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Currie Lecture 2002 - Janet Halley, A Map of Feminist & Queer Theories of Sexuality & Sexual Reg...
Feminism and Linguistic Theory
Gender-fair language consists of the symmetric linguistic treatment of women and men instead of using masculine forms as generics. In this study, we examine how the use of gender-fair language affects readers' support for social initiatives in Poland and Austria. While gender-fair language is relatively novel in Poland, it is well established in Austria. This difference may lead to different perceptions of gender-fair usage in these speech communities. Two studies conducted in Poland investigate whether the evaluation of social initiatives Study 1: quotas for women on election lists; Study 2: support for women students or students from countries troubled by war is affected by how female proponents lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, and academics are referred to, with masculine forms traditional or with feminine forms modern, gender-fair. Study 3 replicates Study 2 in Austria. Our results indicate that in Poland, gender-fair language has negative connotations and therefore, detrimental effects particularly when used in gender-related contexts.