An 18th century English novelist and dramatist wrote, AThe pen is mightier than the sword. However, 20th century school children defend themselves from verbal assaults by taunting, ASticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me, AAt one end, language seems to be very powerful, while at the other, language seems ineffective. Children may be taught to defend themselves with an adage, but in reality language is powerful and shapes the way we perceive our lives, culture, and world. In fact, the power of language is most evident in the way it reflects our values about people who lack influence in our society.
The usage of some words that describe women lack influence and uniqueness. Expressions and terms used toward this individual by society and/or men in general, make the average women lack intellect and integrity through these words. Phrases such as Asugar and spice,@ Aa cute tomato,@ and Asweetie pie@ are all generally stated to a female to describe her. Alleen Pace Nilsen=s article Sexism in Language states, AThis kind of thinking is the comparison of females to food since food is something we all enjoy, even though it is extremely passive@ (236). People that use these terms toward females do not have the impression of importance or prestige in one=s society. These words are used as compliments but there is no value or honor through these words and it=s meaning. Nilsen states in his essay, AOther pleasurable items that we compare females to are toys. Young girls are called little dolls or china dolls, while older girls, if attractive are simply called dolls@ (236). All of these idiomatic expressions and words are supposedly used positively, but are used with a negative view on how women are labeled and stereotyped in society.
Another stereotype or standardized label society uses against individuals are through ethnicity. Some Caucasians are labeled as Aupperclassmen@