am doing a project on the effect language
has on society's attitude towards women.
If you have any information on how language
has changed owing to the feminist struggle,
or how language is still being biased towards
women, I would be very grateful.
obviously goes a long way both toward perpetuating
stereotypes, but also toward dismantling
them. When I first became "formally" active
in feminism, I read an article by Gloria
Steinem called "Words & Change" - it can be
found in her book, Outrageous Acts and
Everyday Rebellions. The article "reversed"
certain words and phrases as a means of
pointing out the absurdity of some things.
For instance, it might seem petty to insist
that someone is a chairperson rather than
a chairman; but think if everyone chairperson
were called a chairwoman how outraged people
would be about the limitations of this title.
I do think it's important to use appropriate
language, however this often means that
we can't rely on one norm or one standard,
since there are so many alternatives - and
options. Equate it to people of different
races and ethnicities - certain African
Americans want to be called just that, while
others thinks that's a misnomer and black
American is a more accurate. So in the
language department, I think the most we
can ask is that people be sensitive to it
and accurate as possible. You can check
out Dale Spender's writing for more on this
topic. Hope that helps.