Sexism in Language
Alberto García Acosta
Ruth Elizabeth Delgado Carrillo
Let’s begin by defining the word sexism:
“Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex”. So, as we can see from the definition, even though sexist attitudes can be directed towards both a male person and a female person, they are usually inflicted upon the female gender. Sexist language, therefore, refers to a certain way of using the language in favor of a specific sex, thus discriminating the other one. But, during this composition we are going to analyze how sexist language is, as we mentioned before, usually directed towards women. We are also going to analyze a bit further on how people react towards this kind of language and how we can avoid using it.
Still in our present, men are considered the form of the human species. The word “men” or “man” if often used to refer to all humans’ characteristics, ways of thinking and actions. We can see some examples of this in famous phrases such as Neil Armstrong’s first words when he stepped on the moon:
“That’s one small step for man and a giant leap for mankind” Or phrases like:
“Man has always been driven by his desire for happiness” So, even if these expressions may not be trying to discriminate women, they still show us that our society’s views on mankind usually take the male form as the representative for our actions and ideas. We could then argue that the existence of sexist language is due to the existence of sexism in society. If we go back a few centuries, or even just a few years from today, and analyze the attitudes and points of view society had towards women, we will see that a “sexist” attitude has almost always been present throughout history in our society. Even less than a hundred years ago, women were not even allowed to vote. It would seem then, that sexist language derives itself from the social problem that is sexism....
References: Sarrasin, O., Gabriel, U. and Gygax, P (2009), “Sexism and Attitudes Toward Gender-Neutral Language. Retrieved from: http://www.unifr.ch/psycho/site/assets/files/lingsoc/SarrasinGabrielGygax_preprint.pdf.pdf
Uknown author, “Sexism in Language”, Retrieved from: http://www.linguarama.com/ps/legal-themed-english/sexism-in-language.htm
Richard Nordquist, “Sexist Language”, Retrieved from: http://grammar.about.com/od/rs/g/sexistlanguageterm.htm
Joyce, P. (1987), “Women and Language in Translation” Retrieved from: http://books.google.com.mx/books?hl=en&lr=&id=Q440jZBUpsMC&oi=fnd&pg=PA3&dq=sexism+in+language&ots=7hyuP5m6nb&sig=99S4RLB5AQ2nyRjRBeH8q9w_QYM#v=onepage&q=sexism%20in%20language&f=false
The following link is to an interesting YouTube video on how to avoid sexist language by the use of gender-inclusive or gender-neutral language:
Please join StudyMode to read the full document