continue to perpetuate the themes discussed in this chapter, occasionally an individual creates a work that combats those themes. For example, Thelma and Louiseportrays the pain of sexual coercion while refusing to perpetuate the themes that obscure male perpetrators' responsibility for their sexual violence and sexual harassment. Books written by feminists, such as Dale Spender ( 1990) Man Made Language and Julia Penelope ( 1990) Speaking Freely: Unlearning the Lies of the Father Tongues,critique language usage and suggest changes. Such efforts can also be seen in the mass media. Los Angeles Timeseditor Shelby Coffey III recently issued new guidelines suggesting alternatives to language that may be offensive to different ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual minorities ( Kathy Gosnell, Los Angeles Times,personal communication, December 16, 1993; Kurtz, 1993). The guidelines recommend against using sexist terms such as "mailman" and heterosexist terms such as "admitted homosexual." Some staff members (see Kurtz, 1993) as well as commentators (e.g., Schorr, 1993) have criticized this policy as "boneheaded" or trivial. But language is power, and working to use language in ways that promote sexual autonomy and discourage sexual coercion is an important step toward creating a society in which sexual choice is respected and sexual activity is freely chosen.
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Publication information: Book title: Gender, Power, and Communication in Human Relationships. Contributors: Pamela J. Kalbfleisch - Editor, Michael J. Cody - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 160.
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