By Charles Williams
Late one night, I was playing around on Google Trends, which is overall a great source of insight into contemporary trends in politics, pop culture, family, common knowledge, and everything else. It documents the relative frequency of search terms in Google over the past seven years.
I threw in a couple of feminist buzzwords and quickly noticed a distinct pattern. I assembled and labeled these below:
So what was the deal with this pattern of increased activity in the spring and fall, dipping in the summer, with a sharp downward spike near the winter holidays? Being the regular Spearhead reader I am, I immediately conjured up images of thousands of damaged women venting and ranting on the internet about how men are pigs when I considered who was performing these searches. Since even most self-deigned feminists these days still try to capture beauty, I was even more perplexed from this result:
None of the pattern there! Itís not as if these supposed women are just using the internet less in the summer. Thereís nothing to see except for pre-Halloween peaks, but my sense of dread increased as I dared to test another hypothesis. Perhaps the conclusion is already dawning on you as well:
Thatís right. So many students in high school and college have homework to do and essays to write on gender, discrimination, and feminism that their trends are inseparable from the trends of school being in session. But those arenít the only things that follow the pattern:
Perhaps you arenít weeping for these children and young adultís futures just yet. What if they also cover some of the real issues that affect men and women in school?
No semblance of an education pattern is detected.
Were all these searches about taking down the non-existent patriarchy associated with the campaign for gay rights? I put some more trends to the test to find out:
They werenít, but the real kicker here that more people search for both gays and lesbians than they do for marriage.
What else do they learn in school these days? Are they learning about the principles of the Bill of Rights? Are they writing about the systems of a republic, or about the freedom that supposedly comes from living in a democracy?
About the only thing I can tell from these trends is that a lot of people tried to figure out what a democracy was during the presidential elections. I was confused as to why the 2008 peak fell after the election until I figured out that the Guns Ní Roses album Chinese Democracy album came out on November 23.