05/28/18 8:51 am
Of course. Ignoring vocabulary, which one can avoid if one desires, language can be grammatically sexist. Firstly, it often reinforces the social construct of gender through the use of gendered pronouns. Secondly, in languages in which nouns all have a gender, the choice of which gender can often be sexist. Example: in French the diminutive suffix "-ette" makes a smaller form of the initial noun. For example, the word camion (m) means truck, whereas camionnette (f) means small truck. Looks sexist to me.
Thirdly, realistically we shouldn't ignore how patriarchy influences the etymology of the words we use every day. Loony for example comes from the Latin "luna" meaning moon. It comes from the idea that women go a little crazy every moon cycle. Or the term husband, which comes from Old Norse, literally means "house manager," that is, the head of the house.
So the answer to the question is a resounding yes.
Zod Above Pugetropolis
05/28/18 5:39 am
I don’t think a language can be, it’s just a set of standardized conventions to facilitate communication. The tone of any particular language is a window into the society it serves. The sexism obvious in American English, for example, comes from the bias in the society and the way those in that society choose to use it, not from immutable flaws in the language itself. Voted yes anyway, on the principle rather than the technicality. As my favorite philosopher says, “I think we can all do better.”
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