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”The idea that language is gendered has a long history, dating, most prominently, to linguist Robin Lakoff’s work in the 1970s, which asserted that gender-based differences between men’s and women’s speech resulted in power differentials.
“The ultimate effect of these discrepancies is that women are systematically denied access to power, on the grounds that they are not capable of holding it as demonstrated by their linguistic behavior,” Lakoff wrote.
Did I want always to conduct myself at work in a coolly professional way, or was I comfortable injecting some occasional levity—some affection—into my 9-to-5 transactions?
It’s not that politics is all business and fashion is all fluff—not at all.
A midnight stopping point was considered a triumph; more often I found myself staring down the single digits of the clock as the production manager and I huddled over the final proofs.
I once walked three miles back to my apartment, unable to find a cab, at dawn.
In reality, I was more like a bossy older sister who required emails with very specific subject lines. There was no slack.) When one of my ostensible subordinates, in the middle of one of those dazed late-night sessions, closed her email with an , she immediately followed it with another message to apologize . “That is totally not something you write in a work email.”I’ve been thinking back to this moment recently when I realized I was regularly deploying Gossip Girl’s preferred sign-off in my professional correspondence as a senior editor at , and that such liberal sprinklings of affection never would have entered my digital lexicon when I worked at the male-dominated political publication.
There’s an ongoing quest, he reminded me, “to degender language usage completely”—hence .“It isn’t that men are necessarily more cold or businesslike, but that they are apt to be more comfortable representing themselves that way rather than seemingly giving someone who might be a mere acquaintance a glimpse into their true selves.