Linguistic Sexism and Society: A Woman’s Representation Through Language


Garnica, Berenger


Department of Linguistics, McGill University, 845 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC H3A 0G4, Canada


Feminist linguists have long felt that women are underrepresented in language and cite this as a linguistic parallel to the sexism they face in society. Linguistic inequality can be discreetly manifested through a number of different devices such as the lexicon, morphology and masculine generics. Upon closer examination of grammars, cases of linguistic sexism are able to be repaired through proposed solutions such as language reform and gender inclusive language. These linguistic topics are culminated into the intersection of language with society through consideration of the Whorfian Hypothesis. This theory examines how language acts as a filter through which speakers perceive the world and whether or not creating a more inclusive grammar will create a more inclusive society. Should linguists, and linguistics itself, take strides in forming more balanced languages, the resulting expectation would be that women are subjected to less sexist language and practices. While language change will not happen overnight, the initiation to create a more inclusive language is one solution to slowly creating a more inclusive and progressive society. The manifestation of sexism through linguistic devices can be shown in order to make readers and speakers aware of the ways in which language inherently shows sexist tendencies.


feminism; gender; language; language reform; lexicon; masculine generics; morphology sexism; society; Whorfian Hypothesis

Publication Date

December 30, 2020


Volume 7, Issue 2

Citation information

Garnica, Berenger. 2020. “Linguistic Sexism and Society: A Woman’s Representation Through Language.” Language. Text. Society 7 (2).


author = {Garnica, Berenger},
title = {Linguistic Sexism and Society: A Woman’s Representation Through Language},
journal = {Language. Text. Society},
year = {2020},
issn = {2687-0487},
number = {2},
volume = {7},
url = {},


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