2. Language Bias
Are men and women equal?
How are sex and gender different?
Examples of language bias
Symmetry and asymmetry
Unmarked and marked
Some words are not equal
3. 1. Are men and women equal?
On average, in developed countries, women
make 23% less money than men. In
developing countries, they make 27% less.
Women work two-thirds of the world
working hours, produce half of the world’s
food and yet earn only 10% of the world’s
income and own less than 1% of the world’s
4. 2. Are men and women equal?
Almost a quarter of the global population
lives in extreme poverty – on less than ¥100
per day. 70% of these people are women.
Gender violence causes more deaths and
disability among women aged 15 to 44 than
cancer, malaria, traffic accidents or war.
5. 3. Are men and women equal?
In Switzerland, Japan and Belgium, for every
100 men enrolled in higher education there
are respectively just 53, 63 and 78 women.
Women hold only 1% of executive positions
in the world’s biggest international
corporations. Women hold only 6.2% of all
ministerial positions worldwide.
7. Sex and Gender
Sex is something we are Gender is socially
born with. constructed.
Sex is biologically It is not something we
determined. are born with.
◦ It is announced by the It is something we do,
doctor: “It’s a boy!” or something we perform
“It’s a girl!”
and is created by
8. Both men and women are made.
Gendering begins when the doctor
announces, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!”
Male and female children are interpreted
differently and interacted with differently.
Boys and girls are treated differently and so
they learn to be different.
10. The ways in which language is
biased reinforces the making of men
11. Symmetry and Asymmetry
Generic: horse Generic: man
Female: mare Female: woman
Male: stallion Male: man
Young: foal (either sex) Young: child
Young female: filly Young female: girl
Young male: colt Young male: boy
12. 1. Unmarked and Marked
Doctor Lady doctor
Professor Woman professor
Surgeon Woman surgeon
Nurse Male nurse
13. 2. Unmarked and Marked
Family man Women are by definition
Men by definition have Career woman
Single/unmarried We do not talk about
mothers single/unmarried fathers.
14. Semantic derogation
(Words with demeaning connotations)
Master: “He’s my Mistress: “She’s my
Bachelor: Suggests a Spinster: Suggests an
fun loving guy who has old, grey, ugly woman
succeeded in not who has been unable
getting tied down. to get a man
16. Same words, but not equal.
He’s easy. He’s a man She’s easy. She has a lot
who’s friendly and easy to of sexual partners.
Calling a man a Calling a woman a
professional is a professional could mean
compliment she is a prostitute.
Calling a man aggressive Calling a woman
is also a compliment. aggressive also can have a
sexual meaning or mean
17. Addresses and Names
Mr. : Men keep their Miss, Mrs. or Ms.:
names after marriage Women usually take
and pass them on to their husband’s name
their children. and lose their maiden
Men are more likely to Women are more
be addressed by a title likely to be addressed
and their last names. by their first names.
Language is not neutral and affects attitudes
towards and status of men and women
Many language forms preserve and reinforce
attitudes that males are the norm.
Many language forms lessen women’s position or
role in society.
Words have positive or neutral meanings when
used to talk about men, but negative meanings when
used to talk about women.
Hinweis der Redaktion
When you go to buy a present for a baby, you will be immediately asked, “boy or girl?” Overalls for a girl are okay if they are pink or flowered. A frilly dress is never acceptable for a baby boy. Today in America, pink is for girls and blue for boys, but 100 years ago the preferences were reversed. Adults hear a baby’s cry as angry if it’s a boy and fearful it it’s a girl. Baby girls are handled more gently than baby boys. Parents talk to them differently. Parents use more diminutives (kitty, doggie) with girls. They say no or don’t do that more often to boys and what is said is independent of children’s behavior. Male and female babies cry the same amount, but as they get older boys cry less and less; primarily because adults respond differently to babies crying.
http://whendotheyservethewine.com/ Liza Donelly Accessed on May 22, 2011
Man can mean women, men, girls and boys or only men, and not women or children. Man is the norm.
Unmarked = common, norm Marked = not common, not the norm The last four seem to be for both sexes, but in reality we use them as if they only applied to one gender. When we use lady doctor, woman professor, and woman surgeon, we imply that the norm for those occupations is male. Only nurse has a marked form that is male. Nurses have lower status than the other professions. British National Corpus: lady doctor 125 times, woman doctor 20 times, and female doctor 10 times vs. male doctor 14 times.
British National Corpus: family man 94 times vs family woman 4 times; career woman 48 times, career girl 10 times, career lady once vs. career man 6 times, career boy or gentleman never. Career woman suggests that women can’t be real professionals, while as professionals British National Corpus: 153 cases of single mother and 68 cases of unmarried mother vs 2 cases of single father and 6 cases of unmarried father
Semantic is a term that refers to meaning and derogate means to cause something to seem inferior.
Women have choices, but in the choices that she has to make she must reveal something about herself; Miss that she is not married, Mrs. that she is married, and Ms. that she may be divorced (a common assumption) or that she is a feminist.