This paper discusses three studies on changing people's attitudes toward sexist/nonsexist language. In Study 1, sport management students (N= 164) were asked how to persuade others to use nonsexist language. Many suggested education. Study 2 participants (N = 201) were asked if they had ever discussed sexist language in instructional settings. Analysis of their attitudes revealed an interaction between gender and instruction. Study 3 (N = 248) tested the effects of 3 types of instruction on student attitudes about sexist/nonsexist language. After a 50-minute intervention, Study 3 participants were generally undecided about sexist/nonsexist language, and their attitudes did not differ across instructional strategies (p > .01). In all conditions, males were significantly less receptive to nonsexist language than females (p < .01). This “gender gap” was magnified by a combination of direct and indirect instruction. Until more is known, the authors propose (a) modeling and (b) instruction grounded in empathy as initial strategies for teaching inclusive language.
The authors are with the School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH.