Hamilton College: Avoiding Sexist Language

I never knew there was such a big deal to be made with certain terminology until this year (
2012). I know that I had already been working on making my speech and writing more acceptable and presentable. I had noticed some years ago the way people responded to how I said and wrote things, and finally found out that it was not so much what I was saying, but how I was saying it. Words that most people held negatively I held as neutral and still to this day that persists somewhat, but I am working on some and stay steadfast on other terms. Some of my terminology was tainted by beliefs, portraying more close-mindedness and condemnation as opposed to being open minded and dealing with just the facts as I have often tried to do. So adjusting my terminology to match my disposition and intent has done nothing but help.

I encourage all, especially men, to incorporate these suggestions into their lifestyles. I understand men often don’t understand the big deal, because even as open as I was to the concept of patriarchy, I still have a difficult time agreeing with some of the issues but what can it hurt to acknowledge that some people may be offended and that we are perpetuating silent sexism if we do not change the way we do things?

Avoiding sexist language is tricky, but far from impossible. The most important thing to remember is that each problem has its own best solution. There is no quick cure; no one right answer. Consider the individual sentence or phrase. Consider its context in the work as a whole. Consider your audience; feel free to talk to your professors, for example, about the solutions they prefer. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice grace for gender-neutrality. The more practice you have in eliminating sexist language, the easier you’ll find it.

Continue reading via Writing Resources – Avoiding Sexist Language – Hamilton College.

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