Analysis at the Level of the Phrase/Sentence
DOI link for Analysis at the Level of the Phrase/Sentence
Analysis at the Level of the Phrase/Sentence book
There are words which seem to be sexist for most of their usage; for example, words which demean and degrade women and which seem to portray women as a negative Other to a male norm. There are also phrases which are preconstructed and which convey sexist meanings. This is the case with proverbs which have sexist messages underlying them. Proverbs and set phrases are curious elements because they are posed as commonsense knowledge which is uncontestable. For example, in the phrase ‘A woman’s work is never done’, there is a sense in which the message seems to be that this is a natural state of affairs. When it is used, it is very difficult to counter, because it is presented in a form which is not personal: the person using the phrase does not claim responsibility for inventing it, but is simply calling upon pre-existing knowledge, which it is to be assumed is self-evidently true. Thus, if a specific woman complains of having too much work to do, this phrase can be used to suggest that the specificity of the difficulty of the
conditions of her working life is not as important as the general ‘fact’ that women always have too much work to do.