Do you think they 'carry assumptions of gender inequality'?
Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde
It may be 2017, but we still have a long way to go when it comes to gender equality. Over the past few months, it’s something that has been exposed as an issue even at the top end of the scale with Hollywood actresses relaying their own experiences of sexism in the industry. Jessica Chastain has spoken openly about how asking for pay parity with her male co-star lost her a huge film role, Elisabeth Moss admitted that a project she passionately pitched was rejected for being ‘too female’, and Brie Larson has lifted the lid on sexism in the fashion industry.
So when Cambridge University announced that they were banning sexist language, many applauded the institution for taking a step in the right direction. However, others were left confused over whether or not the three words in question are actually offensive.
According to Lucy Delap, a lecturer of British History at the university, told The Telegraph that the words ‘flair’, ‘brilliance’ and ‘genius’ were no longer to be used as they ‘carry assumptions of gender inequality’.
‘Some of those words, in particular genius, have a very long intellectual history where it has long been associated with qualities culturally assumed to be male,’ Dr Delap explains.
‘Some women are fine with that, but others might find it hard to see themselves in those categories.’
Although it has been criticised for implying that women are ‘the weaker sex’, it’s hoped that eliminating these words will boost results for female students.
But Dr Delap is convinced it will have a positive impact. She said: ‘We’re rewriting our first two years of our History degree to create a wider set of paper choices to make assessment criteria clearer, and to really try and root out the unhelpful and very vague talk of ‘genius’, of ‘brilliance’, of ‘flair’ which carries assumptions of gender inequality and also of class and ethnicity.’
What do you think?