Ways To Avoid Sounding Like a Sexist Jerk–Even If You’re a Woman
This list has eleven tips. I am only copying 2 or 3 of them.
- by Jessica Bennett
Sheryl Sandberg wants to ban the word bossy, but that’s just the tip of the demeaning language iceberg
Whatever your opinion of the campaign by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In foundation to ban the word bossy — which, for the record, I advised on — one thing is indisputable: the power of words is stark.
Call a little girl “bossy” and she starts to avoid leadership roles because she’s afraid of being seen as unlikeable. People are already wary of assertive women at work, but call a woman “aggressive” out loud and they will probably like her less.
Call a female politician a ballbuster enough times, and people may actually be less likely to vote for her.
Words tell us something about the way our culture perceives women in power, and whether we believe they’re supposed to be there.
So, in an attempt to save you — writers, speakers, humans, journalists — from falling into the gender bias trap unintentionally, we’ve put together this handy guide:
On Husbands and Marital Status or Being a Mom.
We’re talking about pointing out that a woman is “unmarried” or even that she’s a “mother of two.” As Allyson Jule, the author of “A Beginner’s Guide to Language and Gender,” puts it: “These representations of women trivialize their lives and place an extra level of personal judgment on them.”
Please Stop Asking If Women Can ‘Have It All.’
When in doubt, read this column, from the public editor of the New York Times, published last month amid outrage over a magazine cover titled, “Can Wendy Davis Have It All?” “Despite its well-intentioned efforts,” the Times ombudsman wrote, “this piece managed to trip over a double standard with its detailed examination of Ms. Davis’s biography, including her role in raising her two daughters.”
And while we’re at it, let’s stop asking how women manage to “do it all.”
Tina Fey declared this “the rudest question you can ask a woman.” Because the answer is simple. She’s doing it the same way a dude would, except that he doesn’t have to answer questions about it.
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