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< Back to question Does androcentrism perpetuate gender roles? Show more Show less

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.

No, androcentrism does not perpetuate gender roles Show more Show less

The language that is claimed to be androcentric is historically gender-neutral, and any attempts to eradicate this language is wasted effort at best and oppressive at worst.
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Efforts to dispel androcentric language go too far

Replacing words like "mankind" with "humankind" is simply a form of political correctness that censors people. There is no need to change anything because there are more important issues.
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The Argument

It is simply common sense - "mankind" and words like it refer to all humans, not just men. Claims that these words are sexist and should be avoided merely because they contain "man" are pushing political correctness too far. The movement to change the "androcentric" language showcases radical feminists attempting to change how people speak, effectively censoring them, and taking away their right to free speech. Words like "mankind" have been used to talk about all people for a long time, and there is no need to change that by using another gender-neutral language. There are far more pressing issues--both in terms of gender relations and the world as a whole--than simply people's choice of words.

Counter arguments

It is important to recognize and combat sexism and prejudice in all forms, and this includes androcentric language. The word "man" is no longer completely synonymous with "person," which many dictionaries and writing guides acknowledge.[1][2] Many studies show that generic male-oriented language (such as using "he" as the default pronoun) makes listeners perceive a man as the default person, too, instead of a woman or gender-nonconforming person. This perpetuates the notion of men as the norm and anything else as the (potentially deviant) exception and can result in a number of detrimental effects primarily on non-male individuals.[3] Sexism is incredibly pervasive in society, so it is therefore essential that all people do what they can to eradicate it.


Rejecting the premises

Further Reading

Research articles analyzing resistance to changing androcentric language:



This page was last edited on Sunday, 6 Sep 2020 at 00:55 UTC

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