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Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
ostracism, gender, language
Two experiments examined the theorized link between the use of gender-exclusive language and ostracism. In two experiments, women and men read a job overview that contained either masculine gender-exclusive language (he), gender-inclusive language (he or she), or gender-neutral language (one). They then rated their feelings of exclusion (i.e., ostracism), described their personal investment in the described job (Experiments 1 and 2) and evaluated the work environment (Experiment 2). In both experiments, women reported feeling most ostracized when they were exposed to gender-exclusive language compared to gender-inclusive language. Furthermore, women in Experiment 1 reported least personal investment in the job when exposed to gender-exclusive versus –inclusive language, but this pattern of results did not replicate in Experiment 2. As expected, men did not respond differently to language type in either experiment. The divergence in women’s responses between Experiments 1 and 2 are discussed in terms of the role that awareness of one’s ostracized status might play in women’s reactions to this form of subtle ostracism.