College of Arts and Sciences; School of Communication
Communication Studies: Speech Communication; Philosophy
linguistics; gendered language; philosophy; feminism; philosophy of language
Feminist Philosophy | Philosophy of Language
Bobbitt, Mary L., "The Failure of “She:" An Evaluation of Solutions to Gendered Language" (2015). Senior Honors Theses. 499.
This thesis looks at the prevalence of gendered language in modern day English in North America. Drawing upon different analyses of masculine pronouns and slang, this paper argues that modern solutions to gendered language fail to come to terms with the contextual elements of language. While acknowledging that gendered language is a significant problem, the author argues that the solutions thus far presented, specifically replacing the generic pronoun “he” with “she,” cannot combat the way language reflects societal masculinization. Using Wittgenstein to criticize a Heidegger’s notion of language, this paper argues that societal change is a prerequisite to the success of linguistic substitutions for gendered language.