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Is the French Language Sexist?

Foreign Policy

When it comes to gender in the French language, “the masculine always outweighs the feminine.” For example, if four female basketball players (joueuses) were joined by a male player, the group would become five joueurs. Does this mean the French language contributes to gender inequality? It does according to 314 French intellectuals, who signed a manifesto questioning this grammatical gender agreement. One solution put forward is to replace this rule with gender-neutral written language (meaning our group of five would be written as five joueur.se.s). However, the Académie Française sees it as a “mortal danger” and an “aberration.”

At a time when the Weinstein scandal continues to send shockwaves through France and the United States, and an increasing number of public figures are being accused of sexual harassment, the question of grammar and gender has sparked a violent dispute among French intellectuals.

Read more at Foreign Policy.

  • Et qu’en est-il des mots d’êtres sexués qui n’ont pas de masculin, comme souris, girafe, alouette, mésange, fourmi. Est-ce que ça veut dire que le français est féministe ? Cette querelle est futile. Donnons déjà l’égalité de salaire et d’accès à toutes les professions aux femmes, c’est bien plus important !

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