April 16, 2018
Samantha Fox, Ph.D., lecturer in the Department of Society, Culture and Languages, was quoted extensively in an April 6 article in the Washington Post, titled “Mistress, slut, 'the other woman': The way we talk about relationships is inherently sexist.”
The article explores the ways in which the English language is inherently gendered and biased. Fox explained that as 18th century society moved away from feudalism and adopted capitalism, men’s work was valued more than women’s work, and consequently, language became more gendered. “That then began to influence the way we spoke about men and women, especially their relationships to sex, love, family, relationships, and so on,” she said.
Fox suggested that in order to achieve gender equality, we must deconstruct our binary way of thinking about gender, sex and sexuality. “We have binaries, and they create these neat little boxes, and they define how we view the world,” she stated. “But the problem with binaries is that it allows us to define out of existence anything that doesn’t fit into those neat little boxes.”
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