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Does androcentrism perpetuate gender roles? Show more Show less
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Androcentrism refers to a worldview based on male perspectives and standards. Men and masculinity are viewed as the human norm and women and femininity are viewed as "other". Many languages--including English--have long used androcentric language. This can be seen by the use of spotlighting, order choice in conjoined terms, and male generic language which is the use of masculine pronouns and words like "man" or "mankind” to refer to both men and women, such as in Neil Armstrong's famous phrase "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Recently, though, many are arguing for more inclusive, gender-neutral language on the basis that androcentric speech ostracizes women and other genders.

Yes, androcentrism perpetuates gender roles Show more Show less

Androcentric language perpetuates gender roles by making men and masculine speech the norm, using male generic language to limit female representation, perpetuating gender stereotypes, and setting a different standard for how men and women are described and defined.
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Androcentric language sets a different standard for men and women

Androcentric language sets a different standard for how men and women are described and defined. Men are described more by their accomplishments and women their appearance. Men are also more likely to be defined on their own while women often defined by their relationship to men.

The Argument

Androcentric language reinforces gender roles by having a different standard for how men and women are described. Women are more likely to have their appearance described while men are more likely to be defined by their accomplishments or activities.[1] Appearance being focused on with women but not men is so common that it has a name: featurism. Focusing on this trivializes the contribution or accomplishments of the woman.[2] Studies have highlighted the differences in the description for men and women for federal funding reviews, letters of recommendation, and tenure evaluations in the medical field. Men’s careers or research are referenced, and they are described by values such as assertive or ambitious. Women’s training or teaching abilities are referenced, and they are described by values such as warm or communal. These differences reinforce gender roles and hold women back from advancement.[3] There is also a different standard for how men and women are defined. For example, unmarried women have been called spinsters while unmarried men were bachelors. Additionally, men are defined on their own, but women are often defined by their relationship to men. An example of this is the phrase "man and wife". The man is defined as an individual, while the woman is defined by her relationship to the man, his wife. The idea of defining women by their relationship to men can also be seen by the woman taking the man’s last name being the unquestioned norm.[1] Another example is how a woman’s title is dependent on her marital status (Mrs. Versus Ms. Versus Miss) while a man’s title is not (they are always Mr.).[2]

Counter arguments

Men are described by their appearance as well. It is very common for men (especially celebrities) to be discussed as "eye candy". This is no longer specific to just women. Additionally, just because different attributes are valued between men and women does not mean that this is hurting women's advancement. Traditionally feminine attributes can be highly valued and useful in the workforce.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Androcentric language reinforces gender roles by having a different standard for how men and women are described. [P2] Men and women are also defined differently with men being defined on their own and women often defined by their relationship to men.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Men frequently also have their appearance described.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Process_of_Gender.html?id=lP-5oQEACAAJ
  2. https://theconversation.com/gender-neutral-communication-how-to-do-it-38383
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5774006/#R8
This page was last edited on Thursday, 27 Aug 2020 at 01:24 UTC

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