language equity

Mon Nov 25 17:04:21 EST 1996

Ann Marie wrote:
i can honestly say that i personally have never felt excluded by these
terms either.  however, i do see the problem in addressing my class of 7th
graders.  i mean, there's no really good term for adolescent women except
girls, and that's been turned into a demeaning term.  i find myself
calling the class guys, as a gender neutral term... and it kinda scares
me.  i think my awareness of this problem is a first step, but i have a
ways to go on this as do many of my teaching colleagues...
I'd agree that I've never felt excluded by this kind of male-oriented writing,
etc. In fact, I only notice it when someone goes to great lengths to be gender-
neutral. I also use the term 'guys' as a group generic with my 2nd year medical
students in a lab/teaching situation. In the two years I've been at it, no one
has ever said/acted like they were offended by this term. When I'm speaking with
smaller groups of women, I tend to use the term ladies because girls does have
that goldilocks-pippi longstocking stigma. Again, no complaints to this either.
I guess I just don't let the gender-orientation of the language get to me --
although I do correct people when they speak of authors in journal clubs (or
whatever) as if they are all male. I've noticed that women are as prone to this
as men are, by the way...

just my $0.02


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