Language and Societies

ANT/LIN 5320 at Wayne State University

Social Invisibility and Dehumanization of Asexuals and Aromantics through Language Policing

Social Invisibility and Dehumanization of Asexuals and Aromantics through Language Policing

Adelaide Gillham

In what ways do people control language in order to oppress individuals who use the “asexual” and “aromantic” labels? This work aims to answer that question through analysis of data collected from both internet communities and scholarly discourse on the subject of asexual and aromantic identity and terminology, as well as broader discussions in linguistics about the use of prescriptivism as a tool of oppression. These data suggest that language policing plays a significant role in the dehumanization and erasure of asexuality and aromanticism in society, using redefinition, pathologization, gatekeeping, and other similar tactics.

April 11, 2016 - Posted by | abstract


  1. Interesting topic. I think policing language definitively plays a role in oppression. For example, people who prefer to be called by a certain pronoun especially people who prefer the pronoun “they”.

    Comment by A. Golembiewski | April 27, 2016 | Reply

  2. This seems like an interesting subject to study. I would be curious to see what are some of the ways in which language is used as a form of segregation of these individuals? Also, what specific words do these people typically use?

    Comment by Mallory Moore | May 4, 2016 | Reply

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