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why language matters

It's interesting that we have to explain why certain language is sexist.  Am I 
right in assuming that it's the non-native English speakers who aren't 
getting it? I know that English grammar books teach that the male pronouns 
are generic, and include women. Well, the books may say so, but in the real 
world male pronouns = male. Period. Most of the English-speaking world 
understands this, at least in the US, and attempts to use inclusive language.

Language is powerful- it shapes thoughts and perceptions. It really does 
matter, and I think it's within the scope of Debian-Women to take on a task 
like this. It's pretty simple- one of the biggest perceptions we're trying to 
overcome is that Debian is a big ole boy's club, that doesn't want any stinky 
old girls. When documents like the one Helen cited only talk to men, it 
reinforces the boy's club perception.

Carla Schroder
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