Sexism: A Study by Alleen Pace Nilsen
Nielsen wrote this after a very blatant set of sexist experiences in Afghanistan.
Causing her to decide to study out sexism when she got home, and what better way to study It except through the English language. Throughout her study, she found many interesting points that she summed up using three simple titles: “Women Are Sexy; Men Are Successful”, “Women Are Passive; Men Are Active”, “Women are Connected with Negative Connotations; Men with Positive Connotations” (Nielsen 160, 163,166).
She then illustrates her points using words of the English language, taking a dictionary as her main source and guide, to show Just how any assumptions we make because off person’s gender. In the end she does say that some of these sexist words are being replaced and she Is glad that Is so, but she would like to see more of this change. I was neither in full agreement or full disagreement with Nielsen.
I found some of her observations to be spot-on and some to be over analytic or simply viewed through the wrong lenses. In other words: Yes, there are sexist Connotations and injustices in the English language.
However, not everything that draws a distinguished line between the sexes Is actually sexist, and sometimes sexism can be confused with a simple respect for gender. Nielsen started with “Women are Sexy; Men Are Successful”, therefore, I will start with it as well. In general this was one of the sections I actually mostly agreed with her views. Nonetheless, she almost killed her title with her first paragraph, by saying, “.
.. In American culture a women is valued for the attractiveness and sexiness of her body, while a man Is valued for his physical strength and accomplishments. (Nielsen 160). This, to me, Is a slight contradiction to what she Is trying to say.
By saying that a man Is valued for his physical strength___” she Is basically saying men are considered sexy” too, just in a different way. When I saw this, it annoyed me. Yet, her observations and detailed examples in the section were very convincing and her point was made clear, despite her rough start. In section two, “Women are Passive; Men are Active” you begin to see the tainted view that Nielsen carries out into her writing.
She opens the section using the illustration of a wedding in progress.
“… Who gives the bride away? And the father answers, ‘l do,’…
” (Nielsen 163). Nielsen claims that ‘The Idea that a bride Is something to be handed over… Goes back to the days hen a man’s servants, his children, and his wife were all considered his property. ” (Nielsen 163).
In this respect she is right, but these days are far different then the days of old. Today a father would never dream of considering his daughter his property, as if she were an animal to be handed or sold off to the highest bidder.
In fact, I Just went to a wedding two weeks ago and those same words were quoted. It Isn’t because the father and groom were sexist, It’s because It was symbolic and respectful of the brides wish to become a part of the groom and his wish to become an equal part of her. It is also a way for the father to show the young man that he is handing off a great Jewel to him, and that he (the young man) should respect and care for it.
Even though this observation was obviously wrong, Nielsen insisted on bringing in yet another faulty piece of evidence to prove “Women are Passive; Men are Active”.
She makes a reference to sex and how the man Is considered the active passive because someone can only say “she lost her virginity'(Nielsen 163). This is by far the most twisted thing I have ever heard, when it comes to sexual references. A woman can Just as easily take a man’s virginity as a man could take a woman’s. The term coined in the song by AY Hofmann and Dick Manning “Takes Two to Tango,” is a perfect illustration in this instance.
Just as it takes two to dance the Tango it takes a man who wants to give or take “virginity’, and a woman who wants to as well; or vice- versa(Nielsen 163).
Women are Passive, what poppy-cocky. In this section it almost sounds as if Nielsen is trying to convince us, that the Groom should be given away to the bride, and the woman should grow the male sex organ, with very slanted arguments, over analysis, and unconvincing evidence. Aniline’s final observations in Women are Connected with Negative Connotations; Men with positive Connotations”, are not quite so outlandish, but still contain a remnant of her feminist bias (Nielsen 166). She opens this section far more convincingly then the previous two, by using the example of the words shrew and shrewd.
The word shrew taken from the name of a small but especially vicious animal was defined in my dictionary as ‘an ill- tempered scolding woman,’ but the word shrewd taken from the same root was defined as ‘marked my clever, discerning awareness’ and was illustrated with the phrase ‘a shrewd businessman,”(Nielsen 166). The use of this language illustration fully agreed with the subject and made me think of Just how sexist we are. She backs this up with another great illustration of our utilization of the male. If a little girl acts like a tomboy, most parents have mixed feelings, being at least partially proud. But if their little boy acts like a sissy (derived from sister), they call a psychologist,” (Nielsen 166). I had never noticed this before, but once I had read it I realize I have seen this multiple times: A girl riding her brothers bike, with Buzz Light-Year stickers on it, no big deal.
Yet, if a boy wanted to borrow his sister’s bike that was plastered with Hannah Montana, there would be a problem. A girl borrowing her boyfriends oversized Broncos sweat-shirt.
Yet, if he asked to borrow her white with pink striped Nikkei sweat-shirt she would laugh at him. Then Nielsen said “When a little girl is told to be a lady, she is being told to sit with her knees together and to be quiet and dainty. But when a little boy is told to be a man, he is being told to be noble, strong and virtuous” (Nielsen 166). First off, I know plenty of women that I would consider to be ladies that talk more than most men.
Does this make them any-less lady like? Absolutely not. Therefore, Aniline’s definition of “Lady like” is definitely out of date (Nielsen 166).
Secondly, what’s wrong with the man being what a man should be? Men were wired toward being “Noble, strong and virtuous” (Nielsen 166). Granted not all men become these things, but neither do all women become true ladies. I was raised in an environment of traditional chivalry and respect for the opposite sex; and along with that came a pride or dignity in my sex. We should take pride in our gender, because the day we stop taking pride in our gender and its traditional treatment of there, is the day that we truly have to worry about sexism.
Fortunately I think that day has come and gone. Even though I have much criticism for Allen Pace Aniline’s work, I must say I admire her. She wrote a very eye catching title, and a thought provoking text to back it up. Yes, I do not agree with her feminist stand point, but no, I do not consider her work a failure because of our different views. Nielsen portrays this respect for and between the genders; causing more harm than help.
Then again she does bring some underlying tones and wrong perspectives out of the shadows, which e need to take note of and strive to change.
In all, this essay was a good read. It was filled with a great many observations and thoughts, that are far deeper than most writing of these days. Allen Pace Nielsen in her essay ” Sexism In English: Embodiment & Language” states tantalizing language and culture reveal the attitude and the inequality of men and women. Unilateralist that in America, women are valued off the sexiness of there bodies and men are valued off the physical strengths and accomplishments.
Nielsen stated that most inventions in the world are eponymous. Eponymous are people’s unconverted into words we use.
Nielsen asserts that even women’s physical feature are found Americana Geography. Nielsen found numerous mountains named after women’s breast such as Nipple Top and Squaw Tit. On the other hand, all mountains named after men is because outbound them. Like a call boy is a individual who called actors on stage, but a call girl is a prostitute.
Nielsen states that many feminine words are based off masculine forms like hero-heroin and usher- usherette. Nielsen asserts that many eponymous for men were based off investigations as the Ferris Wheel and Gaiting Gun.
However, women were more about fashion such as the Mae West Jacket. But some words meant for men and women but there’s no feminine formalize a king has a kingdom but a queen don’t have a queen. Other pair of words heavenliness words first such as Mr.
. And Mrs.. , boys and girls, men and women, brother and sister. With one exception, in some weddings where women are more important than men.
This is deceptions where feminine forms are put before masculine ones like bridal shower. Even enwinding the man showed possession over the woman when woman vows to Love, Honor, annoyed.
Nielsen asserts that during weddings when the pastor asks who gives the bride away the father usually says “l Do”. That brings Nielsen to her next point when she says that “Women are passive Men are active”. Nielsen states that in sexual relations and weddings men play dominant roles like men woodmen while women becomes brides of men and he takes the girl’s virginity. Nielsen also statehood famous women that gets married takes the man’s name even if he’s a nobody.
But the feather’s mention are rebels such as Harriet Tuba. Nielsen claims that parents their children weather hope they will be in the future.
Feminine names are always taken after pleasing items such Diamond, Pearl, and Ruby. While masculine names are taken from power and strength such as Neil which means champion and Rexes which means king. Nielsen asserts that American food surfeited to women as, Such as cute tomato, honey, and sugar. But if a man is call something after food such as a fruit people questioned his masculinity.
Allen Pace Nielsen came up with the conclusion that all men are dominant over women Americana culture Just by doing research and realizing what already here and not making painting of here own