The doctor is a “she”

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You may think it’s wacked to write a post about one word in a commercial, but single words can create meta-messages, too.   I saw a commercial for a prescription drug this morning in which a man describes his own experience with the drug.   He mentions that his doctor recommended it: she said it would do x, y and z for him.

Those of you under thirty may not get why this matters to me, but twenty years ago we never would’ve seen a commercial in which a doctor was casually referred to as “she”.   It would’ve confused viewers as to who the narrator was referring to, since many of them still didn’t realize women could be doctors, or that any sane person would trust a “woman doctor”.

The fact that this pronoun appeared in this commercial in this context so comfortably that only a gender media critic would notice suggests we’ve made some kind of progress.

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