In a discussion recently someone expressed the notion that Italian slang was less insulting to women than English slang. That got me wondering whether language reflects gender attitudes or vice-versa. Any thoughts?
Excellent question, Geoff, and I can't say I've even thought about it. This research finds that:
...the use of “generic” masculine and even other grammatically neutral terms in effect serves to exclude women from the English language. The resulting masculine bias in our language reflects and reinforces the pattern of male dominance in society.
Interesting. The full article needs to be purchased, unfortunately.
In the US South and middle it's not unusual for older people to address strangers as, "Sugar," "Sweetie," and the like. Not so with younger Eye phone zombies. So maybe it's regional/generational regardless of language structure - or is it both?