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Representation of the sexes in language

Authors:
Literaturangabe:
Stahlberg, D., Braun, F., Irmen, L., & Sczesny, S. (2007). Representation of
the sexes in language. In K. Fiedler (Ed.), Social communication. A volume
in the series Frontiers of Social Psychology (pp. 163-187). (Series Editors:
A. W. Kruglanski & J. P. Forgas). New York: Psychology Press.
... This intervention was selected because a burgeoning body of literature has examined the impact of gendered language on the expression of stereotypes (Banaji & Hardin, 1996; for a review, see Sczensy, Formanowicz, & Moser, 2016). Such work has converged to demonstrate that masculine generics (e.g., using "he" when gender is irrelevant) evoke a male bias in mental representation, which makes male exemplars of a person category (e.g., male scientists) more accessible than female exemplars of the same category (e.g., female scientists; Stahlberg et al., 2007). However, two gender-fair language (GFL) strategies have been employed to combat the detrimental effects of malegendered language: (1) language neutralization, which involves replacing gender-specific words or pronouns (e.g., "policeman" and "he") with gender-neutral words or pronouns (e.g., "police officer" and "they"); and (2) techniques that make female exemplars more visible by using male and female generics symmetrically (e.g., "the surgeon…he or she…"). ...
... In the present work, we examined the efficacy of gender-fair language, a strategy that aims to reduce stereotyping by eliminating asymmetries in referring to and addressing men and women (e.g., Mucchi-Faina, 2005;Stahlberg et al., 2007). Specifically, this minimal intervention involved incidental exposure to either a female-gendered (daughter) or gender-neutral (child) ...
... Unexpectedly, the gender-neutral child condition was more effective in reducing stereotyping than even the daughter condition, which included multiple mentions of the female gender. Although this result was not anticipated, it converges with a growing body of literature demonstrating that gender-fair language (e.g., replacing "policeman" with "police officer") can increase the visibility of women in male-typed roles (Horvath & Sczesny, 2016;Stahlberg et al., 2007). ...
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“A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies. The son is rushed to the ER. The attending surgeon looks at the boy and says, ‘I can't operate on this boy. He's my son!’ How can this be?” Fifty years after the riddle first received public attention, one likely answer proves elusive: the surgeon is the boy's mother. Seven studies (N = 6,987) were conducted to explore the vicissitudes of the surgeon = male stereotype. In Study 1, over 70% of participants failed to reach the mother solution. However, a reduction in bias was also observed: the percentage of mother inferences more than doubled when “son” was replaced with a gender-neutral kinship term (“child”), suggesting that even incidental exposure to gender-neutral language can loosen the grip of stereotypes. In fact, gender-neutral language was more effective in reducing bias than a condition (“daughter”) with multiple mentions of the female gender. In Study 2, we replicated this finding in a nationally representative sample of the United States, and demonstrated that 82% of Americans failed to provide the mother inference in response to the classic riddle. Additionally, within this nationally representative sample, the demographic and psychological correlates of the surgeon = male stereotype were explored. In Studies 3–5, we interrogated the mechanisms of stereotype reduction in the child condition (Study 3), the degree to which this stereotype simply reflects base rates (Study 4), and eliminated an alternative explanation (Study 5). Finally, in Studies 6–7, the generalizability of the surgeon = male stereotype was tested and confirmed in a non-WEIRD country that supplies medical expertise to the world (India; Study 6), and the result was extended to an inverse gender–occupation stereotype (nurse = female; Study 7). Taken together, these data demonstrate the surprising strength of a gender occupational stereotype and its boundary conditions.
... According to Stahlberg et al. [18], languages are group into a three categories: genderless languages, notional gender languages, and grammatical gender language. Genderless languages (Eg. ...
... With more than 60% of the world connected through the internet, search engines act as the gatekeepers of information 18 . Search engines influence users heavily, helping them map concepts and link entities across queries and documents. ...
... This is not so different from a general representation of the socio-cultural perception of women among the diverse ethnolinguistic groups in Nigeria and the perception which is being transmitted from one generation to the other. Stahlberg et al., (2007) noted that masculine linguistic forms imply a male bias in mental representations and it makes listeners think more of males than females. However, feminization is not always beneficial to women. ...
... Formanowicz et al., (2013) observed that the idea of GNL use was first introduced by activist movements and so people respond negatively to its acceptance. Sczesny et al., (2015) noted that language users who use GNL spontaneously were found to have used it in the past and are likely to continue using it and Stahlberg et al., (2007) revealed that language users who grew up with schoolbooks using predominantly masculine generics tend not to question the usage. They maintain that the way gender is viewed and used in a language may be associated with societal gender equality. ...
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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
... These languages have neither grammatical gender in the noun system, nor gender differentiating personal pronouns (for more on this, see Stahlberg, Braun, Irmen, & Sczesny, 2007). ...
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The Iranian state is notorious for its heteronormativity and policing regime in online and offline spaces. The question of how queer Iranians 'survive' this inquisitive and intrusive regime of surveillance and control has attracted scholarly interest across disciplines. The existing studies complicate the picture and show that queer spaces, practices, and performances survive despite the extensive control. Digital spaces have presented an opportunity for Iranians of all genders and sexualities to identify, express, and perform non-mainstream and unruly genders and sexualities. In this research, I explore a Persian-language Telegram channel used as an 'LGBT [sic]' dating platform. I use a combination of content analysis and cyberethnography to explore the content of the Telegram channel and the nature of interactions therein. The paper will present findings on how this Telegram channel is used primarily to find dating partners and how implicit forms of LGBTQI+ solidarity manifest themselves through its content. Data shows that, despite the strict control of cyberspace, queer spaces appear online, and implicit activism leaks into public spaces through everyday digital interactions of queer Iranians.
... As expected, most people gave the non-binary person a masculine name, which is, regrettably, in line with the maleas-the-norm phenomenon and vast research showing that people assume that the protagonist or the narrator of a text is male even when described using gender-neutral language (see reviews by Sczesny et al., 2016;Stahlberg et al., 2007). Our questionnaire also included exemplary situations that involved meeting a non-binary person and asked participants to imagine how they would address this person. ...
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People can express their identity in different ways, one of which is through language. Non-binary individuals often speak in a gender-neutral way and use specific language forms. Language use not only reveals their identity but also can shape how others perceive them. The present study’s purpose was to analyze how non-binary people are perceived through the language they use. The research was conducted in Polish, a language that is especially challenging for non-binary individuals because it has many gender markers. To avoid using gendered forms, they often use a specific form of passive voice. In an experiment, participants (N = 130, 102 women, 28 men) read a gendered (feminine or masculine) text and a gender-neutral text with passive voice. Most gave a masculine name to the person in the neutral text, but addressed them in a gender-neutral way when asked to react to them in presented scenarios. The gender-neutral text was evaluated as being less comprehensible than the gendered texts, and the non-binary person was rated less competent and colder than a man or a woman and was less socially accepted. Furthermore, the negative evaluation of non-binary people seemed to be attributable to unfamiliarity with gender-neutral language and its lower comprehensibility. More research is needed to understand these perceptions better and to be able to prevent their potential negative consequences.
... The mean average results across all privacy-preserving technologies is higher for both French (≈ 4% relative) and German (≈ 20% relative) when compared to English. French and German exhibit more gendered language features than English (Hord 2016; Kokovidis 2015; Stahlberg et al. 2007). ...
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Large scale adoption of large language models has introduced a new era of convenient knowledge transfer for a slew of natural language processing tasks. However, these models also run the risk of undermining user trust by exposing unwanted information about the data subjects, which may be extracted by a malicious party, e.g. through adversarial attacks. We present an empirical investigation into the extent of the personal information encoded into pre-trained representations by a range of popular models, and we show a positive correlation between the complexity of a model, the amount of data used in pre-training, and data leakage. In this paper, we present the first wide coverage evaluation and comparison of some of the most popular privacy-preserving algorithms, on a large, multi-lingual dataset on sentiment analysis annotated with demographic information (location, age and gender). The results show since larger and more complex models are more prone to leaking private information, use of privacy-preserving methods is highly desirable. We also find that highly privacy-preserving technologies like differential privacy (DP) can have serious model utility effects, which can be ameliorated using hybrid or metric-DP techniques.
... In addition to excluding those who identify outside of the gender binary, gender binary language unnecessarily emphasizes or marks gender, which can cause biases in information processing (Crawford & English, 1984;Bigler & Leaper, 2014). Substantial evidence suggests that language affects gender-related cognition, affect, attitudes and behavior (Arthur, et al., 2008;Bradley, 2020;Henley, 1989;Leaper, 2014;Leaper & Bigler, 2004;Moulton, et al., 1978;Moulton, et al. 2020;Signorella & Liben, 1997;Stahlberg, et al., 2007;Stout & Dasgupta, 2011). Indeed, in the recent revision of the publication manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), writers are now instructed to use "they/them/their" as singular pronouns when gender is unknown or irrelevant (APA, 2019). ...
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The American Psychological Association’s (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, 2019) style manual recently updated its guidelines to include the use they/them/their pronouns for situations where gender is unknown or irrelevant, which includes situations involving cisgender men and women. As such, we experimentally tested whether non-binary pronouns (“they/them/their”) would function as generic and inclusive singular pronouns for cisgender men and women. As a replication and extension of previous research (i.e., Crawford and English in J Psycholinguist Res 13 (5):373–3381, https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01068152, 1984; Stout and Dasgupta in Personal Soc Psychol Bull 37 (6):757–769, https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167211406434, 2011), cisgender U.S. college students (N = 381; 269 women and 112 men; M age = 19.41 years old) were randomly assigned to read a job advertisement using: (1) masculine pronouns “he/him/his”, (2) binary pronouns such as “she or he”, or (3) singular non-binary pronouns “they/them/their”. Participants’ memory for the content of the job advertisement was tested along with assessments of sexism and belongingness (i.e., ostracism or feelings of exclusion, whether they identified with the described job, and whether they would be motivated for the work). As predicted, there were gender differences in memory scores in the masculine (men scored higher) and binary (women scored higher) pronoun conditions, but not in the non-binary condition. For all three indicators of belongingness, as predicted, men’s belongingness scores were similar across the three conditions (i.e., men were included or represented by the pronouns used in all three conditions), whereas women’s scores indicated less belongingness when masculine condition pronouns were used (i.e., where women were excluded by the pronouns used) in comparison to when the binary and non-binary pronoun were used (i.e., where women were included by the pronouns used). Together these findings provide empirical support for the use of “they/them/their” as singular non-binary pronouns to refer generically and inclusively to both cisgender men and women.
... That is because, in the case of human entities, masculine or feminine inflections are assigned semantically, i.e. in relation to the extra-linguistic reality of gender (Ackerman, 2019;Corbett, 1991Corbett, , 2013. Thus, gendered features interact with the -sociocultural and political -perception and representation of individuals (Gygax et al., 2019), by prompting discussions on the appropriate recognition of gender groups and their linguistic visibility (Stahlberg et al., 2007;Hellinger and Motschenbacher, 2015;Hord, 2016). ...
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Gender bias is largely recognized as a problematic phenomenon affecting language technologies, with recent studies underscoring that it might surface differently across languages. However, most of current evaluation practices adopt a word-level focus on a narrow set of occupational nouns under synthetic conditions. Such protocols overlook key features of grammatical gender languages, which are characterized by morphosyntactic chains of gender agreement, marked on a variety of lexical items and parts-of-speech (POS). To overcome this limitation, we enrich the natural, gender-sensitive MuST-SHE corpus (Bentivogli et al., 2020) with two new linguistic annotation layers (POS and agreement chains), and explore to what extent different lexical categories and agreement phenomena are impacted by gender skews. Focusing on speech translation, we conduct a multifaceted evaluation on three language directions (English-French/Italian/Spanish), with models trained on varying amounts of data and different word segmentation techniques. By shedding light on model behaviours, gender bias, and its detection at several levels of granularity, our findings emphasize the value of dedicated analyses beyond aggregated overall results.
... In recent decades, there have been growing concerns about the possibility of masculine generics being at odds with the pursuit of gender equality, for example by reducing women's visibility or perpetuating the notion of "male as norm" (e.g., Stahlberg, Braun, Irmen, & Sczesny, 2011). Multiple experimental studies have provided scientific evidence that supports these concerns (e.g., Bojarska, 2011;Garnham & Yakovlev, 2015;Gastil, 1990;Irmen, 2007). ...
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In Polish, it is obligatory to mark feminine or masculine grammatical gender on second-person singular past tense verbs (e.g., Dostałaś list ‘You received-F a letter’). When the addressee’s gender is unknown or unspecified, masculine but never feminine gender marking may be used. The present self-paced reading experiment aims to determine whether this practice creates a processing disadvantage for female addressees in such contexts. We further investigated how men process being addressed with feminine-marked verbs, which constitutes a pragmatic violation. To this end, we presented Polish native speakers with short narratives. Each narrative contained either a second-person singular past tense verb with masculine or feminine gender marking, or a gerund verb with no gender marking as a baseline. We hypothesised that both men and women would read the verbs with gender marking mismatching their own gender more slowly than the gender-unmarked gerund verbs. The results revealed that the gender-mismatching verbs were read equally fast as the gerund verbs, and that the verbs with gender marking matching participant gender were read faster. While the relatively high reading time of the gender-unmarked baseline was unexpected, the pattern of results nevertheless shows that verbs with masculine marking were more difficult to process for women compared to men, and vice versa. In conclusion, even though masculine gender marking in the second person is commonly used with a gender-unspecific intention, it created similar processing difficulties for women as the ones that men experienced when addressed through feminine gender marking. This study is the first one, as far as we are aware, to provide evidence for the male bias of second-person masculine generics during language processing.
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A good number of studiesin the past have examined the language of sexism from the feminist perspectives, gender segregation and degradation, etc. using semiotics resources, discourse analysis, multimodal discourse, among other theories. This study looks at sexist language as one of the choices available to language users on the Facebook social media platform by identifying the linguistic and non-linguistic elements used as a communicative vehicle of sexism on the platform. Using the multimodal theory as framework, the study examines 10 Facebook posts with texted pictures and comments. This is precipitated on the discovery that less attention is paid on the signification of the communicative elements deployed to convey sexism on the Facebook platform. From the analysis, the study finds out that Facebook users engage linguistic and non-linguistic elements symbolising sexist language on Facebook postings; that the posts on Facebook rely predominantly on both written texts and pictures, combined to make the tagging or stereotyping concrete;that the sexist posts on Facebook platforms rely heavily on hasty or intentional generalisation in order to demean the sex they chose to target through texts, pictures and the combination of texts or pictures and that there is usually an undertone of humour in most of the sexist posts, which can, in a way, undermine the fact that the posts are created to demean the opposite gender rather than for fun.
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Women's historical lack of prominence in Western culture has been the subject of much research and debate in recent years. One area of partiuclar concern has been language: the grammatical prescription of masculine words as generic to describe both men and women. In the service of equality between the sexes, it is crucial to demonstrate that “generic” masculine words are indeed interpreted as generic (equally inclusive of women and men) by language users. The research reported here manipulated gender neutrality of language descriptors to determine whether generic masculine nouns, pronouns, and possessive pronominal adjectives function more similarly to gender specific terms or neuter terms. The relative masculinity of responses to these terms was assessed within three different tasks (draw a picture, read an essay, and provide example names). In addition, the relative masculinity/femininity of 10 terms with various intended gender references was empirically assessed. Participants rated each of them using 14 adjectives taken from the Bern Sex Role Inventory. Results support and extend previous research by showing (1) that “generic” masculine nouns, pronouns, and adjectives function similarly to gender specific masculine terms and (2) that certain grammatically “neutral” terms are in fact rated as relatively masculine. This evidence demonstrates that the use of “generic” masculine and even other grammatically neutral terms in effect serves to exclude women from the English language. The resulting masculine bias in our language reflects and reinforces the pattern of male dominance in society.