The overarching implications of discursive constructivism are realized in every aspect of reality in which language is involved, since language manifests our conceptual framework. Because something is the way it is because we bestow our perceptions onto it via language, examining the philosophy of language proves itself especially important in feminist discourse. Some feminists have advanced the notion of formulating a new reality more congenial to women by which women will liberate themselves from oppressive patriarchal discourses and thrive with their newfound expressive capabilities.
The inherent maleness of language, in light of discursive constructivism, traps women in a hierarchy of patriarchal social relations in which they are delegated to the lower rungs. Language often represents maleness as the norm, obscures the existence and importance of women, and imbeds a male-centric worldview, creating a picture of the world more suited to men than women. The English language, among many others, engages in what Frye calls the absurd practice of sex-marking, in which language assigns a critical importance to gender in situations in which it is, in reality, irrelevant, thereby perpetuating the narrative that men and women are somehow irrevocably and fundamentally dissimilar.
The patriarchal nature of language cannot be denied as a general force, yet feminists are not entirely correct to say that the entirety of a language enforces a discriminatory narrative. Although a plethora of specific terms and usages which stifle women's equality exist, certain neutral words are undeniably present which have escaped the male bias which afflicts so much of our semantic reality. It is important to note that the patriarchal structure of society does not grant men complete control over language, despite their immense influence in the creation of dictionaries, grammatical rules and usage guides.
The function of the second paragraph is to
(A) explain an assertion presented in the first paragraph
(B) present an argument which the third paragraph reinforces
(C) introduce the author's interpretation of a concept developed in the first paragraph
(D) provide support for the approach of discursive constructivism presented in the first paragraph
(E) introduce a point of view in a debate begun in the first paragraph and resolved in the third paragraph
If the author's opinion about the patriarchal nature of language is correct, what may be inferred about our perceptions of gender?
A: The first paragraph asserts that examining the philosophy of language proves itself especially important in feminist discourse. The second paragraph, which explains that language is inherently male and therefore is harmful to women, shows why language plays such an important role for feminists.
(A) Women have been successful in changing our perceptions of gender in certain instances, although overall, we still perceive men as superior to women.
(B) Although we do not always hold patriarchal assumptions, gender is the underlying force in our conception of reality.
(C) We do not think that gender is important in every instance, although in those instances in which it is important, we see men as superior to women.
(D) Even though, overall, we perceive women as inferior to men, there are certain instances in which the reverse is true.
(E) Although men perceive women as inferior most of the time, there are certain instances in which they recognize women's equality.
In light of discursive constructivism, it may be inferred that
C: For this Inference question, we must first identify the author's opinion about the patriarchal nature of language. The first sentence of the third paragraph tells us that the author thinks that overall, language is patriarchal (and therefore discriminatory), yet in certain instances it is not.Remember that language is, to the author, that which reveals how we think about reality.
(A) the thinking of women is as male-centric as the thinking of men
(B) the use of specific linguistic forms shapes the worldviews of both men and women
(C) men seek control of language in an effort to relegate women to an inferior social position
(D) the function of language is to describe an objective reality, a task that has been obscured by our male-centric worldview
(E) feminist theorists are the only scholars interested in the philosophy of language because others cannot see the male-centric structure of language
Which of the following best summarizes the contents of the passage?
A: If language is inherently male, and language is a reflection of what we think and since women use language in the same way as men, it necessarily follows that women's thinking is male-centric.
(A) Since many linguistic constructs display no gender bias, the feminist argument that language creates the male-centric structure of our society that traps women in the lower rungs of a patriarchal hierarchy has no merit.
(B) Feminists consider language, which, they argue, has a male bias and therefore devalues women, to be of great importance because of language's effect on how we perceive reality, even though this critique, although correct in principle, is unfounded in some cases.
(C) The feminist argument that language reflects the patriarchal order of society and therefore relegates women to a lower status has many merits but it is not entirely correct.
(D) Discursive constructivism, the concept that language is an active agent in the creation of what we perceive as reality, is of great concern to feminists, but their concerns, while founded, are exaggerated.
(E) Language imposes a patriarchal discourse biased against women and constitutes a grave concern to feminists, who, although aware of language as a force which shapes reality, believe it is only male-centric in certain aspects.
B: This answer choice makes the distinction between the feminists' point of view advanced in the first and second paragraphs (that language, which has a male bias, is important because it creates reality) and the author's opinion expressed in the third paragraph (that there are instances in which language has no male bias).