Everyone, friends, students, colleagues … Surely you have come across this type of expression on more than one occasion, and it is that more and more people, groups and even brands choose to express themselves using an inclusive language. Why does inclusive language emerge? It’s a fashion? Is its use justified? To answer these questions, let’s see exactly what it is and what role it can play in your digital marketing.
What is inclusive language?
Inclusive language is a use of language that actively seeks to include people of all genders , and it is argued that current norms are not sufficient for this. Traditionally, in Spanish the masculine is considered to encompass all genders. Thus, to include a group of ten women, we say “all”, but if the group has only one man, the norm indicates that we must say “all”. People who defend inclusive language think that considering that masculine is the default gender makes more than half of the population invisible, in addition to causing confusion: when we say “the students”, are we talking about a group composed of exclusively by men, or are there also people of other genders?
To solve this situation, inclusive language raises different alternatives: there is no single inclusive language, nor a single “correct” way to use it. Let’s see what the options are and what pros and cons each one has.
1 # Unfold the genres
This alternative consists of including both the feminine and masculine gender , either separating the endings with a slash (“children”) or including both words (“ministers and ministers”). It is one of the most used and we have been listening to it for years (we just have to think of the Uruguay Phone Number List well-known “ladies and gentlemen, gentlemen and ladies …”). With it, there is no doubt that both men and women are included. But in return, it can be cumbersome and difficult to read (imagine how heavy it can be to unfold all the words in a text where a group is referred to).
Another criticism made of this resource is that it starts from a binary conception of gender, that is, that it only recognizes the possibility that there are men or women. Today, many people consider that gender is not a matter of “black and white” and identify with other options (non-binary, fluid gender, etc.). Therefore, they may feel that this option also excludes them.
2 # Replace the gender mark by “x” or “@”
This option also has its years, and is used especially in the most activist environments. It consists of replacing the letter that marks the gender (the “o” or the “a”) by another character that includes both:
- The at sign (if you look closely, it is made up of an “o” that surrounds an “a”). Eg “All” or “students”.
- The x (since all people have the x chromosome). Thus, we would speak of “children”.
Using the at sign or x makes inclusive language visible in a very effective way, but it also has its drawbacks: it is impossible to pronounce aloud, so it is a resource that only works for written language . In addition, screen readers (such as those used by people with visual disabilities) do not recognize these spellings, so we may be creating problems for another group.
3 # Replace the gender mark with an e
This inclusive language tool has been gaining strength in recent years and is one of the simplest: instead of using an “o” or an “a” to mark the gender, we substitute an “e” , which in theory It covers all genders: friends, colleagues, children. Unlike the previous option, this option can be pronounced and read perfectly, and it also includes all gender identities. Its only drawback is that it continues to cause rejection in some people, who consider that it does not sound natural . Although one could always wonder if the rejection of these people is not towards the idea of inclusive language in general and not this particular alternative.
4 # Speak in feminine
Here it is proposed to turn the tables directly and make the generic plurals in feminine: “all” . It’s a good way to make the problem visible and see what happens if we do just the opposite of what we usually do: why is it so strange to think that the feminine can include all people? Precisely this summer David Tomás proposed us to use the feminine to speak of management , that is, to say “the general director” or “the CEO” when we refer to these positions in generic terms. The idea is to change our mental image of the person who occupies these positions and thus make it easier for women to reach positions of power in the future.
5 # Use inclusive formulas within the rules of the RAE
Finally, we have the option of using our imagination to find formulas that fall within the rules of the RAE without having to resort to the generic masculine (Spanish can be much more flexible than we think!). Here are some examples:
- “Hello everybody!” instead of “Hello everyone!”
- Use collective names such as “the teachers”, “the students” or “the team”.
- Talk about “people who” or “who”, instead of using masculine names like “users”.
- Take a look at the phrases: “come and try our new ice cream” instead of “you are all invited to try …”.
If you squeeze your neurons a bit, you will see how in many cases a solution can be found.
This option manages, on the one hand, to be inclusive and, on the other, to respect current Spanish standards , so in a sense it combines the best of both worlds. In addition, being discreet, it does not generate rejection (you have not even noticed that we have not used generic masculine in this text?). The drawback is precisely this invisibility: by going more unnoticed, we do not draw so much attention to the claims that are behind inclusive language.
Why incorporate inclusive language into your digital marketing?
Each brand must decide how to communicate with its audience based on its goals and personality. That said, I think there are very good reasons to consider incorporating inclusive language into your digital marketing:
- Because the way a brand communicates reflects its values . Each brand has its own style, and this is reflected in the language. There are brands that treat the public about you or you, more or less colloquial, with or without anglicisms … and all of that tells us a story about who is behind it. Using inclusive language tells us about a modern brand that cares about gender equality and gives women the role they deserve.
- Because it is increasingly accepted . We are in the 21st century, and luckily we are increasingly aware of social inequalities. In recent years we see more and more stories about women and other oppressed groups and more concern about their needs. Given that inclusive language is a reflection of all this, it is increasingly common to see the media, individuals and groups using it when expressing themselves.
- Because language evolves with speakers . Many people put their hands in their heads when thinking about contradicting the rules of the RAE, but the truth is that the dictionary itself and the spelling rules are updated regularly and many words change their meaning and the way they are written. For example, a few centuries ago “airplane” meant “bird.” Oh, and I’m sorry to tell you the RAE dictionary includes the word “almóndiga” …
- Because there are already brands that use it . Zity, Operación Triunfo or even Citroën have already used inclusive language in their digital marketing. Standing out as pioneers may have earned them some criticism, but certainly praise as well.
- Because it helps to connect with an aware public . In a natural way, we connect with brands that reflect our values and way of thinking. Using inclusive Phone Number List language is a very clear way of distinguishing itself and positioning itself as a brand that cares about the rights of minority groups, so people who have these types of values will not stop taking note of it.
In addition to encouraging you to use inclusive language if you think it is appropriate for your brand, I also want to end by reminding you that the way you communicate is just one more ingredient in the fight for equality. There are many things we can do in companies to improve the situation of the most disadvantaged groups: implement an equal recruitment policy, implement measures to promote work and family conciliation or include people from different groups in our advertising images. Let’s start creating a better world now!