Let’s Talk: The Culture of Gendered Language
“Don’t assume my gender.”
Congratulations; the 21st century has once again distorted the legality of an interpretation and has turned it into a meme. Identity has now taken on a new form of criticism in both good and bad ways. As many people have discovered new genders and sexualities, others also deem it necessary to overexploit that nature. The construct of gendered language has now transmitted itself into daily activities that people participate in, and will definitely influence you and I as well.
Gendered language can stem from multiple things. First of all, even the simple discussion with your female friends can start from ‘hey guys…’ If you first look at the word ‘guys,’ it may not be such an explosive ‘pronoun,’ rather a greeting. But it does matter. The entire construct of gendered language is seen at school, companies, home, and every daily aspect of a life.
The simple greeting phrase expands into other conversations as well. Who would represent the ideal head of a company? Oh, he would be strong, assertive, etc. People often react when a police woman is seen, or how certain jobs are “restricted for men only.” Who should be president? Well, he should understand politics and be able to lead the nation. These simple discussions have completely eliminated any representation of women and continually perpetuates the idea of a man- dominated society.
The language that we use shapes reality, as many people will state. Instead of trying to find a way to solve for problems, let’s first solve the problem of language. This is something that is easier said than done. For me, it took me a few months to realize how crucial it is to not automatically assume that someone is a she or he, and understanding more about someone’s perception on these words made me a lot more understanding.
Next time you have to greet a group of people, try saying ‘everyone’ instead of ‘guys.’ Even if English teachers won’t agree with my grammatical errors, using ‘they’ in place of ‘he’ or ‘she’ won’t automatically label the said person as a specific gender. Don’t let this cause fade away just like every other meme.