Honors Theses


Teresa L. Thompson



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Honors Thesis


The English language has been defined and dominated by the male voice throughout all of history. Consequently, language has played a strong role in upholding the existing patriarchal structure of society. The extent to which this affects women is still widely unaddressed in past and current research; and much of this research fails to directly address how sexist language affects women in learning environments. For my thesis, I have conducted and assessed in-depth, face-to-face interviews with 10 high school seniors and 10 college seniors. With a significant focus on female shame, silence, and self-perception, this study reveals that the language used by both educators and peers in the classroom space has a strong influence on a female’s comfort level in the classroom—especially in regard to participation. This research supports existing literature that the classroom space and the language used within it remains patriarchal, and continues to function in a way that silences, and shames, women in various speaking situations.

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Undergraduate research