International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 16 Issue 1 (March 2006), Pages 1-136

Men staying at home looking after their children: feminist linguistic reform and social change (pages 16-36)

The (mis)representation and stereotyping of gendered identities remain central concerns for applied linguistics and feminist linguistic reformers despite the history, since the 1970s, of promoting gender‐fair or gender‐inclusive language reform. To date, the primary focus has been the reform of linguistic discrimination against women. Here we examine the ‘naming’ of men who have entered the ‘occupation’– primary childcare provision – traditionally exclusively reserved for women. Drawing upon on‐line survey and media data, we investigate the extent to which principles of feminist linguistic reform, equality, and inclusivity are evident in the labelling of, and media discourses about, these men. Regional variation in Englishes together with discourses of masculinity impact upon the implementation of linguistic reform. Normative meanings for masculinities and occupation construct a ‘house father and working father’ discourse context for men who are primary childcare providers.

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