Gender neutralization has become the talk of the town primarily to reduce gender discrimination and stereotyping. Two distinct approaches have been introduced to make it happen; neutralization and feminization. Surprisingly, people from every nook and corner of the world have responded positively to this initiative to play a significant role in bringing this change.
However, linguistic gender asymmetries have deeply engraved their roots in our society, and thus, it is nearly impossible to make things better overnight.
If you look around, you will observe people using masculine terms generically to refer to all, irrespective of their gender. On the other hand, the feminine term is used for women only. Unfortunately, this has become a usual practice, and in this way, we have subconsciously adopted the habit of stereotyping and discriminating against men and women.
Fortunately, the crux of the matter is that people are gradually becoming aware of using gender-fair terms and are consciously trying to submit themselves to this practice.
Let us now talk about the significance and impacts of combating linguistic gender asymmetries. It will help us have a broader view of the picture.
How does gender neutrality affect language?
Language is viewed as a form of expression and a common medium of communication. Yet, it is, somehow, a vivid reflection of our culture, societal norms, traditions, and thinking capacities. This idea shows why linguistic gender neutrality has become a major point of concern over the years.
Indeed, it has a lot to do with the language we speak. For instance, we usually use pronouns such as “he” and “she” to refer to men and women, and gender neutrality demands a 360° shift in that norm. But how do we even replace these commonly used pronouns? Yes, it is tricky as it may seem, but it is essential for promising a better tomorrow to your future generations.
Coming back to the essence of this section, the pronoun “they” serves as a sensible substitute to “he” and “she.” significant Studies suggest that one can even use “they are” in place of “he is” or “she is” but it is suggested to use “they are” since we have been in a practice of using plural pronouns with “are.”
So, gender neutrality aims at influencing the way we refer or speak to individuals based on their gender. But, apart from that, it will merely have any effect on the language we speak. In other words, it is more about eliminating the use of masculine and feminine terms or about erasing the concept of using masculine terms to refer to all human beings.
It seems complicated and potentially impossible, but things will gradually fall into place with conscious efforts and practice.
Does gender-neutral language matter?
Our language impacts the way we think, behave and comprehend a particular matter. It somehow defines the way our society treats a man and a woman. Therefore, Gender-neutral language can potentially bring a massive change in our surroundings, providing us with a way to re-shape this world as a heaven for all human beings. Undoubtedly, it promises equality among the asses and gives us hope to breathe in a world where women’s rights will be guaranteed.
Let us now have a look at the various positive impacts of promoting Gender-neutral language.
- Improvement in career stereotyping and discrimination
Whether we accept it or not, our career choice is directly or indirectly influenced by our surroundings. We stereotype gender roles in every relationship; similarly, we only associate a specific career with a particular gender. This limits the career options we have and thus, compels us to pick and choose a gender-specific job without any choice. Gender neutrality promises to take a till on such insensitive issues.
- Equality and Justice for transgenders
transgender people are rarely given any rights or identity. Most countries do not even accept their existence and thus make no or mere efforts to help them survive irrespective of all odds surrounding them. Thankfully, gender-neutrality will instill in us an ability to accept and acknowledge transgender people as a significant part of our society.
- Improvement in living standards for both; men and women
The most admirable part of adopting gender-neutral language is that it strives to improve our society for both men and women. From erasing stereotypes to eliminating gender roles, it can revolutionize how we live as men and women for years. Whether you were treated as a female police officer or how your friends bullied you as a male beautician with feminine attributes, gender-neutral language can serve as an effective solution to such unattended or consciously ignored social issues.
Gender-neutral language samples
If we observe our surroundings to incorporate gender-neutral terms, we will better realize what needs change. To make the idea clearer, let’s have a look at the following examples.
1. Workplace stereotyping and discrimination
Official ranks are often stereotyped by entitling them as “policeman,” “chairman,” and “fireman,” etc. However, we can easily use gender-neutral terms such as police officer, chairperson, and firefighter instead of using our language as a means of discrimination.
2. Stereotyping and discrimination in our routine communication
Similarly, instead of specifying our children as daughters or sons, we can refer to them as children. The same approach must also be adopted to refer to our brothers and sisters; the word sibling can serve the purpose. Sociologists even suggest avoiding using gender-specific terms like a grandmother, grandfather, father, mother, etc. Since grandparents and parents are equally likely to work as a better substitute for these words. It may seem weird but focus on the long-term benefits of bringing this change.
Gender neutrality promises a world where equality prevails; it promises a world where gender roles do not exist to suffocate the truest potentials of human beings. Therefore, it is essential to accept and acknowledge this idea and to promote and ad
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