Radio26.Cu – Matanzas, Cuba


Plenty of machismo in the Spanish language

Gloria Machado León 25 noviembre, 2014

A few days ago I had a long and unproductive discussion with two coworkers about language as a form of discrimination against women.

They claimed that seemed exaggerated, Cheo and unnecessary use of nouns of both genders when, according to the rules of the Spanish language, the male embraces both.

What is this “girl and boy“, “medical and health“, “workers and workers ?, I said young computer to the website of Radio 26.” When you say “children ,” doctors “and” workers are telling all and needless to particularize,” argued.

As much as I tried to explain, though I appealed to their sensibilities as parents of two girls who often fall into the noun “children”, none understood my reasons.

They, like many others, accepted as normal for the male to female replace. “That is well and there is no need to change it,” was the conclusion of both.

Upon completion of this lecture, which at times escalated, frustration and helplessness felt, No blame to reproduce gender stereotypes are deeply rooted in our society.

I even questioned if he was not taking things to the extreme and seeing ghosts where there. Is it sexist Spanish or exaggerated whom will we hoisted the need to visualize the female gender in language ?, I thought to myself.

Then I calmed down. My colleagues could not understand, but the Spanish language is YES sexist and reflects on its rules regarding the use of gender, patriarchal culture that has dominated and dominating humanity.

Denying that language is sexist would obviate the centuries of discrimination, for annulment of abuse and mistreatment that has been subjected women.

The Spanish, the native language of Cubans and other 400 million people worldwide, legitimizes discrimination against women when it states, for example, that men are all men and women.

When the language generalizes not equal, but reversed. Woman is woman and man is man. With their similarities and differences, everyone should be called by name.

Certainly there are other nouns that can replace man, as a person or human. But the mere fact that the male elected to generalize, has a symbolic significance discriminatory perceive not only who will not see.

When children learn the first rules of the language and know that seemingly naive rule, they are learning to validate women’s exclusion.

There is nothing naive about this. The rule in question is the direct expression of a world dominated by men, where women had no right to exist, but to be segundona or please the male.

Language is a form of communication and a system of codes, but also a social construction, a reflection of human beings and their time; a living entity that is constantly evolving.

Until recently no one talked about sexism in language. The struggles for women’s liberation began more urgent as equal opportunities in the workplace, in access to education for reproductive health, gender violence and other fundamental rights battles.

Given these struggles are still priority, it might seem exaggerated analysis from language discrimination. But those who so believe undervalue the importance of communication as a way to validate the culture.

Through language woman is canceled and violated.

When we say that “behind every great man is a great woman” we are multiplying by zero women; Like when we repeat the woman beautifies life, when we become sexual objects, when we place on the role of housewife albeit an excellent professional or when we write “mother” as a synonym for woman.

Language is a subtle and insidious form, but too powerful, certify gender discrimination.

So it sounds weird ears, although it seems redundant and some colleagues call him “the virus of All”, it is important to draw attention to sexism in language.

I do not deny that when taken to the extreme, the practice of always using both genders can spoil the drafting and hinder communication.

But whenever communicators write “children”, “parents”, “grandmothers and grandfathers” and do it with a reasonable logic, we are moving a bit on the elimination of female exclusion.

Only the Academy of the Spanish Language have the power to veto the absurd rule language annulment of the women; something that is not impossible if we consider that the rule establishes language use.

The logic of development indicates that language which excludes slouch in a world where women its way.

It may sound absurd for and inveterate macho of our time, but maybe one day justice and is, as it is in reality, a major blunder, the term “man” replace “women”.

But that will better be enjoyed by the little girls of Yasser Mirabal and Fidel González, my two young colleagues, unable to understand that the Spanish language has plenty of chauvinism .


Original text by Yirmara Torres Hernández on November 25th, 2014

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