ERIC Number: ED191093
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Dec
Sexist Language and the Competence/Performance Distinction.
Sexist language provides a useful diagnostic symptom of how pervasively women's invisibility and degradation are manifested in modern society. In analyzing instances of sexist language usage, three types of factors may be considered: (1) linguistic facts related to the sexist usage; (2) cognitive factors--attitudes, values, perceptions--behind the sexist usage; and (3) political factors, involving identification of the desired change and the tactics for achieving it. The use of linguistic taboos demonstrates the nature of sexist language and its function in a sexist society. Such emotionally charged words as "fuck" and "come" refer to the male's role in the sex act, and such violent metaphors for sex as "to bang" and "to plow" illustrate the way sex and violence are related in a sexist society. If women refrain from using such emotionally charged words, they legitimate men's sole privilege to use them; if they use them, they thereby participate in their own degradation. The ultimate resolution of the dilemma faced by modern women striving for a more egalitarian society presumably presupposes radical change--political, social, and linguistic. (GT)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Modern Language Association (93rd, New York, NY, December 27-30, 1978).