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Ejercicios resueltos Write in your own words
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Write in your own words


Sexism in language - In your own words

Sexism in language - In your own words

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step, utter, leap, mankind, land, less, tend to, fields, reinforce, kindness, businessmen, housemaid, highly-paid, poorly-paid, role

"When Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon in 1969 he uttered a memorable sentence: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." If he had landed on the moon today, no doubt he would have said a much more politically correct sentence: "That's one small step for a person, one giant leap for humankind." Less poetic but certainly more literally representative of the whole of the human race!

Language tends to use male pronouns automatically whenever the sex of the person is not known: "Every student must bring his own calculator." This is a sexist use of language, which often suggests an inherent male dominance in many fields of life, and can reinforce the idea of female inferiority.

There is a tendency to associate certain jobs with men or women. For instance, "A director must do his best for his company," but "A nurse must treat her patients with kindness." In addition, job names often include reference to the sex of the person: "I'm meeting a group of businessmen next Friday," or "The housemaid must clean this." The use of such words tends to emphasise the idea that it is not normal for women to be in professional, highly-paid, technical or manual jobs, and that it is not natural for a man to work in such a caring (and generally poorly-paid) role as that of a nurse.

In your own words and based on the ideas in the text, answer the following questions. (?)

a) How has language changed since the 60s?

Nowadays language seems to be more concerned with the way words are used so a politically correct language is preferred because it avoids sexism.

Ayuda: la respuesta la debemos sacar de las conclusiones del texto. El texto comienza dando un ejemplo de una frase muy conocida que hoy en día se hubiera dicho probablemente de otra forma para evitar cualquier connotación sexista.  Es decir, el lenguaje tiende a adaptarse y palabras se cambian para parecer más políticamente correctas.

Vocabulario: nowadays: hoy en día; be concerned with: prestar atención a; avoid: evitar.

b) How is sexism expressed in some job names?

Sexism is expressed in some job names because the names of certain jobs refer to the sex of the professional in charge of the job. This is true in words such as “businessmen” or “housemaid”, where the same name indicates the gender of the person carrying out the job.

Ayuda: en el último párrafo, el texto nos proporciona ejemplos de sexismo en el lenguaje: hay trabajos cuyo mismo nombre hace referencia al género del profesional. Otras veces, la definición genérica de un trabajo (como “director” o “nurse”) utiliza pronombres que también hacen referencia al género de la persona generalmente asociada con ese trabajo. En estos casos, podemos decir que hay nombres de trabajos que reflejan el sexismo en el lenguaje.

Vocabulario: in charge of: a cargo de; such as: como; gender: género; carry out: llevar a cabo, realizar.

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