Don’t mess with this (very polite) bot.
Image via YouTube
The Internet exploded yesterday with news that Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, had made it to the cover of Vanity Fair. But even news organizations that were “trying” to report the news “objectively” (heavy emphasis on the ironic quotes) misgendered Caitlyn, referring to her with only male pronouns. So a Twitter bot, named @she_not_he, jumped in with a solution: every time Caitlyn was referred to as “he/him,” the bot would automatically tweet a correction.
Developed by Caitlyn Dewey of The Washington Post and Andrew McGill of The National Journal, the bot’s voice is funny but firm, reminding readers of their mistake without completely excoriating them. @She_not_he identifies the error (“*Click, Whirr…It’s she not he,” it writes) before moving on. From its Twitter profile: “I am a bot politely correcting Twitter users who misgender Caitlyn Jenner in their tweets. I might make mistakes reading your tweet!! I’m only human. (Not.)”
Jenner has received warm words of support from her family and friends, including a celebratory letter from Laverne Cox posted yesterday on her tumblr (You can read it in full here). But even Jenner’s most enthusiastic supporters accidentally use old names and improper pronouns. The bot is a constant (and clever) reminder that we should call people by the names and pronouns they choose for themselves. Check out its brilliant work below: