2018 was the year “they,” “them” and “their” became acceptable singular pronouns that can replace “he/she,” “him/her,” and “his/hers”.
“They” became an acceptable singular pronoun because our society has changed to both acknowledge and support the increased visibility of gender-neutral people who do not identify as solely male or female (i.e., “ungendered”). But that’s not the whole story.
It also reflects a more nuanced shift in how we view gender.
Americans – particularly Millennials and Gen-Z – increasingly don’t identify as a specific gender.
In fact, recent research found that 56 percent of U.S. Facebook users say traditional gender identities and roles are becoming irrelevant. In short, they’re identifying as ungendered. And among Millennials, Facebook found a 15 percent increase in conversations related to gender blur.
So what’ll be the impact on marketing and communications in 2019? For one: targeting.
Communications and marketing professionals still too often start audience targeting conversations with a binary choice: Are we trying to reach men or women?
But what happens when your target audience sees themselves as neither – or both?
This trend has fascinating implications for others sectors.
- Will retailers always have a men’s and women’s section – or will they add ungendered sections to their stores?
- How will health care practitioners have to adjust how they deliver care to people who are biologically one gender but don’t actually identify themselves as such?
2019 won’t be the year that an ungendered populace is fully embraced and accounted for in marketing, but this is the year it begins in earnest. Get ahead by challenging the assumption that your audience is either male or female.
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