Identify the main points of the Sherryl Kleinman's article "Why Sexist Language Matters."

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Sherryl Kleinman begins by saying that sexist language is one of the least understood areas of feminist discourse. She singles out the popular expression "you guys" as one to which most people never give a second thought. However, such expressions, while not intended offensively, reinforce the idea of "man" as the abstract and default. Kleinman refers to a thought experiment by Douglas R. Hofstadter in which he substituted racist terms for sexist ones to show that a sentence such as "All men are created equal" was really as exclusionary as "All whites are created equal."

Kleinman suggests that women accept and embrace such terms as "you guys" because they want to be included. She cites the example of a fraternity which began to accept women, in which the new female members preferred to be called "brothers" (as all members had traditionally been called) rather than "sisters." She points out that it is invariably an insult for a boy or man to be called a woman or a girl. Women should...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 26, 2019
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