Ad of the Week: UN Women

by Stratton Craig

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Sometimes sentences finish themselves, as is the case in the latest campaign from UN Women. Using Google’s autocomplete feature, the new series of ads exposes the sexist sentiments that are so common the world’s leading search engine has come to anticipate them with the simplest prompts.

Dated 9 March 2013, each ad reveals everything from degrading stereotypes to dangerous discrimination by calling only on words repeatedly typed across the world. ‘Women shouldn’t’, for instance, suggests the shocking conclusions ‘have rights’, ‘vote’ and ‘work’. And, more alarmingly, ‘women need to’ is met with ‘be put in their place’, ‘be controlled’ and ‘be disciplined’

By picturing real-life women of various ethnicities and nationalities – all of them visibly silenced by these search windows – the UN is working to drive home the reality that sexism is not an isolated issue. The feelings that ‘women should’ ‘stay at home’, ‘be in the kitchen’ and even ‘be slaves’ are so widely felt that they wipe out any sign of positive thinking from Google’s search history.  

Google says that ‘men should’ ‘talk’. But the new campaign from UN Women shows we can all make a contribution to the global conversation. When men and women of all ages, races and circumstances speak out for women’s rights, the domino effect will be felt the world over – and, eventually, on Google search. By acting today we can begin to replace Google’s harrowing autocomplete messages with inspirational searches more reflective of women’s true capabilities.

What do you think ‘women should’ do? What is it ‘women cannot’ do that you want to see change for the better? Let us know what you’ll be typing into Google by tweeting @strattoncraig. Together we can create positive content that inspires, fosters healthy relationships and makes an imprint that lasts. 

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