This paper takes a look at research surrounding the use of gendered language and how it impacts occupations and careers from ages as young as grade school, and all the way into adulthood. The use of gender-fair language creates a more gender inclusive attitude towards traditionally male occupations. The masculine generic language used in our culture perpetuates gender stereotypes among children as young as six and continues on into adulthood. Changing the language to include both women and men allows for both to self-identify beyond the stereotypical occupations and see themselves as successful. This can be seen in how children view occupations as gendered, in whether or not women apply for job advertisements that use masculine generic language, and even in the job itself when the job relies on students evaluating a teacher’s performance. Self-identification is important in regards to success, and language plays a role in this. Even gender-fair language is not fully inclusive as it reinforces the binary and causes erasure in marginalized groups such as the trans community or someone who identifies as nonbinary. Language is a powerful tool to uphold current power structures and make privileged bodies hyper visible.


Fall 2020

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