A feminist Tumblr user learned a valuable lesson in linguistics when she suggested that the English language was inherently sexist.
The user, who goes by the name of Feminist Chewbacca, shared a piece of artwork from poet Richard Tipping, via Visual Poetry.
The piece showed how numerous everyday words relating to gender and identity often contain hidden words related to the male gender.
In terms of this particular piece, it is a perfectly valid example of how words can influence other words and have done for centuries.
At the end of the day, it’s just language and a piece of art which makes an interesting observation – it’s doubtful that the artist was trying to make a stronger point beyond that.
However, Feminist Chewbacca looked at it from a different angle when sharing the post on her profile.
Accompany the artwork was a caption which accused the English language of being influenced by the patriarchy. She wrote:
Men fabricated the idea that they are the default sex to compensate for their biological inferiority and general superfluousness.
This is not just the “natural order” this is the language of a patriarchal culture
A fellow Tumblr user going by the name of Rhysiare, who describes himself as a linguist, felt the need to point out that her argument was ‘wrong on many levels’ and proceeded to explain why.
In a lengthy post, he detailed why certain words appear to have a patriarchal element to them but that language is not something that has a bias towards one particular gender.
Of course, this is just a brief online spat between two people but it should serve as a valuable lesson; there are many sides to an argument or perspective.
HT Bored Panda