Word order

Although word order is often shadowed by other important factors (such as those discussed above), it can act as a power catalyst for generating and maintaining androcentricity. Namely, and as discussed by recent studies, when mentioning two persons in a sentence, the order in which they are mentioned has some semantic, hierarchical meaning: The first person mentioned is considered to be central and more important. One could even argue that first-mentioned elements are likely to receive more attention, simply because they are read first. As such, in androcentric cultures, men are commonly and predominantly mentioned first[1] in pairs (e.g., men and women, husband and wife), giving them a more central position.

 

Ideally, word order should be randomly assigned, distributing centrality equally to women and men. However, given the extremely high propensity to mention men first, we suggest that – for the time being – women be mentioned first. Of course, this is only to be applied in cases where it is impossible to remove explicit mention of gender – which, as suggested earlier in this guide, should always be aimed for.  

 

[1] Except for “ladies and gentlemen”. 

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