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Backlash Over Gender-Fair Language: The Impact of Feminine Job Titles on Men's and Women's Perception of Women

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Feminine forms of job titles raise great interest in many countries. However, it is still unknown how they shape stereotypical impressions on warmth and competence dimensions among female and male listeners. In an experiment with fictitious job titles men perceived women described with feminine job titles as significantly less warm and marginally less competent than women with masculine job titles, which led to lower willingness to employ them. No such effects were observed among women.
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Journal of Language and Social Psychology
1 –11
© 2014 SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0261927X14544371
jls.sagepub.com
Article
Backlash Over Gender-Fair
Language: The Impact of
Feminine Job Titles on Men’s
and Women’s Perception of
Women
Magdalena Budziszewska1, Karolina Hansen2,
and Michał Bilewicz2
Abstract
Feminine forms of job titles raise great interest in many countries. However, it is
still unknown how they shape stereotypical impressions on warmth and competence
dimensions among female and male listeners. In an experiment with fictitious job
titles men perceived women described with feminine job titles as significantly less
warm and marginally less competent than women with masculine job titles, which led
to lower willingness to employ them. No such effects were observed among women.
Keywords
gender-fair language, impression formation, stereotype content model, social identity
theory, discrimination
“Please call me ministra,” announced the Polish Minister of Sport and Tourism, Joanna
Mucha, in one of the most influential talk shows on Polish television. Minister Mucha
used the feminine linguistic form of her governmental post, a form very rarely used in
natural Polish language. This statement garnered diverse responses in Poland’s public
discourse. Even among academics the statement was variously received: ranging from
an enthusiastic response from a feminist philosopher, Magdalena Środa, to harsh
1The Maria Grzegorzewska Academy of Special Education, Warsaw, Poland
2University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
Corresponding Author:
Karolina Hansen, Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw, ul. Stawki 5/7, 00-183 Warsaw, Poland.
Email: karolina.hansen@psych.uw.edu.pl
544371JLSXXX10.1177/0261927X14544371Journal of Language and Social PsychologyBudziszewska et al.
research-article2014
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2 Journal of Language and Social Psychology
criticism from a linguist, Jerzy Bralczyk, who called this utterance “a rape on the
Polish language” (Majak, 2012).
In the current research, we address the differences between men and women in the
perception of feminine job titles. Relevant findings on job attitudes show that mascu-
line pronouns used in job descriptions differentially affect women’s and men’s ratings
of such jobs (e.g., Stericker, 1981). In our experiment we assessed whether men and
women react differently to feminine job titles, and whether their perception of femi-
nine job titles is linked to discriminatory processes.
Gender-Fair Language and Job Titles
The usage of feminine job titles deserves more attention by researchers as it becomes
one of the crucial topics in gender-related debate in many countries (Formanowicz,
Bedyńska, Cisłak, Braun, & Sczesny, 2013; Jessell & Beymer, 1992; Stericker,
1981).
Most of the research on gender-fair language has been performed on English speak-
ers. Many languages are androcentrically asymmetric: The masculine form of a word
is standard and refers to both males and females, while the feminine form is derived
from the male standard, and by using it one refers only to females (Stahlberg, Braun,
Irmen, & Sczesny, 2007). Research has shown that masculine generics evoke more
associations with males (for a review, see Stahlberg et al., 2007). Instead of saying
“musicians” or “politicians,” using parallel forms such as “male and female musi-
cians” or “male and female politicians” helps to mentally activate female exemplars of
the given category and makes females more visible (e.g., in Polish Bojarska, 2011; in
German Stahlberg, Sczesny, & Braun, 2001).
Feminine noun forms influence also perception of women described with them. An
Italian study (Merkel, Maass, & Frommelt, 2012) showed that women described with
feminine job titles (e.g., la presidentessa, female president) were perceived as having
lower status but as being warmer than women described with a masculine title (e.g., la
presidente). However, there were no differences in the perception of these women’s
competence. Furthermore, participants’ gender did not influence the effects.
A recent Polish study on fictional job titles showed that a woman with a feminine
job title was evaluated generally less favorably than a woman with a masculine title
(Formanowicz et al., 2013). Participants’ political attitudes moderated the effect:
Conservatives devalued the applicant with a feminine job title more than liberals.
Participants’ gender, however, did not influence the evaluations. Regrettably, the
study did not focus on stereotyping and did not have specific predictions about the
evaluation of women with a feminine job title on the dimensions of warmth and com-
petence. In all three studies the authors computed a single index consisting of warmth,
competence, and employability items intermixed (Formanowicz et al., 2013).
Therefore, these studies did not allow for measurement of ambivalent sexist beliefs
about warmth and competence of the applicant and insight into the possible mecha-
nisms of this discrimination as influenced by participants’ inferences about women
using feminine job titles.
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Budziszewska et al. 3
Social Identity and Stereotype Content Aspects of
Feminine Job Titles
Social identity theory proposes that when group categories are made salient, inter-
group biases become more pronounced, and outgroup perception becomes more nega-
tive and simplified (Tajfel & Turner, 1986). Feminine forms of job titles make gender
categories salient. Thus, they can lead to more pronounced social identity processes,
such as greater outgroup derogation and ingroup bias among men, whereas among
women such forms could lead to higher attempts for group affirmation (for a review
see Ellemers, Spears, & Doosje, 2002).
Gender-fair language research suggests that there are differences between men and
women in attitudes toward such language: Women opt for inclusive language, while
men prefer the more exclusive, male-generic forms (in Hong Kong English, Lee,
2007; in American English, Parks & Roberton, 2005). These general differences in
men’s and women’s reaction to feminine job titles could be particularly interesting in
the domain of stereotyping. Traditionally, psychology has treated prejudice as a uni-
form negativity toward outgroups (Allport, 1954), but more recent psychological theo-
ries distinguish different dimensions of prejudice, allowing for its ambivalent forms.
According to the stereotype content model (Cuddy, Fiske, & Glick, 2008; Fiske,
Cuddy, Glick, & Xu, 2002), people categorize outgroups on two main dimensions—
warmth (likeability) and competence (status, power). The same aspects, sometimes
also conceptualized as affiliation and assertiveness dimension, play crucial role in the
intergender communication (Palomares, 2012). Housewives and women in traditional
gender roles are perceived as high in warmth, but low in competence (Fiske et al.,
2002). Men and women differ in their perceptions of working women on these two
dimensions. In an American study, male, but not female, participants described female
managers as negative on both competence- and warmth-related traits (Deal &
Stevenson, 1998).
Research has shown that high-status groups express generally stronger ingroup bias
than do low-status groups (e.g., Tajfel & Turner, 1986). Based on the above, we predict
that men’s reactions to feminine job titles will be negative, regardless of the stereotype
dimension or specific content. This is supported by literature on the backlash effect
(Rudman & Glick, 1999), which describes high bias against agentic women among
men exposed to a feminized job description. Among women the increased salience of
femininity (as in feminine job titles) can have different effects: for them, it can be
related to self-stereotyping and social identity management strategies. Here, making
the low-status social identity salient can lead to complementary stereotyping that
allows one to perceive losses in competence but maintain positive in-group perception
on the dimension of warmth (Jost & Kay, 2005). Based on the above arguments, we
expect that feminine job titles—by making the gender category salient—will lead to
general ingroup bias among men (on both competence and warmth dimensions), but to
more nuanced perceptions among women (lower competence but not warmth).
The content of a stereotype can have far-reaching consequences, such as specific
intergroup behaviors (Cuddy et al., 2008). In the aforementioned study by Formanowicz
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4 Journal of Language and Social Psychology
et al. (2013), a women described with a feminine job title was less readily hired than a
woman with a masculine job title. Therefore, we expected women described with fem-
inine job titles to be less employable than those with masculine job titles.
Current Research
The present experiment was designed to determine how masculine and feminine job
titles describing women shift the perception of these women on two stereotype content
dimensions: warmth and competence. We introduced an artificial job title (in its femi-
nine or masculine form) in order to avoid content-based inferences. In addition to
asking participants for warmth and competence evaluations, we assessed their behav-
ioral intentions in employing women with feminine job titles. We intended to establish
an indirect link between the linguistic utterance, stereotyping, and behavioral conse-
quences of such utterance.
Based on social identity theory, as well as stereotype content research, we hypoth-
esized that using feminine forms of fictional job titles will make women appear less
competent (than when using masculine job titles) both in the eyes of men and women
and less warm in the eyes of men. We expected also that specific stereotypes induced
among men and women could have a differential impact on discrimination of women
described using feminine job titles.
Method
Participants
Participants of the study were 123 (60 male) users of an Internet polling panel plat-
form. As age can influence attitudes toward gender-fair language (Parks & Roberton,
2005) and we did not aim at focusing on age differences, we recruited only middle-
aged participants (range: 29-40 years, M = 33.59, SD = 3.48). The sample was diverse
and included participants from various parts of Poland and representing all stages of
education.
Procedure
Participants of the online study were presented with one of two nearly identical stories,
randomly assigned. The stories were titled “In the year 2110” and started with a sen-
tence “Marta, a 42 year old woman lives in a big city and is an aborolożka by profes-
sion.” In one condition, the woman’s profession had a feminine form of a fictitious job
title (aborolożka); in the other condition, a masculine form (aborolog). The story was
followed by measures of all dependent variables.
To prevent the influence of a specific word stem, we used five different fictitious
job titles (in masculine/feminine forms): aborolog/aborolożka, hagerolog/hagerolożka,
kemelog/kemelożka, nirolog/nirolożka, nunolog/nunolożka. Each participant read
only one story with only one title. As there was no effect of any specific word stem on
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Budziszewska et al. 5
any of the dependent variables in the study (Fs < 1), we averaged the answers for all
of them.
Measures
Warmth and Competence. Attributions of warmth (warm, sensible, caring, and lov-
ing, α = .94) and competence (competent, ambitious, assertive, and strong, α = .87),
were measured on Likert-type scales from 0 = not at all to 10 = very much (Fiske et
al., 2002; in Polish Winiewski, 2010). The warmth and competence items were mixed
and presented in random order.
Employability. After participants were asked how likely they would use the occupational
service offered by the target woman and whether they would employ her (0 = definitely
not, 10 = definitely yes). As the two questions were highly correlated, r(121) = .71, p <
.001, we averaged the answers and created a composite index of discriminatory inten-
tions in employability.
Results
Competence Perceptions
In order to examine the effects of the linguistic form of the job title and the gender of
participants on perceptions of competence, we conducted a 2 (linguistic form: mascu-
line vs. feminine) × 2 (participant gender: male vs. female) between-subjects ANOVA
(analysis of variance). Results showed that, as expected, women described with femi-
nine job titles (ending with -lożka) were perceived as less competent (M = 8.03, SD =
2.53) than those described with masculine job titles (ending with -log; M = 8.70, SD =
2.68), F(1, 119) = 4.08, p = .046, ηp
2 = .03 (Figure 1). Results also showed that, over-
all, male participants evaluated all described women as less competent than did female
participants, F(1, 119) = 8.43, p = .004, ηp
2 = .06. The interaction of job title form and
gender of participants was not significant, F < 1, which shows that feminine job titles
make women appear less competent (than when using a masculine job title) in the eyes
of both men and women.
Warmth Perceptions
A similar 2 × 2 ANOVA for warmth showed that neither linguistic form of the job title
itself, F < 1, nor the gender of participants, F(1, 119) = 1.30, p = .26, ηp
2 = .01, influ-
enced warmth perceptions of the presented women (Figure 1). However, and as
expected, an interaction of linguistic form and gender of participants did influence the
evaluations, F(1, 119) = 5.53, p = .02, ηp
2 = .04. Simple effects analyses with
Bonferroni’s corrections showed that there was no significant difference between male
and female participants in perceptions of warmth of women with masculine job titles,
F < 1. However, there was a difference in warmth perceptions of women with feminine
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6 Journal of Language and Social Psychology
job titles, F(1, 119) = 6.48, p = .012, ηp
2 = .05: female participants perceived such
women as warmer than male participants did. Furthermore, male participants per-
ceived women with feminine job titles as less warm than those with masculine job
titles, F(1, 119) = 4.19, p = .043, ηp
2 = .03. Female participants did not make such a
distinction, F(1, 119) = 1.61, p = .21, ηp
2 = .01. Moreover, descriptive statistics (Figure 1)
showed that women with feminine job titles were perceived by other women as slightly
warmer than those with masculine job titles.
Indirect Effects
In order to test how feminine job titles can affect the two dimensions of stereotype
content, and how the stereotype content affects men’s and women’s intentions to
employ a women described with feminine job titles, we tested a moderated mediation
model. Employability was a dependent variable, feminine versus masculine job title
was a dichotomous independent variable, perceptions of warmth and competence were
simultaneous mediators and participant’s gender was a dichotomous moderator
(Hayes, 2013; Model 8).
The moderated mediation was tested using SPSS macro PROCESS (Hayes, 2013)
with 95% bias-corrected bootstrapped confidence interval (CI) based on 5,000 boot-
strap samples. The analysis revealed that there was no significant direct effect of lin-
guistic form on employability of women, neither among female participants, b = −0.53,
SE(boot) = 0.50, CI = [−1.52,−0.46], nor among male participants, b = 0.40, SE(boot) =
Figure 1. Mean competence (a) and warmth (b) perceptions by linguistic form of job title
(masculine, feminine) and participant gender (male, female).
Note. Error bars represent standard errors of the mean.
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Budziszewska et al. 7
0.52, CI = [−0.63, 1.43]. For female participants there was also no significant indirect
effect: neither through competence, b = −0.15, SE(boot) = 0.17, CI = [−0.59, 0.09], nor
through warmth, b = 0.32, SE(boot) = 0.25, CI = [−0.14, 0.85]. For male participants
there was an indirect effect of feminine job title on employability through warmth, b =
−0.53, SE(boot) = 0.30, CI = [−1.23, −0.03], but the indirect effect through compe-
tence did not reach significance, b = −0.28, SE(boot) = 0.21, CI = [−0.85, 0.0004]. The
overall moderated mediation test proved significant for warmth as a mediator, b =
−0.84, SE(boot) = 0.39, CI = [−1.71, −0.17], but not for competence, b = −0.14,
SE(boot) = 0.24, CI = [−0.73, 0.24].
In order to assess the specific standardized effects in the moderated mediation
model we performed a two-group (male vs. female participants) path analysis with
IBM AMOS software (Figure 2). The tested model provided a good fit to the data, χ2 =
2.04, p = .36, confirmatory fit index = .99, root mean residual = .04, root mean square
error of approximation =.01.
As earlier shown in ANOVAs, male participants who were faced with a description
of a woman with a feminine job title perceived such a woman as marginally less com-
petent (β = −0.22, p = .08) and less warm (β = −0.25, p = .046) than a woman with a
masculine job title. Deprivation of warmth and competence led to more discriminatory
intentions toward such women (for competence β = −0.35, p = .003; for warmth β =
−0.34, p = .003).
For female participants, feminine job titles did not significantly reduce perceived
competence of women described with such titles (β = −0.14, p = .28), neither did they
reduce perceived warmth of such women (β = 0.16, p = .19). However, female
-.47**
-.34**
Feminine form
of job title
Perceived
competence
Perceived
warmth
Discriminatory
intentions
-.22
-.14
-.35**
-.22
-.25*
.17
Figure 2. Indirect effects of feminine job titles on discriminatory intentions in employability
for male participants (standardized regression coefficients above arrows) and female
participants (below arrows).
p < .1. *p < .05. **p < .01.
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8 Journal of Language and Social Psychology
participants’ discriminatory intentions toward women described with feminine job
titles were dependent on the perception of the described women’s warmth (β = −0.47,
p = .001) and competence (β = −0.22, p = .05).
Discussion
The current study showed that using a job title with an explicitly gender-marked word
ending to describe female professionals evokes different stereotyping of such women
in the eyes of men and women. This stereotype was a generally negative one among
men (denying competence and warmth) and a complementary one among women
(partially denying competence, but not warmth). Thus, women described using femi-
nine job titles were less competent in the eyes of men and women, but less warm only
in the eyes of men.
Such complementary process in women perceiving other women in professional
roles would be described by social identity theorists as a defensive strategy of low status
groups (e.g., Ellemers et al., 2002), whereas system justification theorists would explain
it as a hierarchy maintaining strategy among the disadvantaged (Douglas & Sutton,
2014; Kay & Jost, 2003). An alternative explanation of the observed effects can be due
to perception of women using feminine job titles as having feminist views. Some studies
suggest that feminists are often depicted as cold but competent (Berryman-Fink &
Verderber, 1985; Fiske et al., 2002). However, in our study men perceived women
described with a feminine job title as both cold and incompetent and women did not
perceive them as cold. The perception of women described with feminine job titles could
be a combination of traditional sexist depiction of women as incompetent and gender-
dependent perception of feminists: by men perceived as cold and by women as rather
warm. This factor should be included as a possible moderator in the future studies.
In the present study, we used fictional, nonexistent job titles to capture the effect of
linguistic form not influenced by attitudes toward existing, contextually rich profes-
sions. This can explain the differences between our results and those of Merkel et al.
(2012), who observed higher warmth, but not lowered competence in a similar research
in Italy. They used female forms of existing professions (e.g., female president or sol-
dier) and it is possible that participants inferred high competences from the profession
itself. Different social identity processes and stereotyping among female and male
participants had also specific consequences for discriminatory intentions toward
women described with feminine job titles. In case of female participants, the lower
perceived competence of women described with feminine job titles did not lead to
negative behavioral intentions toward such women. It seems that women’s comple-
mentary stereotyping strategy does not lead to legitimization of other women’s dis-
crimination. However, in case of male participants the negative perception of women
with feminine job titles (particularly the denial of warmth) led to discriminatory inten-
tions. This is in line with the concept of hostile sexism, stressing that men faced with
career women react with uniformly negative stereotyping that leads to resentment-
based discriminatory practices toward successful women (Glick & Fiske, 2001).
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Budziszewska et al. 9
This whole process reminds of a commons dilemma (Hardin, 1968): What is good
for a group and its members in the long term might be bad for an individual in the short
term. On the one hand, women as a group would profit if all individual women used
feminine job titles because this would make women as a group more visible, and by
frequent use make the job titles sound less unfamiliar. On the other hand, for an indi-
vidual woman a female job title comes with negative stereotypes, particularly in the
eyes of men.
Acknowledgments
We thank Adrian Wójcik, Paulina Górska, and Małgorzata Mikołajczak for their work in the
initial phase of this project. We also thank the editor Howard Giles and two anonymous review-
ers for their comments on a previous version of this article.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
Funding
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by the Foundation for Polish
Science Focus grant (FNP FG 2/2009) awarded to Michał Bilewicz. Writing of this article by
Karolina Hansen was supported by Polish National Science Centre grant Fuga (DEC-2013/08/S/
HS6/00573).
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Author Biographies
Magdalena Budziszewska is an assistant professor at the Maria Grzegorzewska Academy of
Special Education in Warsaw. She studies family and biographical narratives, as well as collec-
tive emotional narratives. Linking qualitative and quantitative research methods, she also inves-
tigates linguistic aspects of social cognition.
Karolina Hansen is an assistant professor at the University of Warsaw. Her research interests
are in the fields of social psychology, sociolinguistics, and cross-cultural psychology, and
include topics such as language and accent attitudes, stereotyping, gender-fair language, linguis-
tic biases, and cross-cultural differences in social cognition.
Michał Bilewicz is an associate professor at the University of Warsaw and director of the
Center for Research on Prejudice at the same institution. He is interested in social psychology
of intergroup relations, dehumanization and infrahumanization processes, contact hypothesis
and prejudice reduction, as well as linguistic aspects of discrimination.
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... Among actions to fight linguistic sexism, the focus is placed on those mechanisms that directly address speakers' habits. Some consist of the creation of morphological procedures for the feminine form or the modification of terms relating to prestigious professions or occupations, which normally appear in the masculine form (Budziszewska, Hansen, and Bilewicz 2014;Formanowicz et al. 2013;Gabriel et al. 2008;Horvath et al. 2015). Mercedes Bengoechea's work (2011) provided a comprehensive analysis of the difficulties of incorporating those alternatives into the use of the generic masculine in educated speakers' language, despite the profusion of rules and laws on the topic in Spain, as well as the publication of guidelines, style books and GFL manuals (Guerrero Salazar 2013). ...
... Studies undertaken into the English, French and German languages have associated the use of the generic masculine with negative attitudes towards women (Parks and Roberton 2004;Sarrasin, Gabriel, and Gygax 2012;Swim, Mallett, and Stangor 2004). One example is the relationship between the grammatical gender of occupations and their social perception (Budziszewska, Hansen, and Bilewicz 2014;Formanowicz et al. 2013;Gabriel et al. 2008;Horvath et al. 2015). Sczesny, Formanowicz, and Moser (2016) concluded that when the masculine is used, women are considered to be a less prototypical exemplar, and less adequate or less preferred for the job. ...
... In what can be regarded as a possible attempt to undo standardised linguistic categories, the present study has demonstrated that preservice Spanish teachers favour the use of GFL expressions which make the presence of women explicit, especially when referring to prestigious professions or occupations such as juez or maestro. This corroborates findings of previous studies regarding the importance of using feminine nouns for prestigious professions in such a way that a woman can be considered a prototypical member of that profession (Sczesny, Formanowicz, and Moser 2016;Budziszewska, Hansen, and Bilewicz 2014;Formanowicz et al. 2013;Horvath et al. 2015). Unexpectedly, there are some exceptions such as médico, in which no sexist bias is perceived when using the masculine form to address women, even if those exceptions are incorrect from a Spanish grammatical perspective. ...
Article
This article examines preservice Spanish teachers’ perceptions of linguistic sexism, norm, and use in Spanish. Analysis of 723 participants’ answers showed that sexism and linguistic non-adequacy were associated. Results proved that the exclusion of women from the generic masculine in Spanish was considered sexist, and that participants used some Gender Fair Language (GFL) mechanisms to make women visible when deemed necessary, especially with professions. Also, regardless of its adherence to norm, linguistic sexism was perceived as grammatically wrong. Thus, GFL criteria were finding their way into use even if contrary to norm. Therefore, policies based on direct intervention in the training of preservice teachers Spanish as a first language would produce a more egalitarian use of language.
... Among actions to fight linguistic sexism, the focus is placed on those mechanisms that directly address speakers' habits. Some consist of the creation of morphological procedures for the feminine form or the modification of terms relating to prestigious professions or occupations, which normally appear in the masculine form (Budziszewska, Hansen, and Bilewicz 2014;Formanowicz et al. 2013;Gabriel et al. 2008;Horvath et al. 2015). Mercedes Bengoechea's work (2011) provided a comprehensive analysis of the difficulties of incorporating those alternatives into the use of the generic masculine in educated speakers' language, despite the profusion of rules and laws on the topic in Spain, as well as the publication of guidelines, style books and GFL manuals (Guerrero Salazar 2013). ...
... Studies undertaken into the English, French and German languages have associated the use of the generic masculine with negative attitudes towards women (Parks and Roberton 2004;Sarrasin, Gabriel, and Gygax 2012;Swim, Mallett, and Stangor 2004). One example is the relationship between the grammatical gender of occupations and their social perception (Budziszewska, Hansen, and Bilewicz 2014;Formanowicz et al. 2013;Gabriel et al. 2008;Horvath et al. 2015). Sczesny, Formanowicz, and Moser (2016) concluded that when the masculine is used, women are considered to be a less prototypical exemplar, and less adequate or less preferred for the job. ...
... In what can be regarded as a possible attempt to undo standardised linguistic categories, the present study has demonstrated that preservice Spanish teachers favour the use of GFL expressions which make the presence of women explicit, especially when referring to prestigious professions or occupations such as juez or maestro. This corroborates findings of previous studies regarding the importance of using feminine nouns for prestigious professions in such a way that a woman can be considered a prototypical member of that profession (Sczesny, Formanowicz, and Moser 2016;Budziszewska, Hansen, and Bilewicz 2014;Formanowicz et al. 2013;Horvath et al. 2015). Unexpectedly, there are some exceptions such as médico, in which no sexist bias is perceived when using the masculine form to address women, even if those exceptions are incorrect from a Spanish grammatical perspective. ...
Article
This article examines preservice Spanish teachers' perceptions of linguistic sexism, norm, and use in Spanish. Analysis of 723 participants' answers showed that sexism and linguistic non-adequacy were associated. Results proved that the exclusion of women from the generic masculine in Spanish was considered sexist, and that participants used some Gender Fair Language (GFL) mechanisms to make women visible when deemed necessary, especially with professions. Also, regardless of its adherence to norm, linguistic sexism was perceived as grammatically wrong. Thus, GFL criteria were finding their way into use even if contrary to norm. Therefore, policies based on direct intervention in the training of preservice teachers Spanish as a first language would produce a more egalitarian use of language.
... Studies of English, French and German associate the use of the generic masculine with negative attitudes towards women (Parks & Roberton, 2004;Sarrasin et al., 2012;Swim et al., 2004). Along the same lines, research has confirmed the link between the grammatical gender of occupations and their social perception (Budziszewska et al., 2014;Formanowicz et al., 2013;Gabriel et al., 2008;Horvath et al., 2016). Sczesny et al. (2016) affirm that: ...
... Our analysis does not provide enough data to corroborate previous studies which state that non-inclusive language use of the names of occupations adds to women's lack of visibility as prototypical examples to occupy such positions (Budziszewska et al., 2014;Formanowicz et al., 2013;Gabriel et al., 2008;Horvath et al., 2016;Sczesny et al., 2016) A further study could assess the main reasons why female and male authors present different practices. ...
Article
The article analyses the use of GFL in a corpus of 187 academic texts created by pre-service teachers. It reveals how participants reached a balance between the recommendations of GFL guides and the standard normative grammar included in the school curriculum. The study shows that although future teachers are aware of GFL and sensitive to discrimination, they used a combination of the generic masculine with GFL recommendations when deemed necessary. This has great pedagogical potential for the Spanish classroom, together with the potential to transform language and society.
... Using feminine job titles for women has the disadvantage of emphasizing their gender and the stereotypes attached to it. Budziszewska, et al. (2014) revealed that women described with feminine job titles were seen as less competent by both men and women. Therefore, gender differences in language use may lead to frustration and anger between male and female (Drynan,2011). ...
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Despite the wide spread awareness regarding the need to reduce gender bias in communication styles, it still exists in organizations and its negative effects on women’s behaviour and perceptions in the workplace remain a great concern. Consequently, the importance of gender neutral language (GNL) use in reducing gender stereotypes and discrimination cannot be overemphasized. Gender differences between gender and non-gender policy organizations has not been given much attention among university lecturers in the investigation of GNL use in Nigeria. This study examines the main and interaction effects of gender and institution type on GNL among public and private university lecturers. Using a two-way factorial design, 161 lecturers were randomly selected from four faculties and twelve departments while convenient sampling method was used to select the target respondents. A questionnaire focusing on socio-demographic profile and a GNL test was administered to the participants. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, t-test analysis and analysis of variance at 0.05 level of significance. Three hypotheses were tested. The results revealed that gender differences and institution type interacted to influence GNL use among the participants of the study. Gender and institution type are important in developing interventions for GNL use in academia. Article visualizations: </p
... Women's job applications were judged as less suitable for a high-status leadership position when the job was titled with a masculine form compared to when it was titled with a paired form (Horvath & Sczesny, 2015). Women described with feminine job titles (e.g., la presidentessa, 'the president', feminine) instead of equivalent masculine job titles (e.g., la presidente) were rated as less warm and competent, which led to a lower willingness to employ them (Budziszewska, Hansen, & Bilewicz, 2014). In a mock court situation, participants were less likely to accept the woman defendant's behavior as self-defense when the text describing the definition of self-defense used generic masculine terms (Hamilton, Hunter, & Stuart-Smith, 1992). ...
... The introduction of novel linguistic forms or novel syntactic rules naturally provokes resistance, which is even more likely to occur when the introduced changes undermine existing gender arrangements. Many studies have reported negative effects of reformed usage (Budziszewska et al., 2014;Formanowicz et al., 2015;McConnell & Fazio, 1996;Mucchi-Faina, 2005), which might lead to hasty conclusions about the effects of language reform. However, with time, the novel forms become familiar and may become part of a new linguistic standard. ...
Article
Gender stereotypes and related gender discrimination are encoded in and transmitted through language, contributing to gender inequality. In this article, we review research findings on subtle linguistic means of communicating gender stereotypes and gender hierarchies. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive repository of various instances of subtle linguistic biases potentially useful in creating a text analysis toolbox to quantify gender bias in language. Our focus is predominantly on those areas that have received less attention both in research and in policy making. As gender inequalities are communicated through linguistic practices, attempts to change social reality include changes in language. Therefore, we suggest possible interventions for practices of gender equality in language.
... Here, research has primarily focused on androcentric versus gender-fair language (e.g., replacing the generic masculine "he" with "he or she") without distinguishing between multi-gendering and de-gendering languages. Findings from this literature show that language has powerful effects both on who comes to mind when using differently gendered terms (Lindqvist et al., 2019) and also how individuals described in gender-fair language are perceived (Budziszewska et al., 2014). It would be interesting to examine such effects by focusing on de-gendering (e.g., replacing "he or she" with "they") and multi-gendering (e.g., replacing "he or she" with "he, she, or ze") strategies to make language more gender-fair. ...
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In the Western world, gender/sex is traditionally viewed as binary, with people falling into one of two categories: male or female. This view of gender/sex has started to change, triggering some resistance. This research investigates psychological mechanisms underlying that resistance. Study 1 ( N = 489, UK) explored the role of individual gender identification in defense of, and attempts to reinforce, the gender/sex binary. Study 2 ( N = 415, Sweden) further considered the role of individual differences in need for closure. Both gender identification and need for closure were associated with binary views of gender/sex, prejudice against nonbinary people, and opposition to the use of gender-neutral pronouns. Policies that aim to abolish gender/sex categories, but not policies that advocate for a third gender/sex category, were seen as particularly unfair among people high in gender identification. These findings are an important step in understanding the psychology of resistance to change around binary systems of gender/sex.
... After all the final categories were created, two coders conducted an independent coding of all texts for their presence (1) or absence (0). The coders were not told the narrator's gender, but in some cases they could not be blind to it as the Polish language is a grammatical gender language and gender information can be embedded in nouns, verbs, or other parts of speech (Budziszewska, Hansen, & Bilewicz, 2014;Stahlberg, Braun, Irmen, & Sczesny, 2007). The coding was needed to include earlier created categories as variables in the quantitative part of the study. ...
Article
In a mixed-design narrative study, we explore how adolescent boys and girls represent experiences of anger and how their narrations are linked to self-esteem and anxiety. Polish teens from three nonurban public schools (N = 101, 55% female, Mage = 15.5) wrote narrative accounts of their typical anger experience. We use a thematic analysis framework to analyze the patterns in these narratives. Boys and girls told stories within school, family, and relationship contexts. However, boys provided more stories that focused on the theme of everyday incidental instances of anger, whereas girls provided more stories focused on the theme of negative inner experiences. In-depth analysis resulted in the emergence of two complex narrative patterns: Anger as Outburst and Anger as Burden. Anger as Outburst described heated anger related to difficulties in self-control and aggression and was more characteristic of boys. Anger as Burden contained stories of prolonged anger related to negative self-evaluation and was more characteristic of girls. Anger as Burden was also related to higher anxiety and lower self-esteem. We conclude that in the given cultural context, adolescents lack positive narratives to frame their anger adaptively.
... Therefore, professional women are less likely to be promoted or invited to participate in continuing training than working fathers and childless workers (Cuddy et al., 2004). Research has also shown that women described with feminine job titles appear less competent and less warm and elicit more discriminatory intentions than those described with masculine job titles (Budziszewska et al., 2014). ...
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Background: Occupational segregation by gender is one of the major problems faced by professional women in the labor market. Since the sixties, psychological explanations point out that gender stereotypes are responsible for this persistent inequality in the workforce. Nevertheless, most of research has overlooked that emotions are particularly important as the discrimination faced by professional women is better explained by the ambivalent feelings they provoke than by stereotyping. Aim: The aim of this research is to analyse from the Stereotype Content Model (SCM, Fiske et al., 2002) and the Behaviors from Intergroup Affect and Stereotypes (BIAS) Map (Cuddy et al., 2007) whether cognitive, affective and behavioral components of prejudice act jointly to explain gender segregation in the labor market. Method: 1098 Spanish workers (59% women) from different occupational sectors were requested to rate how professional men and women in high (leaders) and low status (secretaries) positions who work in male (high-tech company) and female-dominated (health company) occupations are perceived (stereotypes), as well as the affective responses and the behavioral tendencies that they arouse. Data analyses: Two analyses of variance (a) and two ANOVAs with repeated measures (b) were carried out to analyze the effect of occupational status (high vs. low), type of company (high-tech vs. health) and workers’ sex (men vs. women) on: (a) the social structural variables (status and competition), (b) on the stereotyped dimensions (competence and warmth) and (c) on emotions (admiration, envy and contempt). Finally, mediational analyses were carried out to examine the link between stereotypes, emotions, and behavioral tendencies. Results: The most striking results show that (a) competition and status differentiate leaders and secretaries, (b) men leaders are rated as more competent and less warm than secretaries, whereas women leaders are viewed as more competent than women secretaries but with equivalent warmth, and (c) admiration and envy predict behavioral tendencies, but restricted to professional men regardless of organizational context. Conclusion: Results reveal that cognitive, affective and behavioral components of prejudice act jointly to explain discrimination against women in the workplace. Findings are discussed according to the SCM and the BIAS Map.
Article
Heated societal debates in various countries concern the use of gender-fair language, meant to replace the generic use of grammatically masculine forms. Advocates and opponents of gender-fair language disagree on – among other things – the question of whether masculine forms leave women underrepresented in people's minds. We investigated the influence of linguistic form on the mental representations of gender in French. Participants read a short text about a professional gathering and estimated the percentages of men and women present at the gathering. Results showed higher estimates of the percentage of women in response to two gender-fair forms relative to the masculine form. Comparisons with normed data on people's perception of real-world gender ratios additionally showed that the gender-fair forms removed or reduced a male bias for neutral- and female-stereotyped professions, respectively, yet induced a female bias for male-stereotyped professions. Thus, gender-fair language increases the prominence of women in the mind, but has varying effects on consistency, i.e., the match with default perceptions of real-world gender ratios.
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In many languages, feminization has been used as a strategy to make language more gender-fair, because masculine terms, even in a generic function, exhibit a male bias. Up to date, little is known about possible side effects of this language use, for example, in personnel selection. In three studies, conducted in Polish, we analyzed how a female applicant was evaluated in a recruitment process, depending on whether she was introduced with a feminine or masculine job title. To avoid influences from existing occupations and terms, we used fictitious job titles in Studies 1 and 2: diarolożka (feminine) and diarolog (masculine). In Study 3, we referred to existing occupations that varied in gender stereotypicality. In all studies, female applicants with a feminine job title were evaluated less favorably than both a male applicant (Study 1) and a female applicant with a masculine job title (Studies 1, 2, and 3). This effect was independent of the gender stereotypicality of the occupation (Study 3). Participants' political attitudes, however, moderated the effect: Conservatives devaluated female applicants with a feminine title more than liberals (Studies 2 and 3). Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Artykuł podsumowuje pierwszy etap badań nad wpływem języka androcentrycznego i inkluzywnego na dostępność umysłową kategorii płci. W generycznych wypowiedziach na temat ludzi, czyli odnoszących się zarówno do kobiet, jak i do mężczyzn, zwykle stosuje się męskie formy leksykalne. Alternatywnie można stosować język inkluzywny płciowo. Analizowano płeć 491 postaci narysowanych pod wpływem instrukcji androcentrycznej i inkluzywnej. Męskie formy leksykalne były odbierane jako sugerujące płeć męską, podczas gdy język inkluzywny sprzyjał wyrównywaniu rozkładu skojarzeń z płcią. Płeć postaci zależała też od płci autorów rysunków. Dodatkowe źródło skojarzeń z płcią stanowiła kategoria społeczna, do której należała postać. Proporcja postaci kobiecych była zaniżona w stosunku do rozkładu oczekiwanego zarówno w warunkach instrukcji androcentrycznej (bardziej), jak i inkluzywnej (mniej). Wyniki zostały poddane interpretacji z perspektywy poznawczej.
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Sexist language excludes, trivializes or diminishes either gender. Despite efforts by many professional bodies to encourage the use of nonsexist alternatives, sexist language use persists across many languages. Further, research has shown that men are less supportive of nonsexist language alternatives than women, and that this effect is mediated by attitudes toward women. We propose that broader ideologies related to the perceived legitimacy of dominance hierarchies and existing social systems also explain this gender gap. British undergraduate participants completed measures of attitudes toward women, gender-specific system justification, and social dominance orientation. They also completed an inventory of attitudes toward sexist language. There was a strong gender difference in attitudes toward sexist language that was significantly mediated by gender-specific system justification and social dominance orientation. The relationship between gender and attitudes toward sexist language therefore appears to be driven by broader ideologies that serve to keep women “in their place”.
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Stereotype research emphasizes systematic processes over seemingly arbitrary contents, but content also may prove systematic. On the basis of stereotypes' intergroup functions, the stereotype content model hypothesizes that (a) 2 primary dimensions are competence and warmth, (b) frequent mixed clusters combine high warmth with low competence (paternalistic) or high competence with low warmth (envious), and (c) distinct emotions (pity, envy, admiration, contempt) differentiate the 4 competence-warmth combinations. Stereotypically, (d) status predicts high competence, and competition predicts low warmth. Nine varied samples rated gender, ethnicity, race, class, age, and disability out-groups. Contrary to antipathy models, 2 dimensions mattered, and many stereotypes were mixed, either pitying (low competence, high warmth subordinates) or envying (high competence, low warmth competitors). Stereotypically, status predicted competence, and competition predicted low warmth.
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It is well established that the masculine form (MF) makes women invisible, yet little is known about which form of feminization represents the most appropriate alternative. In the present study, conducted in Italian language, the authors compared the MF (e.g., avvocato, lawyer) with two forms of feminization, namely, the asymmetrical and traditional suffix “-essa” (traditional forms of feminization [TFF], e.g., avvocatessa) that is currently in use and modern alternatives (modern forms of feminization [ModFF], e.g., avvocata) that represent neologisms. Results show that women professionals described by the TFF “-essa” are perceived as having less social status than those described either by the MF or ModFF. The authors conclude that symmetrical forms may shield women against both invisibility and status loss.