SAGE Journal Articles

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Greene, K., & Rubin, R. L. (1991). Effects of gender inclusive/exclusive language in religious discourse. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 10(2), 81 – 98.

Abstract: Religious speech (i.e. preaching) is a prominent language event, yet it has received scant attention in research on language and attitudes. In recent years, many religious institutions have adopted reforms mandating gender-inclusive (non-sexist) language. Only a few studies have examined the effects of gender-inclusive or gender-exclusive language use on listeners' judgments of speakers, and none of these examine religious discourse in particular. In addition, few studies have examined how variables like gender-role typing or attitude toward equal rights for women and men might mediate between gender-linked language and judgments of speakers. In the present study, a male and a female audiotaped each of two sermon texts in both gender-inclusive and gender-exclusive language guises. Findings indicate that ministers who adopt gender-inclusive language suffer no negative evaluations. Three mediating variables proved to be especially potent in predicting listeners' responses to the stimulus sermons: attitude toward sexist language, expressive gender-role typing, and perceptions of women's rights. Implications for language reform policies and for further research on gender-inclusive language are discussed.

Stout, J. G., Nilanjana, D. (2011). When he doesn’t mean you: Gender-exclusive language as ostracism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(6), 757 – 769.

Abstract: Three studies assessed whether a common cultural practice, namely, the use of gender-exclusive language (e.g., using he to indicate he or she), is experienced as ostracism at the group level by women. Women responded to the use of gender-exclusive language (he) during a mock job interview with a lower sense of belonging, less motivation, and less expected identification with the job compared to others exposed to gender-inclusive (he or she) or gender-neutral ( one) language (Studies 1 and 2). Moreover, the more emotionally disengaged women became over the course of a job interview upon hearing gender-exclusive language, the less motivation and job identification they subsequently reported (Study 3). Together, these studies show that subtle linguistic cues that may seem trivial at face value can signal group-based ostracism and lead members of the ostracized group to self-select out of important professional environments.