Barak Obama, 44th President of the United States (2008) by George Clack (Editor)

By George Clack (Editor)

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5 Language is social behavior, but it is also the bridge between the Page xiii personal and social aspects of women's lives. Consequently, it is not surprising that one finds gender inequity conveyed in and through language in a society marked by gender inequity. In the past decade several excellent scholarly works have focused on various aspects of this language inequity in English. 6 There are at least four different notions of language in which gender inequity has been examined: (1) the internal makeup of English as in vocabulary, pronominal reference, and so forth; (2) patterns of language use, as in mixed-sex discourse versus female-female discourse; (3) verbal labels and other images used to refer to women and their experiences; and (4) character images of women portrayed in creative literature.

Feminists thus began to develop ways to initiate their youth into sex inclusive thinking, speaking, and acting. As more and more research highlighted the extent of sexism in society, feminist activism addressed the question of when and how this behavior could and should be changed. Unlike many of the nationalist developments in modern Europe, it was a foregone conclusion that the solution to sexism did not lie in seeking a territorial separation or in developing a separate distinct language contrasting with that of the oppressors.

1980. Changing Words in a Changing Words. : Educational Development Center. Thorne, Barrie and Nancy Henley, eds. 1975. Language and Sex: Difference and Dominance. : Newbury House. Thorne, Battle, Cheris Kramarae; and Nancy Henley, eds. 1983. Language, Gender, and Society. : Newbury House. Weiner, Elizabeth Hirzler, ed. 1980. Sex Role Stereotyping in the Schools. : National Education Assocation. , ed. 1972. North American Reference Encyclopedia of Women's Liberation. : North American Publishing Company.

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