A gender system that distinguishes femaleness as having a salient property, whether positive, negative, or neither, might still be regarded as a kind of sexism, whichever way the property goes; but it is a rather different matter from the usual feminist complaint about the patriarchal conception that we find all the way from Genesis to Aristotle to Freud: It looks to be essential to the feminist theory of "sexist language" that a gender system where the masculine gender doubles as the common gender causes or reinforces "phallocentrism" and a patriarchal society.
The title of Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch  expresses the thesis that the female is seen by patriarchy as a defective male, lacking the key defining organ of, just what, personhood? Or of sexuality itself? Is the "female eunuch" objectively sexless?
The feminine as gammatically the more "marked" gender, however, makes that unlikely. In an ideology that wants to see language as a tool of oppression, embodying an unjust characterization of sexual differences, the actual grammar of gender contradicts the thesis.
The feminine gender is marked by a presence, not an absence. Since this practice clearly bespeaks the genuinely patriarchal nature of Islamic society, it may leave us suspicious that Western "patriarchy" was never really the enemy to Greer, but capitalism and America were. A recent take on this point can be found in Laura Kipnis: Recall that Freud's slightly contentious phrase for this bedrock female sense of inadequacy was "penis envy" -- which just sounds so retro these days.
Who wants some fleshy old appendage swinging between her legs? Not us, we're quite happy with our own equipment, thank you!
Funnily enough, it's not actually psychiatrists who peddle this idea anymore; it's women themselves, since isn't the notion that "something's missing" the dynamic driving the entirety of women's culture?
Pick up the current issue of any women's magazine, tune into a daytime talk show, peruse one of the millions of how-to-land-a-man or how-to-fix-something-about-yourself books, and contemplate the sheer magnitude of anxiety about the lack of something on display.
If something's missing relax, not a penis, don't be so literal -- just somethingluckily that elusive missing "something" can be creatively marketed under an infinite variety of labels, none of which ever precisely fixes anything, which is why women make the world's most dedicated consumers, leaping at the next instant solution to the nonexistent or craftily exacerbated problem, wallets agape.
The female psyche and consumer culture: Yet most men would be astonished to think that it is women who are missing "something"; or, if they are there are candidatesit shrinks to insignificance besides what they've got that men don't.
And Kipnis herself undercuts her own analysis with a later observation: Indeed, if the female genitalia are popularly called the "booty," this is because that word means "treasure," "prize," or "plunder" [ note ].
There is no way in theory or practice that such a thing could be construed as "something missing" -- it is all too real to the crowd of men who are likely to be drawn to a beautiful woman at a party.
The men may know what they are missing, and they go straight for it -- even as, biologically, we see the single egg, in its impassive dignity, beset by hundreds of desperate spermatozoa.
How can this possibly be construed to the disadvantage of the feminine? Unless, of course, the source of the envy is elsewhere, and feminism itself has a misogynistic origin. But all of "sexist language" doctrine as a theory can actually be tested: We would expect that if linguistic gender were a correlate of social form, an engine for the enforcement of patriarchy or a reflection of the existence of patriarchy, then we would find it present in sexist or patriarchal societies and absent in non-sexist or non-patriarchal societies.
In fact, the presence of gender in language bears no relation whatsoever to the nature of the corresponding societies. The best historically conspicuous example is Persian. Old Persian, like Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit, had the original Indo-European genders of masculine, feminine, and neuter.
By Middle Persian all gender had disappeared.BibMe Free Bibliography & Citation Maker - MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard. The following guide will take you through some of the key issues when it comes to thesis editing for Masters and PhD students.
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