Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sexism in Spanish Language - Mexico

From the BBC

Mexico's interior ministry has published a guide on how to reduce the use of sexist language in a nation renowned for its machismo.

The Manual for the Non-sexist Use of Language is being distributed to government offices across Mexico.

It seeks to reduce comments that enforce gender stereotypes, as well as the default use of the masculine form in the Spanish language.

The manual was written by a body that tackles violence against women.

In its introduction, the manual describes itself as "a tool to familiarize federal public workers with the use of non-sexist strategies in the Spanish language".

It discourages the use of phrases such as: "If you want to work, why did you have children," and: "You are prettier when you keep quiet".

Interesting indeed. Mexico is quite the macho country, in language, attitude, the home, and everywhere else though I've always experienced it here as a two-sided coin with good and bad. Mexico City is not nearly as macho as the countryside can be what with a fairly liberal and modern mindset in its populace. I am curious as to how to eliminate the default use of the masculine though as I know of no neutral form for some words, such as sibling or parent (hermano/a and padres/papas).

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