gender changes perspectives

in the german language, as in some other, a differentiation is made between the male and the female version of words. more than ‘he/him’ and ‘she/her’ the new gender (r?)evolution introduced a female and male version for every noun referring to sexes.

those sensitizations to words and their transporting of meaning go both ways: we have ‘arzt’ – the male doctor and now the ‘ärztin’ – female doctor, but we also alter the classical female word ‘krankenschwester’ – nurse to ‘krankenpfleger’ – male nurse.

the main issue in this context that is being discussed again and again is the critical question whether this additional effort in writing and reading, especially when addressing both sexes, is actually helping the gender-gap situation. some, however, argue that even if it does not directly influence the situation on hand, it still changes the perspective and can rase awareness.

just a few days ago i found myself in a similar discussion with a friend who studies history. he then told me that gendering his scientific papers revealed an non-thought-of perspective to him in a way he had never thought possible. especially once, when he wrote a paper about the nazi regime and for the first time he gendered the word national-socialist (‘nationalsozialist’ to ‘nationalsozialistin’). even i, just hearing the story, suddenly felt a very different perspective on history, taking the female role into consideration.

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