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FEMINISM IN INDIA - GENDER DISTINCTION (Pages 01-05) by B. Thenmalar Bharathi in THE ENGLISH RESEARCH EXPRESS / ISSN:2321-1164 (Online); 2347-2642 (Print)

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Article Number
ERE.2021/2nd.Qr-01/01.05/580
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Gender distinction is anti-thetic of social ethics in any civilized society. Women in general are not to be discriminated against on account of their social status in degradation. The women’s empowerment in the western countries took up the cause of treating the women at par with men in reference to addressing them. Now the gender distinction is a thing of the past in the West. Equal status is awarded to women in respect to the language system of addressing them in English by oral and written communication. It is almost rehabilitative in purpose. Men’s superiority is arbitrary and, therefore, it is insufferable in any civilized society. Giving social honour to men and denying the same to women is unethical. Women are found today more advanced than ever before. Therefore their newly acquired positions of authority or power are to be acknowledged proportionately. One simple example for this is that neither the word ‘chairman’ nor ‘chairwoman’ may be appropriate. Compromisingly, Chairperson is acceptable. Such rephrasing is imperative in the changed order of things. This paper is on the social issue over- shadowing the system of addressing persons of power. Accordingly neutral forms will be as follows. Foreman = supervisor, manhole = utility tunnel, spaceman = astronaut, seaman = mariner, chairman = president, mankind = humankind. What is more relevant is that the words are to be replaced not drastically but moderately while keeping up the sense of English in its cultural nexus. There are some blind spots to get over. For example a country’s ambassador’s wife is not to be addressed as ‘madam ambassador ‘since she belongs to no officialdom. How to dissociate gender and sex? It is not easy on all occasions. For example a ‘ship’ is referred to by the pronoun ‘she’ and also the moon. The interchangeability of sexes is another problem. The primary purpose is to honour the women’s cause for social equality in the matter of getting addressed in social interaction. Etymological sequence of sexist words is to be analyzed perforce in isolation while philological study of words will give out the historical roots of such words. For example ‘man’ is a word with its origin as ‘human being’. In old English ‘man’ was used commonly for both the sexes. Also the word ‘girl’ referred to boys as well as girls. ‘Man’ is derived from ‘whifmann’. Hence ‘wimmon’ or ‘wummon’ is in old English. The conclusion is that no final say is made available to this question of rephrasing gender markings in English. Keywords: women’s empowerment, Equal ngeability, philological study, madam ambassador etc.

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