the night. No better time to formulate a post right?
Something got stick in my craw over the festive period – maybe a little before and it was this –
Why are sign in processes asking me for my gender? Is it all down to stats and metrics and if so – is there a better way?
Basically I was using a big media video streaming service (not the one I work for if you’re so curious) and I was asked to sign in. Okay – no biggie so long as the process is not painful. One of the mandatory questions was gender and guess what – only two options.
It so happens that I do fit one of those options, but what if I was transgender or somewhere in the middle ground or frankly just not down with mandatory gender query processes?
I had a few instant thoughts that are not really fit for broadcast and then a lot of questions.
Why ask my gender – is it to steer me at “Women’s programming” in the traditional sense? If so – no thanks. Is it to steer the advertising towards women? Well – you know, I already wash and buy fem hygiene products and I don’t need nappies and…oh yah, I find gender stereotyping in ads really irritating! I do not wish to buy drapes while checking if my hair has the requisite amount of whatever it’s supposed to do this year.
My more coherent thought was one of metrics. (Though I suspect adverts are a stronger point). I look at metrics myself, it *is* interesting to see what ratio of people use a site and where they are, how old, which of many possible sex categories. But there’s something a bit invasive about it being a check box I can’t get past to see a product.
The benefit of course could be that I check the “F” box and change a stereotype – maybe there’s lots of girls like me who want to stream the best of Engineering and Science comedy programming and this might help other girls like me get to see neat things when they log in.
So what’s the solution for getting useful numbers if we don’t ask people about themselves and what are the questions you cannot ask – or maybe should be asking in a different way?
All thoughts welcome in the comments as ever…