Language matters

Melissa McEwan of Shakesville has a fantastic post up on how masculine bias in language marginalises women and why, therefore, neutralising this language is so important:

Using “male” as the universal for all humankind is one of the most pernicious narratives of institutional sexism, diametrically opposite in its gravity from the seriousness with which it’s usually treated. Objections to, for example, the substitution of “mankind” for “humankind” are perhaps the most likely to elicit knee-jerk reactions of the exasperated eye-rolling sort, frequently even from generally feminist men and women, who might insist that there are more important things about which to worry.

But an inevitable effect of regarding “male” as the Norm is regarding “female” as the Other. Every time we engage in the little, unimportant thing of male-universal language, we are reinforcing the very foundation of inequality upon which the entire structure of institutional sexism rests.

Read the rest here.

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