ERIC Number: ED228575
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Oct
Reference Count: 0
"Physician, Heal Thyself": Language, Like Air, Can Be Unhealthful; Counselor-Educators Should Lead Clean-Up.
Summers, Patricia M.
Some blatant forms of sex discrimination in education have been recognized and addressed in the last decade or so. However, judging both by graduate level counseling textbooks commonly in use and by counselor-educator and counselor-trainee behaviors commonly in practice, enlightenment about the potentially debilitating effects of language is still in order. Language, the most basic tool of communication and counseling, is typically loaded against women. It can trivialize their achievement, lower their aspirations and damage their self-concepts. The negative effects for women of sexist and exclusionary language also affect men, by perpetuating their limited perceptions of and expectations for women. Counselor-educators, ideally marked by high levels of self-awareness and sensitivity, should be leaders in a movement against sexist and exclusionary language. The supposition that children are often literal in their responses to language and grow into adults often unconsciously maintaining the same literal perspectives and usage, is reason enough for counselor-educators, in their texts and through their students, to break the chain. Viable alternatives to sexist, exclusionary language do exist. First, though, counselor-educators must be helped toward empathy with those directly affected by harmful language styles. With recognition of the problems, the solution--use of non-sexist, inclusionary language--requires only principled dedication and practice. (PAS)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Organization to Study Communications, Language and Gender (5th, Athens, OH, October 15-16, 1982).