Gendered language and language change

06 Dec

Today I’m sharing an excellent paper, “The State of Gendered Language“, written by experienced and highly respected editor Sarah Grey.

Gendered language is language that takes account of gender and gender-related terms in a marked way, for example using “female doctor” or “male nurse” to point out ‘deviations’ from some shared ‘norm’, using the pronoun he for unnamed examples of bosses, and she for unnamed examples of secretaries, or promoting the gender binary by using he/she or his/hers when there are plenty of folk who exist along a continuum that’s not just binary.

As writers, it’s important to be inclusive – mainly for social and ethical reasons but also, why limit our audience? This article is likely to help writers understand the background of the changes they might be asked to make by editors, agents or readers.

As editors, many of us try to introduce these concepts to authors who might not have encountered them. This article gives us a great resource to back up what we’re saying with some solid and professional facts and references.

Sarah Grey’s article “The State of Gendered Language” appears on the Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders’ website. Thank you to my colleague Katherine O’Moore-Klopf for drawing my attention to it.

Other related articles on this website

Medalling, podiuming and singular they

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Posted by on December 6, 2021 in Copyediting, Ethics, Language use, Writing


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