Language and the male rule

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Lusitania

Senior Member
Portugal Portuguese
Hello to all of you, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I receive a PM from one of the foreros saying that I should avoid saying "Olá a todos e a todas" making the distinction between genders as the norm has always been the Masculino Plural and that is the correct way of doing it. I replied saying that I didn't felt included and I didn't agree to which he replied that I was ignorant regarding Languages facts.

I decided to put a thread on the Portuguese forum to have the opinion of other portuguese speaking people and it seems that they mostly agree with him.
So I'm bringing the issue to a broader audience and hopefully get more views from other countries.

Should/do women feel included in this male norm?

Do you think that we should move further to non-sexist languages or should we just leave it as it is because it has always been like that?

Many thanks
 
  • képi

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I agree with the foreros. When we say, "Hola a Todos" it includes women. At least it does in French and Spanish. It seems like it would also work in Portuguese. It's one of those things that have been accepted for centuries. It's not that we're trying to exclude women by using the Male Plural. It's just the way it works:p
     

    képi

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    The same applies to real life.
    I mean, at back-to-school night, our principal said, "Bienvenidos." No one took offense to that because that is the way it has been. When you think about it, I would say, yes, it is sexism, because the Romance Languages were created in a time when society was still severely underdeveloped, and women still allowed men to abuse them and make them imvisible. But since it has been that way for a such a long time, it has lost its sexist quality and has become the standard. I mean, if you ask 10 people on the street, five male, five female, i assure you that at least 8/10 would be okay with keeping the male plural as the standand plural form for both sexes.
     

    Elibennet

    Senior Member
    Buenos Aires Argentina - castellano
    Lusitania, I agree with you. When somebody says "hola a todos", I feel included because I have been trained to forget that I am a woman in such cases. For all those forers who disagree with Lusitania, how would it feel if the convention were to use the feminine to include male and female? Language reflects ideology, and not seeing that shows that that ideology is so deep rooted in the minds of the people that they fail to realize it. What´s worse, I can´t see winds of change in the horizon.
     

    Hakro

    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    When we say, "Hola a Todos" it includes women. At least it does in French, Spanish, and English.
    As far as I know, in this case there is no possibility in English to separate male and female genders. At least I don't know how to say "Hello you all" in feminine form.
     

    Lusitania

    Senior Member
    Portugal Portuguese
    Lusitania, I agree with you. When somebody says "hola a todos", I feel included because I have been trained to forget that I am a woman in such cases. For all those forers who disagree with Lusitania, how would it feel if the convention were to use the feminine to include male and female? Language reflects ideology, and not seeing that shows that that ideology is so deep rooted in the minds of the people that they fail to realize it. What´s worse, I can´t see winds of change in the horizon.

    The winds of change already arrived to some countries, fourtunatelly. In my country they are coming, slowly and there are already some changes done in practise, but peoples minds tend to remain in the past.
     

    Lusitania

    Senior Member
    Portugal Portuguese
    As far as I know, in this case there is no possibility in English to separate male and female genders. At least I don't know how to say "Hello you all" in feminine form.

    That's neutral in english in Portuguese or Spanish is "todos" or "todas" for feminine. Both should be used nowadays.
     

    képi

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    In normal conversation, I think it'll take a long time, because I bet you that people don't realize it's sexist.
     

    KaRiNe_Fr

    Senior Member
    Français, French - France
    I dislike when someone begins saying "bonjour à tous" (hello to males or hello all) and seeing I'm the only woman in the meeting, daring at me and adding "... et à toutes !" (...and hello to females).
    But I don't feel offended when a man is saying "bonjour à toutes et à tous" and not the opposite (à tous et à toutes). ;)

    Edit: it reminds me that French presidents used to begin their speeches with "françaises, français..." (female French, male French). And now they are saying "mes chers compatriotes" which works for males and females. Isn't it "political correctness"? :p
     

    jabogitlu

    Senior Member
    USA-English
    Well, there's been a big movement within English to remove such references - "all of mankind," "chairman," etc. Humorously, some strange folks take this to another level and remove all mention of "man/men" in words, regardless of its true meaning, and thus we end up with words like "womansion" (mansion).

    But, anyway, I'm far from a native Romance speaker, but I agree with Lusitania. I think we should eliminate, if at all possible, references to "everyone" but use only the male gender. Easier said than done, but...
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    For all those forers who disagree with Lusitania, how would it feel if the convention were to use the feminine to include male and female?
    If I had grown up speaking a language where that was normal, I'm sure I wouldn't mind.

    Just as English speaking men and women do not feel "excluded" by the fact that "Hi everyone" neither refers specifically to men nor to women.
     

    papillon

    Senior Member
    Russian (Ukraine)
    I remember 3 years ago a female Spanish colleague had a report to write for the Spanish Ministry of Science. In the report she referred to her degree as doctora because she didn't feel included under doctor. A countryman of hers vehemently disagreed saying that such usage was not sanctioned by the Academia Real, the word doctor being perfectly gender-neutral.

    Three years later, I don't know where the Academia stands. But the word doctora has become ubiquitous. Only a small step, but a step in the right direction.
     

    . 1

    Banned
    Australian Australia
    Do you think that we should move further to non-sexist languages or should we just leave it as it is because it has always been like that?
    I agree that we should move to non sexist languages as soon as possible. Anybody who pretends to not understand a word due to the gender of the word is revealing something about themselves.

    As far as I know, in this case there is no possibility in English to separate male and female genders. At least I don't know how to say "Hello you all" in feminine form.
    G'day everybody,
    Yes you are quite right and as it should be.

    The winds of change already arrived to some countries, fourtunatelly. In my country they are coming, slowly and there are already some changes done in practise, but peoples minds tend to remain in the past.
    I try to write and speak by avoiding sexist words like he or she. My language is evolving to recognise the existance of female blokes but the process seems to be as slow as yours.

    .,,
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    Then why did they go the opposite way with the words steward and stewardess? Now we just have flight attendant.

    I am not a sexist individual, but I really really don't care about creating a seperate "ellas" type distinction for women in language just for the sake politcal correctness. In Panjabi, the formal form for men and women is the same as the plural for men. It doesn't bother me either.
     

    danielfranco

    Senior Member
    There's no winning here... In Spanish, there are words in which the feminine plural is the general plural to include both male and female. But of course, feminists may take exception to such blatant display of male-centered language usage. Consider:
    "Enfermeras" (nurses).
    "Recepcionistas" (receptionists).

    I can picture Gloria Steinem going postal over this, declaring vehemently that this is a chavinist pig's way of keeping women dominated. I can hear her in my head going, "OI! How come the feminine plural for 'chief of state' or 'CEO' is not a general plural? Sexist PIG!"

    'Tis just the way it is. "Coupla" hundred years of feminism cannot undo a good fifteen thousand years of ideology. We can try, but it'll take a while yet, I'm afraid....
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    If I had grown up speaking a language where that was normal, I'm sure I wouldn't mind.

    Just as English speaking men and women do not feel "excluded" by the fact that "Hi everyone" neither refers specifically to men nor to women.
    But that's different. "Everyone" has no gender. There is not even a potential objection.

    In English, a better example would be:

    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion."

    The problem now is that "its", while logical, is not allowed when talking of people. :)
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I suppose in English one could carry on speaking in the indefinite third person until one finally grows weary of such stilted figure of speech. Everyone is entitled to one's own opinion.
    Rather pompous, no?
    One is entitled to one's opinion, no matter how odd it makes one appear. ;)

    Seriously, no matter what solutions we choose, I think that sooner or later we run into constructions that have to be carefully restructured to avoid such problems.
     

    panjabigator

    Senior Member
    Am. English
    There's no winning here... In Spanish, there are words in which the feminine plural is the general plural to include both male and female. But of course, feminists may take exception to such blatant display of male-centered language usage. Consider:
    "Enfermeras" (nurses).
    "Recepcionistas" (receptionists).
    What about the word dentista? Not necessarily a male position. Although, with the first one, you have a point. A male nurse often isn't taken seriously because they are a male, and have stepped into a traditionally female job.

    (Argh...did I just make a sexist statement?)
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    Hello to all of you, Ladies and Gentlemen,

    I receive a PM from one of the foreros saying that I should avoid saying "Olá a todos e a todas" making the distinction between genders as the norm has always been the Masculino Plural and that is the correct way of doing it. I replied saying that I didn't felt included and I didn't agree to which he replied that I was ignorant regarding Languages facts.
    I think your correspondent has shown that it is he who is ignorant of "languages facts".
    If the masculine plural is the 'correct' way, maybe he needs to ask why it is so, and are people happy with it being the 'correct' way.

    By all means, do whatever you wish to do, or feel the need to do, in order to feel included - but most importantly, do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable when using your own language. That is how languages survive. Sticking to 'the correct way' is a surefire way to kill something which only needs a few small adjustments.
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Personally I find it cumbersome when I feel I have to use both the male and the female words in any language (including my own) and don't feel excluded when the male ones are used. I also dislike having to twist my sentences (especially in my language) in order to avoid using both by going for the neuter.
    I do dislike the "ladies first" rule that makes people around the world always say "ladies and gentlemen" for some reason but not to the point of making a fuss about it (someone must be named first).

    However this is me. If you feel more comfortable using both you should most certainly do so.
     

    jabogitlu

    Senior Member
    USA-English
    I suppose in English one could carry on speaking in the indefinite third person until one finally grows weary of such stilted figure of speech. Everyone is entitled to one's own opinion.
    Rather pompous, no?
    Well, I always write "Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion."

    However, in spoken colloquial AE the third-person plural possessive pronoun has supplanted other usages. "Everyone's entitled to their own opinion."
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Personally I find it cumbersome when I feel I have to use both the male and the female words in any language (including my own) and don't feel excluded when the male ones are used. I also dislike having to twist my sentences (especially in my language) in order to avoid using both by going for the neuter.
    I do dislike the "ladies first" rule that makes people around the world always say "ladies and gentlemen" for some reason but not to the point of making a fuss about it (someone must be named first).

    However this is me. If you feel more comfortable using both you should most certainly do so.
    The sequence, in English, Ladies and Gentlemen is not necessarily "putting women first". In English, it is normal for the shorter word to come first.
    Men and women
    Cups and saucers
    Friends, Romans and Countrymen
    Nymphs and Shepherds

    I'm not impressed by the "sexism" in language arguments.

    Malay is a "non-sexist" language. One pronoun means both he and she. All words describing occupations are neutral. They don't say son or daughter but male child or female child. There is no word for bull or cow, or rooster or hen. You have to say male bovine or female bovine, or male bird or female bird.

    However, Malay society is firmly patriarchal, and believes that males and females by nature have different roles and responsibilities.
     

    Hakro

    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    Also Finnish has only one pronoun for he and she, but we have different words for son/daughter, bull/cow etc.

    The words describing occupation or status, where there has traditionally been the part "man", have lately been changed to "person", for example "doorman" is nowadays "doorperson". Sometimes these words sound ridiculous. They are also ridiculed purposely by using non-existing words like "hit person", "ladies' person", "enlisted person" etc.
     

    Lusitania

    Senior Member
    Portugal Portuguese
    If I had grown up speaking a language where that was normal, I'm sure I wouldn't mind.

    Just as English speaking men and women do not feel "excluded" by the fact that "Hi everyone" neither refers specifically to men nor to women.

    I believe that many things changes while you grew up and they keep changing. I'm sure you're adapted to most of them. I'm sure this wouldn't be that difficult.
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Personally I find it cumbersome when I feel I have to use both the male and the female words in any language (including my own) and don't feel excluded when the male ones are used. I also dislike having to twist my sentences (especially in my language) in order to avoid using both by going for the neuter.
    I do dislike the "ladies first" rule that makes people around the world always say "ladies and gentlemen" for some reason but not to the point of making a fuss about it (someone must be named first).

    However this is me. If you feel more comfortable using both you should most certainly do so.
    My thoughts exactly!
    To me all genders-inclusive formulations often sound artificial and are in no way representative of the speaker's opinion on women and their place in society.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    My thoughts exactly!
    To me all genders-inclusive formulations often sound artificial and are in no way representative of the speaker's opinion on women and their place in society.

    Personal Computer sounded weird too until we got used to the concept.
    It just seems we're taking longer to get used to the concept of gender equality ;)
     

    jabogitlu

    Senior Member
    USA-English
    They don't say son or daughter but male child or female child. There is no word for bull or cow, or rooster or hen. You have to say male bovine or female bovine,
    This is preposterous and has no relation that I can see to the original question. Since a bull has a penis and is, by definition, male, and a cow has an udder and is, by definition, female, why would you eliminate them? It's not as though a bull can be a cow or a cow a bull.

    Edit- Oh. Hmm, I was raised on a farm and thus differentiate between cow and bull, but a friend just commented that for many people 'cow' means both male and female. How odd...

    But the argument still holds true for son/daughter. :p
     

    geve

    Senior Member
    France, French
    Personal Computer sounded weird too until we got used to the concept.
    It just seems we're taking longer to get used to the concept of gender equality ;)
    I don't understand what you mean :confused: It's not about gender equality, it's about gender equality in language. And I didn't say weird, I said artificial... whether a sexist jerk carefully uses both masculine and feminine pronouns when speaking doesn't make much of a difference to me.
    If people choose to use both genders, fine by me; but it seems to me that forcing them to do so is fighting the wrong fight.

    _________________

    Ceux qui parlent français trouveront peut-être intéressants ces fils sur la féminisation des noms de métiers :
    Féminisation des titres, métiers et fonctions
    Écrivain au féminin ?
     

    Pedro y La Torre

    Senior Member
    English (Ireland)
    On French TV (game shows etc.) I almost only hear "Bonjour à tous". I don't know I guess there are more important things to worry about than language gender equality.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    This is preposterous and has no relation that I can see to the original question. Since a bull has a penis and is, by definition, male, and a cow has an udder and is, by definition, female, why would you eliminate them? It's not as though a bull can be a cow or a cow a bull.
    :confused:

    Did you even read Brioche's post?

    It is entirely about gender equality as gender equality in language can not exist in a society lacking gender equality.

    .,,
    Yes, it can. See Brioche's point about Malay, above.

    There is no relation between gender equality and grammatical gender.
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    The whole "gender-neutral language" business started in the English-speaking countries, and most people who support it are unaware of several important facts about language in general that I'll outline below. (Please notice that I'm saying most, not all, so please don't take offense if you're among the exceptions -- and I expect that a disproportional number of such exceptional people will be found on a language-centered forum like this. I will be happy to hear reasonable counter-arguments to this post.)

    First, English is a language in which only faint vestiges of grammatical gender exist today. Words that carry any sort of grammatical gender are an exceptional minority, and they can be changed or eliminated without any drastic changes to the language. However, in many other languages, the situation is very different, and achieving "gender-neutrality" would be possible only by introducing drastic changes in the grammar and mutilating the language altogether. For example, in Croatian it's impossible to speak in the past tense without implying the gender of the subject (to be precise, you could use some archaic verb forms, but that would sound ridiculous). Furthermore, gender-neutral words like, say, "employee" are nonexistent -- you can only say "masculine employee" or "feminine employee." The same holds for "worker," "colleague," "assistant," "student," and whatever else you can think of. For all that I know, other Slavic languages are similar in this regard, and most Romance and Germanic languages are only somewhat less problematic. So one can either accept the de facto standard of using the masculine form as universal or insist on impossibly radical changes to the language.

    Second, grammatical gender and biological sex are two different things, which are correlated in many languages, but by no means identical even in Indo-European ones. The most famous examples are probably the German words for "woman" and "girl" ("Weib" and "Mädchen"), which have neuter, rather than feminine gender, but there are also many other examples from different languages where the grammatical gender of a noun doesn't correspond to the biological sex of the entity it denotes. So if it the grammatical gender can be independent from the biological sex in these cases, why not accept a similar discrepancy when a masculine noun refers to a mixed company?

    And finally, I don't find much credibility in the idea that a "masculine" language somehow reflects the male domination in society, while a "gender-neutral" language reflects the equality of sexes. Historically, the circumstances in which various languages have gained or lost the grammatical gender show no correlation whatsoever with the social status of women. A good example is Persian, which lost its grammatical gender entirely while spoken in a society that makes the Western "patriarchies" look rather favorable from the feminist perspective (additionally, from what I've read, Persian doesn't even have separate titles for married and unmarried women -- it developed its version of "Ms." quite spontaneously). Even in English, the grammatical gender had already been vanishing long before anyone advocated the equality of sexes in England -- feminists today are battling its last tiny remnants.

    Of course, I will respect the writing guidelines of institutions for which I work, and I will follow the expected norms of behavior when communicating with people who might be offended by such matters. But for the reasons above, I'm definitely less than enthusiastic about the whole idea of "gender-neutral language."
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    I don't mean to sidetrack the social side of this conversation at all. I have a question about language. When, as a native English speaker, I attempted to learn Spanish and other Romance languages, I was taught that, in addition to masculine and feminine forms, there was a neuter gender form, which looked like the masculine, but included both genders. Is that a mistaken way to describe it, used only by foreigners?
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Spanish has a neuter of sorts (I'm quoting Wikipedia :eek:). It manifests itself in the article lo -- as opposed to masculine el, and to feminine la/el --, but in little else. This could be what you're thinking of.

    If a man who has a son and a daughter says tengo dos hijos, I would tend to say he is using the masculine plural, not a neuter.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    I don't mean to sidetrack the social side of this conversation at all. I have a question about language. When, as a native English speaker, I attempted to learn Spanish and other Romance languages, I was taught that, in addition to masculine and feminine forms, there was a neuter gender form, which looked like the masculine, but included both genders. Is that a mistaken way to describe it, used only by foreigners?
    In German, the name of an animal, for instance, can be masculine, feminine or neuter, and it is strictly grammatical.

    Das Pferd, the horse.

    It's just an extension of what happens in Spanish, I think, but there is always a third possibility.

    In many cases there are words that corrspond to such English words as "mare" and "stallion", and then these forms take on the appropriate articles and endings.

    I don't know if that answers your question or not. :)

    Gaer
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    If a man who has a son and a daughter says tengo dos hijos, I would tend to say he is using the masculine plural, not a neuter.
    That's a good example of what I am uncertain about. Tengo dos hijos could clearly be the masculine plural, in reference to two male children. It could behave as a neuter form if the reference is to a boy and a girl. Likewise, if the parent speaks of the children as ellos, this looks like a masculine pronoun. Is it masculine or neuter according to usage?
     

    Dr. Quizá

    Senior Member
    Spain - Western Andalusian Spanish.
    That's absurd. Women are not adressed by masculine plurals. They are adressed by the femenine plural or by the NEUTRAL plural, that also agrees masculine plural. I can even say then these languages are "femalist" because they lack pure masculine plural :rolleyes: but I don't play these silly games. The end "-os" means nothing respect that. Do you call men "machistos"? Are there only machistas women? :rolleyes:

    Is German "femalist" just because the femenine singular article "die" (la/a) is exactly the same as the plural for the three genres?

    Thank god RAE could properly handle in Spain this "issue".


    GRAMMAR<>BIOLOGY
    GÉNERO<>SEXO




    There is no relation between gender equality and grammatical gender.
    Of course there isn't :thumbsup:


    I don't mean to sidetrack the social side of this conversation at all. I have a question about language. When, as a native English speaker, I attempted to learn Spanish and other Romance languages, I was taught that, in addition to masculine and feminine forms, there was a neuter gender form, which looked like the masculine, but included both genders. Is that a mistaken way to describe it, used only by foreigners?
    No, it isn't. Just see the neutral article "lo" (and BTW its obvious resemblance to "los").
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    That's a good example of what I am uncertain about. Tengo dos hijos could clearly be the masculine plural, in reference to two male children. It could behave as a neuter form if the reference is to a boy and a girl. Likewise, if the parent speaks of the children as ellos, this looks like a masculine pronoun. Is it masculine or neuter according to usage?
    For an English speaker, grammatical gender seems to be a difficult concept to grasp. You have to free yourself of one temptation, which is to semanticize gender (is this a word?) In a language like Spanish, grammatical gender is not fundamentally (or at least not exclusively) semantic.

    It's about morphology. If a word "looks" masculine, then it typically is masculine, whatever its meaning.

    In reply to your question, I would say that hijos is always grammatically masculine, regardless of whether it refers to two males, or two a male and a female person.

    The same goes for ellos. As far as morphology is concerned it's always masculine. Semantics is another story.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Thank you Outsider. Your point is clear. Grammatical mechanics do not imply meaning.

    Now I can relax, free of the fear that the necktie in the closet (la corbata) might have any sexual attributes.

    The writer of the first post suggested "Olá a todos e a todas", which struck me as redundant, as todos, semantically, refers to
    both sexes, regardless of the grammatic gender of todos. A difficulty English speakers may have in following this conversation is that the words 'male' and 'masculine' in English do have sexual implications, and generally have no grammatical gender meanings apart from these unless one is describing some other language.

    It is all too easy for the English speaker to confuse grammatical gender with something biological. Nouns and adjectives have no biology. To compound the confusion, English has fairly recently adopted the widespread use of "gender" for "sex", in deference to social puritanism.
     

    Athaulf

    Senior Member
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    That's a good example of what I am uncertain about. Tengo dos hijos could clearly be the masculine plural, in reference to two male children. It could behave as a neuter form if the reference is to a boy and a girl. Likewise, if the parent speaks of the children as ellos, this looks like a masculine pronoun. Is it masculine or neuter according to usage?
    Grammatically, ellos and hijos are unambiguously masculine plural, but they are used to refer to a mixed group. As far as I know, there is no other way to talk about a mixed company in Spanish, since ellas and hijas refer to a strictly female-only group.

    Also, I might be misreading your post, but you seem to be slightly confused about the use of neuter gender in languages that have it. Neuter forms generally aren't used to be gender-inclusive in languages that have them; they exist as wholly separate entities. The vestiges of neuter in Spanish like lo and esto have their specific usages, but none of them has the purpose of gender-neutrality. It is true that sometimes a language will have a neuter noun whose specific purpose is to be gender-neutral (e.g. in Croatian you'd use the neuter djeca when you want to refer to someone's sons as well as daughters), but these are special cases rather than a general rule.

    In languages with elaborate gender-based grammar rules, a noun that is semantically sex-neutral may be of any gender. In many languages, such nouns are mostly masculine, but one can easily find numerous counterexamples, e.g. in Croatian osoba (person) or budala (fool) are feminine, applicable to a person of either sex, and without any masculine counterparts. The same goes for die Person in German and so on.

    Much confusion stems from equating biological sex and grammatical gender. They are often strongly correlated, but by no means identical notions.
     

    Outsider

    Senior Member
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    The writer of the first post suggested "Olá a todos e a todas", which struck me as redundant, as todos, semantically, refers to
    both sexes, regardless of the grammatic gender of todos.
    I agree with you.

    However, some people ask "Why should the masculine form be the one that is semantically polyvalent?" They see this as a sign of sexism. And perhaps they are right. Maybe the fact that the masculine rather than the feminine form is the default, has its roots in the patriarchalism of other times. Where I part ways with Lusitania and others with the same idea is in that I don't think such linguistic fossils from bygone times are a serious problem that should be fought. I don't approve of throwing convicted criminals to the beasts, but I don't see that as a reason to tear down the Colosseum.

    A difficulty English speakers may have in following this conversation is that the words 'male' and 'masculine' in English do have sexual implications, and generally have no grammatical gender meanings apart from these unless one is describing some other language.
    I have noticed some confusion, at times. When we say "masculine" and "feminine" in a grammatical context, of course we don't mean "butch" or "ladylike". (At least, I don't.) :D

    To compound the confusion, English has fairly recently adopted the widespread use of "gender" for "sex", in deference to social puritanism.
    That has been happening in other languages, too.
     
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