Дата публикации: 2017-12-07 18:43
As a word association football aside (only Monty Python fans will find that amusing), did you know that in Japanese you can say that someone did something without saying &ldquo he&rdquo or &ldquo she&rdquo ? You can form a gender-neutral sentence. I don&rsquo t know what this says about misogyny in Japan, which there is plenty of, but I do hear that these days Japanese women are often choosing not to get married at all. It seems they are rejecting the limited role of traditional wife and mother and choosing to go with a career. Interesting factoid.
I knew that there must be still other words that are usually only used to describe women, so I googled the subject, and in The Telegraph found this article by Radhika Sanghani with 69 words.
And here&rsquo s a great study by Pat K. Chew and Lauren K. Kelley-Chew that concludes that &ldquo male-gendered generics are exclusionary of women and tend to reinforce gender stereotypes. Yet, these words may not be recognized as discriminatory because their use is perceived as normative and therefore not unusual. In addition, those who use these words may not be intentionally harmful. Complaining about their use may even be criticized as a trivial activity or an overly sensitive reaction.&rdquo
By the way, as I mentioned in my review of Monstrous Regiment , there&rsquo s wonderful news from across the Atlantic. In the UK terms like &ldquo man up,&rdquo &ldquo sissy,&rdquo &ldquo cupcake,&rdquo and statements like &ldquo you throw like a girl&rdquo have actually been banned in schools. Teachers have been named &ldquo Gender Champions&rdquo and are using guidelines promoted by the Department of Education and the Institute of Physics, a London-based scientific charity that works to advance physics education (yay for them!). &ldquo Go make me a sandwich&rdquo is also among the new no-nos. Which tells you something about what kids were saying before this project started.
Why do we glorify men&rsquo s testicles and phalluses and degrade women&rsquo s sexuality? Even some of my favorite YouTube commentators fall into this trap, saying of men they scorn: &ldquo He must have a tiny [phallus],&rdquo or &ldquo Grow a sack!&rdquo or &ldquo What a p***y.&rdquo I&rsquo ve written to ask them not to, but I don&rsquo t hold out much hope for improvement. It&rsquo s too deeply ingrained, and, sadly, men who would cringe at a racist comment don&rsquo t seem to see that it&rsquo s just as bad to use words that put down women even while they&rsquo re ranting at a male.
People of both sexes exclaim &ldquo Dude!&rdquo at each other. &ldquo Oh, man,&rdquo and &ldquo oh, boy,&rdquo or &ldquo boy, oh, boy&rdquo are common catchphrases all over the USA.
Here is the little discussion I talked about in my new Snarky Review of Monstrous Regiment , which can be found on Goodreads . Thank you so much for reading through this post or at least skimming it because I actually worked really hard on gathering up all the nasty, sex-specific terms and catchphrases I could find. I think it just possibly may be the most complete list online. Before you read, you might want to see how many words/phrases you can come up with that are only used to refer to females and never (or almost never) to males. Go on, give it a try. It only takes a minute. Come up with at least five: that&rsquo s a tenth of what&rsquo s included below.
Her conclusions, in brief, were: &ldquo People communicate using a multitude of languages that vary considerably in the information they convey. Scholars have long wondered whether different languages might impart different cognitive abilities. In recent years, empirical evidence for this causal relation has emerged, indicating that one&rsquo s mother tongue does indeed mold the way one thinks about many aspects of the world, including space and time. The latest findings also hint that language is part and parcel of many more aspects of thought than scientists had previously realized.&rdquo
There&rsquo s still a lot of implicit racism in the English language, of course: in general dark things are bad and light, white, or bright things are good. That, frankly, sucks. And it behooves every one of us to think about it and try to fight it but others are doing a much better job than I ever could of arguing against this kind of racism. What we have to realize is that verbal misogyny is just as disgusting, just as harmful, just as pernicious, just as insidious, and just as necessary to stamp out. That&rsquo s my chosen task.
As babies we learn from language, and philosophers and philologists have argued for some time whether language actually dictates our thoughts rather than the reverse. I&rsquo m not going to insist that the strong version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is correct and there can be no thought without language, because that&rsquo s already been disproved. But no one can deny that language influences thought and that once language is learned the two are interdependent.