Language, gender and ‘reality’: Violence against women
Legal thinking and communication strongly reflect masculine language styles, morals and values because our current legal system has evolved from an institution run entirely by males (Easteal, 2010).
Its history has meant that it has ultimately suffered the same fate as our gender and identity roles, in that what was once a performance is now viewed only as natural. Simone de Beauvoir summed it up nicely when she stated, ‘men have created the legal world in their own image, confusing it with the absolute truth’ (de Beaviour, as cited in Davies, 1994, p. 168).
It is our argument that the male values which our criminal justice system is based upon are consistently reinforced by the gendered language systems used within our criminal justice system.
The ‘voice’ of the law is male, with its emphasis upon abstract rules, instead of the female whisper of connectedness.
Patricia Easteal, Lorana Bartels, Sally Bradford - School of Law, University of Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia