Language Gender And Culture Essays

Language Gender And Culture Essays-45
Sentences like “The female doctor walked into the room” or “The male nurse walked into the room” reinforce such assumptions.Unless the sex of the subject is important to the meaning of the sentence, it should be omitted.Another approach would be to simply repeat “the student,” but “ask the student to describe the student’s purpose and audience and show how the student has taken them into account in the student’s writing” doesn’t sound very good.

Sentences like “The female doctor walked into the room” or “The male nurse walked into the room” reinforce such assumptions.Unless the sex of the subject is important to the meaning of the sentence, it should be omitted.

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A simple alternative when addressing or referring to a woman is “Ms.” (which doesn’t indicate marital status).

Another note about titles: some college students are in the habit of addressing most women older than them, particularly teachers, as “Mrs.,” regardless of whether the woman in question is married.

And using “she or he” or similar constructions can also inadvertently exclude people who do not refer to themselves using either pronoun.

Another strategy for gender-aware writers is alternating genders, using masculine pronouns in some places and feminine ones in others.

As we discussed at the beginning of this handout, the practice of using masculine pronouns (“he,” “his,” “him”) as the “default” is outdated and will confuse or offend many readers.

So what can you do when you’re faced with one of those gender-neutral or gender-ambiguous language situations? In situations where a pronoun needs to refer to a person whose gender isn’t known, writers sometimes use “he or she” or “he/she” (or even “s/he”), “her/him,” etc., as we did in the example just above.And using gender-neutral language has become standard practice in both journalistic and academic writing, as you’ll see if you consult the style manuals for different academic disciplines (APA, MLA, and Chicago, for example).Tackling gendered references in your writing can be challenging, especially since there isn’t (and may never be) a universally agreed upon set of concrete guidelines on which to base your decisions.But there are a number of different strategies you can “mix and match” as necessary.“Man” and words ending in “-man” are the most commonly used gendered nouns in English.Putting the masculine form first is more conventional; “she or he” may distract readers but does make the point that women are not just being added onto the generic “he.” Here are some examples: While this solution specifically includes women and men and works well in many situations, some readers find it stylistically awkward, especially when “she or he” or “she/he” is repeated many times throughout a piece of writing.Also, by going out of its way to refer to multiple genders, this approach risks calling attention to gender in situations where it’s not relevant.English has changed since the Declaration of Independence was written.Most readers no longer understand the word “man” to be synonymous with “person,” so clear communication requires writers to be more precise.(Here’s an example where the health care professional’s sex might be relevant: “Some women feel more comfortable seeing female gynecologists.”) Another example of gendered language is the way the titles “Mr.,” “Miss,” and “Mrs.” are used.“Mr.” can refer to any man, regardless of whether he is single or married, but “Miss” and “Mrs.” define women by whether they are married, which until quite recently meant defining them by their relationships with men.

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