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Posted at 9:42 AM ET, 03/ 8/2011

Google Maps get girly to celebrate International Women's Day

By Melissa Bell
google maps
Meet Pegwoman (bottom right corner).

It's International Women's Day and Google has given me the gift every girl would want: a female icon on its map.

From Google's official blog:

When you use Google Maps on March 8, you'll notice that Pegman, Street View's trusted guide, has a new friend. He invited his colleague Pegwoman to join him on the map today to celebrate International Women's Day!

Long brown hair, blue sundress, Pegwoman is ready and willing to get down on the street level for you. For one day only. I'm a fan of Google. I love their doodles. I refuse to switch to Bing, despite Verizon's attempt to trick me into it. But, really, Google? Pegwoman?

First of all, it sounds like Pegwoman will be here just for one day only. Much like International Woman's Day, setting aside one day a year suggests the other 364 days belong to Pegman. Everyday is Pegman day! That's a pretty unfair split.

And second, if we are trying to celebrate women, why must she be thrown back into a skirt? Why is Pegwoman still defined by a mode of dress made obsolete by Coco Chanel in the '20's? It just seems to force gender divides rather than trying to bridge them.

Yes, there is a vast amount of gender inequality in this world and the day allows for awareness about that inequality to be brought to light. International Women's Day has been celebrated for 100 years, but in most parts of the world, women still lag behind men significantly in economic development and education. They are also most often brutalized during conflicts. According to the United Nations Women group some estimates show women represent 70 percent of the world's poor and six out of every 10 women experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.

The day offers a chance for women and men to reflect on those issues and move to end the inequalities. Google has dedicated its search doodle to advertising charities that support women around the world. As Google is the top-ranked site in the U.S., that's a pretty good spot to advertise in. Google did not completely falter on the celebration of women. I just could have done without Pegwoman today.

By Melissa Bell  | March 8, 2011; 9:42 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Posted by: greensophia88 | March 8, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

On one hand, what you say is true. Of course, it is rather exaggerated. International Women's Day is a day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. It's not meant to be a day to treat women with respect, then ditch this respect the other 364 days.

Also, although it's called "pegman", there is really no clear indication of gender. So, the fact that you don't like the fact that adding a dress helps to define "pegwoman" doesn't really give useful suggestions as to what they COULD have done that wouldn't also be problematic. If they had added breasts, then this would have merely objectified women as "creatures with breasts". If they had given the icon longer hair, what about women with short hair? No matter which angle they might have taken to create a small icon clearly meant to be female in gender would have been problematic. In fact, anything they might do to clearly make "pegman" male in gender would be problematic as well. So, I think debating a little icon is splitting hairs.

Biggest of all, perhaps you missed the link from Google Maps to this page:

A site dedicated to the cause, created by Google. Anything else Google may do to icons are merely meant as an attention getter. Ultimately, the significance of the day is more important than any media attempt to garner attention for the day. So, nitpicking on any of these media attempts only helps to distract from the day itself, or to turn it into a day of complaints.

Posted by: BIGELLOW | March 8, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I agree with BIGELLOW. Some people really need to stop and think about what is really WORTH complaining about.

Posted by: lawyer77 | March 8, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

And here I thought International Women's Day was an excuse to give flowers, candy and dinner reservations to my wife, who, btw, is wearing a skirt and earns about half of what I do.

Posted by: JoStalin | March 8, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

First I want to say that IDIOT Sarah Palin has made me appreciate Hillary soooooo much more because of all the things I called Hillary, DUMB NEVER came out of my mouth! hahahaha I have also noticed Hillary looks so much better in her new job. As first lady and Senator she looked so old but since new job her hair etc looks so refreshing. I've always admired how her and Oprah refused to go get over botoxed etc. just to look better on camera.

Posted by: MDlady2 | March 8, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

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