I have a question concerning the gender of words that exist in many languages, except in English.
What does the presence of grammatical gender in a language say about the mentality of its speakers? A different question is whether the features of a language reflect the characteristics of the societies where it's spoken in a largely unconscious and involuntary way.
(Modern) Persian, spoken in Iran and Afghanistan, doesn't have the feature of grammatical gender (anymore), just as English.
Many say that the languages that do have grammatical genders are sexist, and that they help to perpetuate the conviction that sex is a tremendously important matter in all areas.
For Marilyn Frye, this is a key factor in perpetuating male dominance: male dominance requires the belief that men and women are importantly different from each other, so anything that contributes to the impression that sex differences are important is therefore a contributor to male dominance.
Societies whose languages do not have grammatical genders are no less sexist than the others that do have grammatical genders.
Have many languages marginalized women more than the English language? Why can't we gender-neutralize words? Does sexist language matter?
Read another response by Allen Stairs, Louise Antony