Language : A Mere Puppet To Patriarchy

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Language ties people together. It brings people of the same thought process together and crucially helps by being the communicating medium between two or more people with varying ideologies. It reflects on a society’s beliefs and stands as a mirror to society.

Patriarchy is a social construct that has been in place for ages. It was created by humans and it strives by feeding on people’s closed minds. We live in modern society and inclusivity has been our main motto so far. Patriarchy stands against it and language ensures that this vicious structure is sustained. It is not hard to find the pattern that language follows to help deep-rooting patriarchy.

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Whether it is newspapers, magazines, or even our holy textbooks, everywhere the mention of “man”, “him”, “he” and gendered words like “fireman”, “watchman” etc. can subconsciously affect one to associate these professions with the masculine gender. Gendered language brings forward one’s biased opinion and throws light on male-centered behavior.

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Societal structures can’t be broken overnight, however, language shouldn’t be binary as it excludes the entire spectrum of sexuality and ignores an individual’s preferred pronouns. Patriarchy flourishes on wide inter-related concepts and language is a small puppet of the same.

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Almost 3/4th of the world’s languages have been using a gender-based system and the normalization of binary pronouns is further promoted by men dominance in workplaces. Moreover, many influential people are men and hence they refuse to understand the need to use gender-inclusive language. Experts have suggested the usage of words “they” and “their” which can help tackle this problem as it refers to a third person and gender-neutral pronoun in English. Change lies in our hand and since language is the greatest form of human behavior, it should be one of our main priorities to tackle the issue.

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Anamika Ghai
I'm from Chandigarh, currently settled in Delhi, for my university. The pollution got the best of me, but I try.

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