ARGENTINA: DE-HIERARCHIZING LANGUAGE
Updated: Jul 7
As part of the music is her passion team, I have had the opportunity to write several articles about and interview many empowered women in the music industry in Argentina, the country where I was born and raised. Today, after introducing you to what the South American country defines as music as a culture of empowerment, I will proudly talk about a topic that has developed accelerated progress in the country's society: Inclusive language.
It is believed that language is at least 50,000 years old, but most linguists think it is considerably older - and some estimate that it could be up to half a million years old! Thus, building a new language is something unheard of today. Nevertheless, the deconstruction of these languages is within reach, because language is an endless system that evolves and changes along with society. Language defines us in many ways, not only as a nation, but also as a culture, and Argentina is demonstrating that social deconstruction through language is the key to equality.
As a result of the struggle for the search for equality and equity between men and women, as well as the recognition of their rights, in 2020, the Board of Directors of the Argentine National Institute of Associativism and Social Economy approved a resolution recommending the use of inclusive language with the maximum purpose of promoting communication that avoids sexist expressions and migrates from the masculinization of language towards a more inclusive way where all genders are interpellated. The alternatives that replace the vowels that determine gender (a/o) are the letters 'x' and 'e'.
Several state agencies in the country that began to use inclusive language in their own documentation.
Although we know that the use of a term can modify the whole perception of an idea, the challenge is being more acceptable than imagined, not only in the new generations, but also in Argentine society. The current president of the Latian-American country has expressed himself in an inclusive way on more than one opportunity. Furthermore, some state agencies of the country began to use inclusive language in their own documentation. Both prove: changing one's expressions for more inclusive terms is not a big sacrifice to make after all.
"I said 'the' instead of 'the' because I understand that 'the' does not include or name women, and what is not named, does not exist."
FEMINISM Vs PATRIARCH
Just a few days ago, precisely on May 25th, Argentina celebrated the anniversary of the Day of the Fatherland with different acts of celebration throughout the country, as is usual every year. In one of them, a controversy was sparked, precisely for "depatriarchalizing" the National Anthem. The singer Evelina Sanzo decided to modify her interpretation, and change the consonant that masculinizes the verse, for an A, an act of courage, of empowerment, a daring act, which received a lot of support but also earned headlines in many newspapers with negative criticism and even the desire for imprisonment. But why? for the simple fact that it is still difficult for a large part of society to uproot the patriarchal system and recognize that times have changed.
EARLY MUSIC EDUCATION
But there are not just artists of the new generations of Argentine music that incorporate inclusive language in their lyrics - simultaneously, children's music has also taken a stand for diversity and inclusion. Canticuentos, a children's music band from the province of Santa Fe, was the first in the children's genre to incorporate the term "todes" (referring to everyone) in their songs, inviting people to break down stereotypes.
The use of inclusive language is being discussed in many countries around the world and is much broader than changing a vowel. Perhaps some countries believe that it is too early to think about incorporating this language in schools, but that does not mean that it should be banned as it is already being done in some countries. There is only one thing that is certain at the moment of reflection on language, on discrimination, on what is named, and what is ignored, "respect deserves every human being on earth, whatever identity they have or wish to have". And without a doubt, changing one's language is a small sacrifice to make for others to feel seen and included.
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