Read Man Made Language by Dale Spender Free Online
Book Title: Man Made Language|
Date of issue: January 1st 1990
ISBN 13: 9780863584015
The author of the book: Dale Spender
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 359 KB
Edition: Pandora Press
Read full description of the books Man Made Language:I have long been fascinated by the topic of this book: how sexist language shapes our consciousness, our reality.
Published in 1980, this is not a light read, rather academic in style. Much of it was engaging, some of it was repetitive.
We learn of the many ways in which women have been silenced throughout history (the taking on of husbands' surnames, that women have been forbidden from discussing marital affairs with other women, that expressing an opinion isn't feminine, the letting slip 'out of print' of numerous works by female writers, etc).
The consequent muting and invisibility of women has allowed men to be viewed as the primary sex (with women as 'other' or 'deviant'). Reality for both women and men then is seen from the male perspective which, in turn, has shaped language.
Now that language describes male reality and not female reality, it can hold the patriarchy in place because it seems like the norm, and even women defend it. Females who object are seen as whining and unreasonable, whereas those females are simply suggesting that men be reasonable and give back what they have taken.
Men (and often women) insist that the terms 'mankind,' 'man,' and 'he' encompass women, that they refer to 'people.' But if we compare these two sentences, we see the lie:
--Man goes to war with his enemies
--Man breastfeeds his children
Up until recently sexual language (as well as all other language) was based on the male point of view. For example:
--Penetration. This is what the man does. The same act, from the heterosexual female perspective, could be described as 'enclosure.' That this seems absurd highlights the issue.
--Rape: The word means 'seize.' Rapacious (meaning 'greedy') comes from the same Latin root. This word conveys nothing of the painful, terrifying experience for a woman.
When the expressions 'sexist' and 'sexual harassment' entered the English language, this was ground-breaking. Women at last had some words they could use to describe their experience in their own terms.
This book didn't make me as angry as I'd expected (maybe because women are more liberated since 1980), but I'm still pissed off.
Read information about the authorDale Spender (born 1943) is an Australian feminist scholar, teacher, writer and consultant.
Spender was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, a niece of the crime writer Jean Spender (1901–70). The eldest of three, she has a younger sister Lynne, and a much younger brother Graeme. She attended the Burwood Girls High School, in Sydney. In her youthful days she was a Miss Kodak girl. In the later half of the 1960s she also taught English Literature at Dapto High School. She started lecturing at James Cook University in 1974, before going to live for a while in London and publishing the book Man Made Language in 1980.
She is co-originator of the database WIKED (Women's International Knowledge Encyclopedia and Data) and founding editor of the Athene Series and Pandora Press, commissioning editor of the Penguin Australian Women's Library, and associate editor of the Great Women Series (United Kingdom).
She is the author of a witty literary spoof, The Diary of Elizabeth Pepys, 1991 Grafton Books, London, a feminist critique of women's lives in 17th Century London, purportedly written by Elisabeth, the wife of Samuel Pepys.
Today Spender is particularly concerned with intellectual property and the effects of new technologies: in her terms, the prospects for "new wealth" and "new learning". For nine years she was a director of Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) in Australia and for two years (2002–2004) she was the chair. She is also involved with the Second Chance Programme, which tackles homelessness among women in Australia.
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