The importance of language cannot be stressed hard enough. Our language affects how we perceive and understand things, as well as how we express ourselves.
Our use of certain words can be a direct way of showing everyone within hearing distance who we truly are and what we honestly believe in.
In our everyday lingo, we find ourselves blurting and spewing sentences automatically, almost like we’re chronically on auto-pilot mode.
Often times, these sentences carry deeper meanings than we may intend. We’re all guilty of saying the following completely gender-biased sentences that are dripping with sexism:
First off, let us start by stating the fact that the word “man” is a noun and not a verb. This sentence is spoken in the context of encouraging perseverance, strength and resilience during times of adversity – hold on, what does this have to do with being a “man”?
Being strong, emotionally and mentally, can never be defined or determined by one’s gender, and so in that context, this phrase does not, in any way, make sense.
“Grow a pair!”
Again, another example where we habitually equate strength with masculinity. Being tough, be it physically or psychologically, has absolutely nothing to do with one’s ownership of a certain organ, and so yet again, this sentence fails to have logical value.
“Stop acting so girly!”/ “Don’t be such a girl!”
The problem with this sentence is that it immediately attaches a negative connotation to being female. It’s also quite generic and asserts that all “girls” act in a single way that all males should avoid.
Acting like a girl or a guy or a dinosaur, for that matter, should never be looked down upon.
“You’re so ballsy!”
Seriously, what is up with our constant synonymous use of male private parts and adjectives signalling boldness and valiance? This is getting too much and needs to stop.
Having or lacking certain body organs does not determine the extent of your daringness and willingness to take a leap of faith. End of discussion.
Now that one’s double-edged. On the one hand, many of us use it to refer to someone who is spiteful and just generally nasty and terrible to be around, and on the other hand, some of us use it to refer to someone who’s submissive and/or made to act subserviently to someone else.
The verdict? Both of this word’s usages are sexist and derogatory to women, because they make being female out to be something undesirable.
“Oh man!”/ “Oh boy!”
Why are we equating male nouns with feelings of disappointment and general irritation? Surely, not all men are disappointing and annoying, so why do we all, during times of frustration, follow our sighs of dissatisfaction with one of the aforementioned phrases?
It seems quite irrational, doesn’t it?
In a nutshell, we’ve all shamelessly used at least a couple, if not all, of the phrases and words mentioned above – perhaps, unintentionally. It’s time, however, that we realized that the constant use of sexist, misogynistic and chauvinistic terms and phrases only lends support to and confirms discriminatory ideologies.
The next time you catch yourself about to throw a random comment or make a sarcastic remark, just hold on, catch your racing tongue and make sure what’s about to come out of your mouth does not hold any sexist implications.
WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss 5 Phrases Arabs Must Stop Using