Free Essay About Gender Bias In The English Language

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Women, Men, Gender, Crime, Society, Social Issues, Language, Sexual Abuse

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/06

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Reaction Paper: Real Men Don't: Anti-Male Bias in English by Eugene August

Introduction
Males have to live up to certain standards imposed to them by society. Being a male is a struggle in itself yet it is seldom mentioned in literature. For the same reason, Eugene August, in his article, ‘Real Men Don't: Anti-Male Bias in English’ may have been motivated by the common yet unpublished gender struggle of being masculine. August believes that feminism has been too overwhelming that most people overlook the way men become men in society. All they see is how women are the common victims and men are the usual culprits. By discussing the hidden aspect of being male, August’s article attempts to finally illuminate how sexism has affected the male gender as much as the female gender in human society. By taking a critical look into his essay, this paper would like to determine if there are any flaws to August’s arguments.

Studying language to understand culture is not a new thing. In fact, there is a certain discipline dedicated to language commonly referred as linguistics. As observed by Terry and Irving, language and culture is difficult to separate as “one cannot be defined without the other”. For the same reason, August’s approach of using language to understand sexism is quite logical. In order to prove how men have been unwittingly marginalized in society as compared to women, August’s article focused on English words that form as proof of this marginalization. Accordingly, the English language is full of anti-male usage that are not only unconsciously used but also encouraged even by the academia. August further classified these demeaning words towards the male gender in to three: gender-exclusive language; gender -restrictive language; and the negative stereotypes of males. Gender-exclusive languages, according to August, attempts to alienate the males negatively from females. These are those languages that automatically refer to females without much contemplation. Word such as parent, mother tongue, and so on as well as phrases such as innocent women and children and rape victim are generally understood to be selectively feminine with no apparent language to denote the male counterpart. Gender-restrictive languages, on the other hand, refer exclusively to males. Words such as sissy, wimp, nerd, and jerk are just a few examples of words that apply restrictively to male and are commonly used in the context of insulting them. According to August, gender-restrictive words are often used as a form of social control; that is, to influence males to do what society expects them to do. As observed by August, “And so it goes throughout our young man's life; if he deviates from society's gender role norm, he will be penalized and he will hear about it”. Lastly, August identifies languages that are negatively stereotyping the male gender. For example, words such as suspect, rapist, murderer and the likes are generally believed to denote the male gender. Unconsciously, these words have been so attached to the male gender that whenever these words are mentioned, the male gender is what automatically comes to mind.

Development of Anti-male Language

Anti-male languages are not imposed. Evidently it is not a product of anti-male sentiments but is an obvious representation of the male gender and how they are generally perceived in society. On how these anti-male languages developed is equally interesting. The word ‘Parent,’ for example may have been largely related to the female gender simply because it is the woman who naturally bears the child in her womb and eventually nurtures the child until the child reaches adulthood. It is quite peculiar for a mother to abandon the child especially during infancy, making the bond between the mother and child almost inseparable. The father, on the other hand, is biologically useless apart from conception. For the same reason, to exclusively refer to the female when the word parent is involved, is quite understandable under this context. Similarly, the word ‘rapist,’ for example, is peculiar for a female; even out of the ordinary. It does not exist. Perhaps in a female to female interaction as in the case of a lesbian and a girl, rape can occur but it seldom happens. According to statistics, more than 18% of women have experienced rape as compared to 1.4% of men. Based on this statistics, it is quite evident that there is a huge disparity between cases of rapes between men and women so that cases of men rape when compared to women becomes insignificant.

Relationship of Deviant and Criminal Behavior to how Males are perceived in Society

It could not be argued that men commit crime in higher rates than women. Male criminality is especially greater both in number and intensity in committing serious and heinous crimes. As observed by Schwartz and Steffensmeier, males commit crimes more frequently than females even in minor crimes such as larceny, fraud, substance abuse and prostitution (Schwartz, J., & Steffensmeier, D., n.d., p. 45). Undoubtedly, major crimes such as homicide, rape and murder has been mostly attributed to male offenders and no significant increase have been recorded for women. Perhaps it is the upbringing of women in society that makes them different in terms of criminality as compared to men. Evidently, women are expected to be meek, refined and poised as oppossed to men who were brought up to fight and posses strength of character and physique. Studies have also shown that women are more passive as compared to men, which subsequently means that men are more likely to commit crimes of passion such as rape and other sexual offenses. Some people, however, are skeptical of the difference between the crime rate of men and women. Just like August, several scholars challenged these conventional theories. Polack, for example, believe that the extent in which a woman commit crime is not as different as with men however it is somehow masked and so it goes undetected most of the time (Polack as cited in Steffensmeier, D., & Schwartz, J., n.d.). Among the crimes that women commit the most that goes undetected are minor offenses such as “shoplifting, domestic thefts, thefts by prostitutes, abortion and perjury”. Polack also believe that there is bias in the treatment of criminality between men and women wherein women offenders are less likely to be arrested and prosecuted as compared to men. Most often, women are only viewed as accomplice and that male victims often feel ashamed to report women in which they see as quite embarrasing. Polack also pointed out that even authorities are often “too chivalrous” to arrest or persecute them (Polack as cited in Steffensmeier, D., & Schwartz, J., n.d.). Even so, assuming that some women does exhibit criminal and deviant behavior, researchers believe that this is due to an “excess of male characteristics” (Lombroso & Ferraro as cited in Steffensmeier, D., & Schwartz, J., n.d.). In this context, most criminal studies have been conducted with men as the focus while women criminality have been mostly ignored and have not been the focus of much attention.

Conclusion

The negative connotation of the male gender has been a product of actual experience and not by gender bias. For the same reason, gender-exclusive language; gender -restrictive language; and the negative stereotypes of males could not be blamed on society because these perceptions have developed over time in connection with actual experience of society on masculine behavior. On how the male gender has been negatively perceived, for example, is strongly related to the deviant and criminal behavior difference between the sexes. The tendency to commit crime has been mostly associated with men. It is a fact that only few women are being convicted of crimes as evidenced by data from arrests made, reports and convictions. For the same reason, August’s approach of blaming society for its general perception of men is not justified. His argument fails on the ground that men are proven to be what society perceive him to be with few exceptions.

Works Cited

August, E. Real Men Don't: Anti-Male Bias in English. Spring 1987. March 2015 <http://www.csun.edu/~hflrc001/305/spring05/realmen.htm>.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexual Violence . 2012. March 2015 <http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/sv-datasheet-a.pdf>.
Heimer, K., & De Coster, S. "Crime and Gender." 2001. http://www.lib.unb.ca/. December 2013 <http://www.lib.unb.ca/instruction/bcull/CrimeGenderIESBSArticle.pdf>.
Schwartz, J., & Steffensmeier, D. "The Nature of Female Offending: Patterns and Explanation." n.d. http://www.jblearning.com/. December 2013 <http://www.jblearning.com/samples/0763741159/ch2_female_offenders_2e.pdf>.
Steffensmeier, D., & Schwartz, J. "Contemporary Explanations of Women's Crime." n.d. http://cooley.libarts.wsu.edu/. December 2013 <http://cooley.libarts.wsu.edu/schwartj/pdf/Schwartz%20(Contemporary).pdf>.
Terry, N., & Irving, M. Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: Issues in Education. 2010. March 2015 <http://www.kendallhunt.com/uploadedfiles/kendall_hunt/content/higher_education/uploads/colarusso_ch04_5e.pdf>.

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Free Essay About Gender Bias In The English Language. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-essay-about-gender-bias-in-the-english-language/. Published Dec 06, 2020. Accessed November 28, 2021.
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