Sexism in workplace language, or two gals in a garage and John McCain

Sexism in workplace language, or two gals in a garage and John McCain July 28, 2017


I am, naturally, grateful that I still have health insurance this morning.  I got a kick out of this tweet someone pointed me to:

Screenshot 2017-07-28 17.03.56

There’s also a New Yorker cartoon, previously published but re-circulating in response to yesterday’s events, where a woman is sitting in a work meeting composed mostly of men, and has obviously just spoken. The chairman responds, “That’s an excellent suggestion, Miss Triggs. Perhaps one of the men here would like to make it.”

All of which makes this a good day to point you to a BBC article about the way we use language differently for men and women in the workplace.  (Why do I share so many BBC articles with you? Because I signed up for their weekly email “If You Only Read 6 Things This Week.” Not product placement here, just truth.)

The reporter notes that while our workplaces don’t sound like Mad Men anymore, we do use language differently when talking about and to men and women. For example, men get more specific performance reviews and women more vague ones, except for comments to women on their communication style. There’s also a note about the terms we used to use for female “versions” of certain jobs and roles, including “cousiness, fornicatress, greengroceress, inventress, murdermongress, pythoness, and revengeress.” (Sorry. I said earlier this week I wasn’t going to turn this into a linguistics blog.) While we can all laugh at those now, the article asks us to consider the implication of modern terms like “guys in a garage.” (Do women ever launch startups? Linguistically, I mean?)

So: ACA repeal was defeated by two gals in a garage. Say their names: Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. And a guy who joined them at the last minute.

Image: Pexels.

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