Man Made Language (1980)

1946-1989, Date, Defining the Enemy, Patriarchy, Subjectives of Refusal, Women

Written in 1980, this introduction to Dale Spender’s Man Made Language explores the patriarchy and its presence in language. Spender discusses how language has been a means for constructing and sustaining the patriarchal order and how one can disrupt that order.

Some of us, however, have decided to stop. We no longer wish to give substance to patriarchal order and its integral component, the superiority of the male. We have started to formulate different rules for classifying the world, rules that are not based on the assumption that the proper human being is a male one and that female is a negative category. We have begun to codify the meaning that woman is an autonomous category and we are beginning to make this version of the world come true.