The Point

The Point: Germans and Gender


John Stonestreet

Gender verboten?

Gender equality is a big deal in Germany. But according to USA Today, German activists face a major roadblock in their attempts to minimize gender distinctions: the roadblock is the German language.

Unlike English, every German noun comes with a gender. Even occupation words such as “doctor,” “teacher,” or “student” come with a version for males, another for females.

Thus, German feminists complain that the German language is “sexist” in nature and the narrow use of female occupational nouns limits opportunities for women.

So far gender equality activists are getting nowhere. The ruling body that controls German grammar and spelling won’t even take up the issue. One professor at an American university says that Germans “don’t seem to be very conscious” of the connection between language and sexist behavior.

Or, maybe gender equality activists aren’t conscious of the connection between language and reality—the reality of gender as part of God’s design in creation, and the language we use to describe it.


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