Copying and Gender

April 13, 2008

Yes, I stayed in the hotel where a fraction of O Homem Que Copiava (2003) was filmed. The lobby with it’s How-do-you-say in Brazilian Portuegese “trompe l’oeil” and the cafeteria nearby with it’s banana sushi. But if the movie is about:

André Maciel, a young man who works in a photocopier shop, falls in love with his neighbour Sílvia, who works in a clothes shop. In order to get closer to her he starts buying clothes he can’t afford. To pay for them he begins photocopying money, which quickly gets out of control.

then this post is about gender.

The initial query for “man who copied” morphs to “men who copied”. Looking over the past year there are 47 results for this query. Most of it is stuff like this. Which seems to be almost entirely about men copying religious pages or texts or scripture. If you can find a link about masculine copying that’s not religious, it’s likely to be about an Afro-Brazilian in Porto Alegre who gets a color copier, a life of crime and finally the girl.

Flipping gender for some reason and querying for “women who copied” for anytime and the results that come back are by and large about styles, attire, hair, feathered hair and tangos. Very little about religious texts.

Men copy religious texts.

Women copy fashions.

It’s left as an exercise to the reader to do a test for statistical significance between the two populations but clearly when it comes to language and gender, it’s not just words like chairman and spokesman that are loaded with generations of baggage but also phrases. He copied. Copied what? Copied testaments. She copied. Copied what? Copied a hemline. They copied. Copied what? Something worth copying. Wonder if there are entire sentences that appear gender neutral to 21st century standards but aren’t?


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