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“Gay” Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community Sean McLennan Linguistics / Cognitive Science Indiana University OutRights Calgary, Alberta April.

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Presentation on theme: "“Gay” Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community Sean McLennan Linguistics / Cognitive Science Indiana University OutRights Calgary, Alberta April."— Presentation transcript:

1 “Gay” Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community Sean McLennan Linguistics / Cognitive Science Indiana University OutRights Calgary, Alberta April 3, 2007

2 "Gay" Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community Language and Gender gender-based differences in how people speak differences in how gender is talked about not always attached to social-inequality issues in and of themselves, linguistic observations have nothing to say about discrimination although they can be used to build a case

3 "Gay" Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community Language and the GLBT Community Interesting fields of inquiry language used to denigrate women is historically related to that used to denigrate homosexual men language use within the gay community has distinguishing characteristics – even innovative language reclamation used to diffuse social power

4 "Gay" Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community Male-As-Generic Bias in English Man / Woman Actor / Actress Heir / Heiress Hero / Heroine Man-hours Brotherhood Fellowship Masterpiece Generic “he” Dictionary Examples Again – this is an observable pattern; not an argument for social-inequality

5 "Gay" Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community “Gay” probably the most widely used, unaddressed Male-As-Generic

6 "Gay" Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community A Little Study Counts from Outlooks, March 2007 GayLesbian Total Occurrences16227 ContextMale440 Female027 Generic1180

7 "Gay" Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community A Little Study – Phrases Gay Lesbian null27gay and19 and lesbian19null4 community13slam1 men8readers1 man6road trip movie1 village4muffler1

8 "Gay" Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community A Little Study – Other Indicators WordCount Woman10 Man45 Boy11 Girl11 Queer26 GLBT24 Count PhotosFemale55 Male176 CreditsMale27 Female5

9 "Gay" Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community “Guys” Similar on the surface, but quite different syntactically predictable distribution is not correlated with gender historical evolution of the words are different

10 "Gay" Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community Distribution of “Guy”

11 "Gay" Sexism: Linguistic Sexism in the GLBT Community Interpretation More questions than answers is this indicative of social inequality? why is it unaddressed (or is it indirectly)? unique case of linguistic bias that is unattached to social power? GLBT community provides a unique sociological window that is not recognized


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