These resources are helpful in navigating ways to use language that does not hurt the very people we are called to care for.
“8 Reasons to Stop Saying ‘Men’ When We Mean Everyone” by Karl Vaters
Microaggressions: Definition and Examples
For an example of a microaggression, note the comment by Tony Morgan at the end of Empowering Women Leaders when he asks John Ortberg if he has ever won any other argument with his wife. Although brief, this comment communicates to every woman watching that it’s okay to shame women for winning arguments. It communicates to every man watching that it’s okay to ignore the substance of the argument and simply laugh at how many times she “wins.”
For a thorough discussion, see “The Problem When Sexism Just Sounds So Darned Friendly…” by Melanie Tannenbaum
Note: Saying, “In general, women are better than men at most things” or the reverse (“Well, what do you expect, I’m just a man”) is also benevolent sexism. In this view, the expectations for success are set higher for women than for men, and men’s failures become more acceptable than women’s.