Do Languages with Grammatical Gender Promote Sexist Attitudes?

01/July/2010

Do Languages with Grammatical Gender Promote Sexist Attitudes?

Abstract Languages such as French and Spanish assign a gendered article to nouns. Three experiments examined whether reading a language with grammatical gender would increase sexist attitudes. Suburban, New York high school students (N = 74, 85, 66) were randomly assigned to complete a survey of sexist attitudes in either English or a language with grammatical gender (French or Spanish). Students in the English condition expressed less sexist attitudes than students in the French or Spanish conditions, and the language used affected females more than males. When the experiment was replicated on bilingual students, similar results were found. Males also expressed more sexist attitudes than females. This study suggests that languages with grammatical gender promote sexist attitudes and have particular impact on females.

More from the author of the study:
mazziotti.uchicago.edu/journal/BenjaminWasserman.pdf

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