Gender-Swapping Grammar Lessons

k-mediumA Chrome app called Jailbreak the Patriarchy switches gendered words and makes for an eye-opening experience.

This app has inspired me to go a little further to see how the world looks when gender changes. So I’ve spiced it up by changing gendered names, etc., too.

“I Kissed A Boy (And I Liked It)” (male singer, of course)

I kissed a boy and I liked it,
the taste of his cherry chapstick.
I kissed a boy just to try it,
I hope my girlfriend don’t mind it.
It felt so wrong,
it felt so right.
Don’t mean I’m in love tonight.
I kissed a boy and I liked it.

Or how about this headline:

Women Fall For Facebook Scams More Than Men (especially when confronted by a scantily clad male “friend”)

Or, Gina Carey gender swapped book blurbs on her blog. Here’s a sample:

THE COLOR PURPLE: Chucky is a poor black man whose letters tell the story of 20 years of his life, beginning at age 14 when he is being abused and raped by his mother and attempting to protect his brother from the same fate, and continuing over the course of his marriage to “Ma’am,” a brutal woman who terrorizes him.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a husband.

LITTLE MEN: Meet the March brothers: the talented sissy Joe, the beautiful Mark, the frail Bobby, and the spoiled Timmy, as they pass through the years between boyhood and manhood. A lively portrait of growing up in the 19th century with lasting vitality and enduring charm.

LOLITO: Hannah Humbert is a middle-aged, fastidious college professor. She also likes little boys. And none more so than Lolito, who she’ll do anything to possess. Is she in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? Or is she all of these?

LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA: …As Florentina Ariza rises in her business career she whiles away the years in 622 affairs–yet she reserves her heart for Fermino.

Jezebel also did a little gender-swapping on some mainstream media. Here’s a Times articleon evangelical Christianity in Africa:

Traditionally, Kassena-Nankana men are not involved in everyday decision making, even about household matters. But the born-again men were forming committees, making speeches and organizing outings, fund-raisers and other activities. Tradition in Kassena-Nankana also forbids men to communicate with ancestors and other spiritual beings; only women can do that. But the Christian men were speaking directly to Jesus about their problems. She was, many of them may have felt, the first woman ever to listen.

And from Cosmo’s “The Hottest Things to Do During Halftime”:

Whether you’re a legit fan or just enjoy watching jacked girls run around in skin-tight pants, we’re psyched for football season. And to make this Sunday’s big game a little more fun, we asked women to tell us what they’d love a man to do at halftime. No surprise here — their answers all involved sex, nachos, and you in practically nothing.

Her Halftime Fantasy: “That he’ll sit next to me in a jersey and matching panties.”

And what if you need to read something on the web exactly as it was written? Why you can simply hit a key that will Jailbreak the Patriarchy to return to the world as we know it.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on September 9, 2013, in feminism, gender, psychology, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. This is absolutely fascinating. Sometimes the simplest examples make the strongest point!

  2. I have thought similar things about certain songs, most notably Pink’s “Don’t Leave Me”. Sure, it’s a catchy tune and a popular request…but if you really listen to the lyrics it’s about someone (probably a man) who is about to leave the female singer because of her abuse of him. “I’ve never been this nasty”, “You’re my perfect punching bag”, “I promise (in reference to never doing it again)”.

    If these lyrics were sung by a male singer, would the song have even made it onto the radio, much less to the top of the charts? Something to think about…

  3. Georgia, I thought you would find this interesting. Someone wrote a response to the FYI (If you’re a teenage boy) post that went viral recently. They took the letter and gender swapped it.
    http://theirondaisywrites.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-boy/

  4. Amazing how a simple swap opens our eyes to a whole new world. Would love to have the English canon jailbroken. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  5. This post made me smile, because more than 20 years ago, my father came up with this. I think he enjoyed the absurdity of the image:

    Under the spreading chestnut tree,
    The village smithy stands.
    The smith, a mighty woman is she,
    With large and sinewy hands,
    And the muscles of her brawny arms,
    Are strong as iron bands.

    I am sure that Wilhelmina Wordsworth is laughing, somewhere.

    Vivienne.

  6. Haha, these are great, really good for loosening assumed gender roles and shaking up the way we think :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Rohan.

  7. How about this one. It would probably be pretty funny. But the song by wu tang clan wait (the whisper song) and if it was reversed.

    “Hey how you doin papa? lemme whisper in your ear
    Tell you sumthing that you might like to hear
    You got a sexy ass body and your ass look hard
    Mind if I touch it? and see if its hard
    Naw I’m jus playin’ unless you say I can
    And im known to be a real nasty woman”……

    “Switch the positions and ready to get down to business
    So you can see what you’ve been missin’
    You might had some but you never had none like this
    Just wait til you see my clit”

    “Ay bitch! wait til you see my clit
    Wait til you see my clit
    Ay bitch! wait til you see my clit
    Imma beat dat dick up”

    “Like BAM, BAM, BAm……..”

    “Beat da dick up, beat da dick up….”

  8. Kind of amusing to hear it in reverse if a woman was singing the song and those lyrics used. I think it would turn peoples heads, and raise eyebrows ha. Not because it’s about sex or sexual, etc, because while not as much as men; there have been songs from women in rap, r & b and even pop songs with women rapping or singing about sex. Some lyrics vulgar, explicit, etc, so it’s not so much that. But with all the sex songs and explicit lyrics from previous songs by women like that, I don’t think there’s ever been a rap song, or other songs by a woman where the lyrics are sexually aggressive. For example, there’s the s and m song that came out a year ago by rihanna I think, but its more so about her being tied up and submitting and bondage, kink like sex and not I’m simply going to f*** your brains out sex lyrics, which is more often apparently a male thing, or atleast openly.

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