Jack Uldrich
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A Woman Without Her Man is Nothing

Posted in Culture, Education, General, Quiz

Read the following sentence: A woman without her man is nothingChalkboard_professor  

My guess is that if you're a woman it may have pissed you off because you read it in the following way: "A woman, without her man, is nothing". If, however, you made just a small change in punctuation it could be read this way: "A woman: without her, man is nothing."

My point is this: Sometimes a small change can make a huge difference. In the above case, the meaning was fundamentally altered. 

This little exercise is a metaphor for the idea that big problems don't always require big fixes.

Consider the issue of organ donations. It is estimated that in America over 90,000 people are currently on waiting lists. Many of those individuals will, unfortunately, die on the waiting list due to a shortage of available organ donors.

It need not be this way. In Germany, only 12% of the population has agreed to donate an organ (in the event they die unexpectedly). In Austria, the percentage is a staggering 99%. The difference? In Germany, people must explicitly give their consent to donate an organ by opting in on a state-provided form. In Austria, people must explicitly opt out. In other words, in Austria, people are assumed to consent to organ donation but are free to opt out if they are uncomfortable with the idea.

In a perfect world, it shouldn't matter what wording the state puts on a form. If people want to donate an organ they are free to do so under either policy. Austria, though, has learned that a small change in language can lead to a huge change — one which saves many lives.

If other states and countries want to do the same maybe they should start by unlearning their "opt in" clauses.

3 thoughts on “A Woman Without Her Man is Nothing”

  1. .-. says:

    This is kind of dumb if you consider the original experiment that has to do with this sentence. A college professor told the class to correctly punctuate the sentence. Men wrote “Woman, without her man, is nothing.”
    Women wrote “Woman: Without her, man is nothing.” So it’s illogical to conclude that the sentence would piss a woman off because a woman would automatically punctuate it in favor of themselves. Or, it would be equally logical to assume men would read the sentence “Woman: Without her, man is nothing.” And be upset over that.

  2. shane says:

    .-. I really think you are missing the point of this article.

  3. Jack Uldrich says:

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, the other person did miss the point of the article.

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