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Chapter 24. Don't Go There: Words and Ex... > Sexist Language: Political Roadkill - Pg. 242

Don't Go There: Words and Expressions to Avoid Sexist Language Perpetuates Sexist Attitudes 242 A steady diet of sexist language encourages women to have low aspirations, to seek jobs rather than careers, and to think the so-called "glass ceiling" can't be shattered. Sexist language makes it more difficult for people who have been pushed to the margins to enter the mainstream. Sexist language is so pervasive that it sometimes seems natural. Nonetheless, sexist language sends a message that the only people with power are white middle-class males. When a single woman gets a letter address to Mrs. instead of Ms., she realizes that the writer neither knows her nor cares about her. Job descriptions with male pronouns automatically disregard more than half the population. Nonsexist Language: Level the Playing Field Nonsexist language treats both sexes neutrally. It does not make assumptions about the proper gender for a job, nor does it assume that men take precedence over women. Here are some guide- lines to help you use nonsexist language when you write and speak: 1. Avoid using he to refer to both men and women. Sexist: He is a good writer so he knows how to select suitable words. 2. Nonsexist: Good writers know how to select suitable words. Avoid using man to refer to men and women. Sexist: Man is a social creature. Nonsexist: People are social creatures. Avoid expressions that exclude one sex. Here are some of the most offensive examples and acceptable alternatives. 3.