My middle school students seem to think SketchUp a bit sexist


I still can’t believe how having a sketchup developer in cartoon style can be viewed as sexist. It doesn’t fit my frame of mind that such a simple and humanizing idea can be regarded in such terms.

I also cannot conceive how a dog or a cat could replace someone from the sketchup team or someone considered special in the sketchup community.

The day I come to genuinely think that a human image should be replaced by a pet image so people don’t get offended is the day I get insane.

The world is getting strange and fighting for women’s freedom is not this.


Not much use really - I can’t find any “Save As Template” or “Set as default template” in the web version. And that has become the only version that is of much use as SU gets more and more in lock step with Microsoft.

But no matter SU is still just a useful minor drafting tool I would imagine for most people. The web version has saved it from being completely ignored, but has markedly downgraded its capabilities.


Dan. I had no intention of second guessing your reasoning. I simply agreed with your comment “I personally don’t care what the figures are, as I delete them.” and then went on to express my opinions, which I did not state to be, nor or could be in any way construed to be, yours.

I feel a little put off that you would think I would post a comment purporting to be your views. You should not assume that my posts are all about you.


Why not just make the default a man and a woman? Easy fix, no need for crazy debates. And it’s not about excluding men - but encouraging girls to get into STEM fields.


They might look like a couple. Just saying.


A couple of people is a couple of people.


Unless they look the other side😂


That’s when they look like a couple!


It’s your job as a teacher to demonstrate how Sketchup isn’t sexist with the context many commenters before me have shown you. The existence of men in a workspace should not dissuade girls or women from entering a STEM field and you shouldn’t be preparing them for entering it by wishing to neutralize the genders of the very developers of the software you’re trying to teach them. Within 90 seconds you could give them some SU context and history to assuage their offence.


I’d disagree with this. I think visibility plays an important part in career choices. In 15 years of working in offices - I’ve not seen a male in a secretarial position. Perception is a very powerful thing - if having both a male and a female appear at the start of SketchUp helps to get more women into STEM fields then, let’s do it.


At the community college where I work, this is our default SketchUp style:

Of course, our students are 17+ years old, so maybe it’s not an issue for them.

[trivia reference]


It depends on what version of SketchUp you have installed. The free / kids version of SketchUp is currently a guy - that’s where most of this conversation got started. Going forward, SketchUp should include both genders because it’s super easy, might do some good, and doesn’t do anyone any harm.

Tell the girls that a woman @eneroth3 is ranked as Top Developers for the Extension Warehouse…

Also, you’ll see that this SketchUp Forum is represented by people like @Caroline who is a woman.

I agree that girls need more role models to look up to but in my opinion, SketchUp is not sexist at all!



We’ll just need to agree to disagree. Perception is powerful and that is why your job as a teacher is important. If you value your students’ initial misconception of SU as sexist over the demonstrably unsexist history, you do your students a disservice by not taking 1 to 2 minutes explaining it to them.

Your not seeing a man in a secretarial position likely has more to do with pay scale and available opportunities for men versus women than perception.

Speaking/typing as a women who has been in an especially male dominated sector of construction for 22 years, I would encourage you to seek out and listen to women who have experience in male dominated fields of work to gain a better understanding of where the true battles are fought. There’s a podcast “The Broad Experience” about women in the workplace that may also help. This is a nuanced subject and you are approaching it manner that seems hamfistedly skewed towards what they want to see now rather than the reality of what you should be preparing them for.


I’m not agreeing that SketchUp is sexist. But, representation is important - and this is a particularly easy change. I think it’d be particularly empowering for a young girl to know she helped change SketchUp even in a small way.

And no, secretaries are not mostly female because of ‘job prospects’. Other minimum wage jobs are filled with a mix of genders.

Also also - I don’t believe this is a ‘battle’. It’s just a small change that can potentially do some good.


Ok so you add two people, one male and one female. This makes one particular middle school class happy.
But Hey what about this class over here, you haven’t represented any of them because they are not Caucasian. Or this group over here who are gender neutral, or any of the many other possible non represented groups. Pretty soon you’ll have a default template that opens on a stadium full of people…

It’s far more important to understand that you need to look at the whole before forming a conclusion. Teach the students to look into a situation in depth before they condemn it for some perceived fault that may or may not be correct.