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ERIC Number: ED259340
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Aug
The Great Personhole Cover Debate Revisited: A Test of the Generic "Man."
Cooper, Anne Messerly
In an attempt to determine whether the generic "man" has a strong association with maleness, 307 college students (122 males and 185 females) were polled to assess their attitudes about whether people "outgrow" the limited definition of man or whether the generic still retains an exclusionary, "mostly males" coloring. In order to prevent the students from guessing what was being tested, the experiment was set up as a story choice exercise on the subject of Bronze Age excavations on the Greek Island of Thera. The students rated 15 adjectives (from the Bem Sex-Role Inventory) describing the Theran people and chose one of three pictures to accompany the news story. Two versions of the test were randomly distributed--one with generic usages like "Bronze Age men" and another with inclusive usages like "Bronze Age women and men." The strongest finding suggests that words do have some effects--that words such as "man" and "mankind" do not call up images of females as readily as a phrase like "men and women." Thus the term, "mankind," is not truly generic. (Tables of findings and sample tests are included.) (EL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (68th, Memphis, TN, August 3-6, 1985).