American Feminism has influenced, to a great extent, both American language and literature and this influence, which originated in the 1950s, has favoured a series of debatable and controversial studies on the topic. The influence of American Feminism on the American language is illustrated by the fact that there are now words well established in American English, which were not in use in the 1970s. Moreover, “sexist” language has gradually been excluded from the politically correct lexicon and has been replaced by sexually neutral terms.
In their effort to de-sex the English language, Casey Miller and Kate Swift (1972, 1980) suggested the use of sexually-neutral pronouns (tey, ter, tem) and a series of relevant changes which greatly influenced the way American English is spoken/ used nowadays. The movement toward androgyny in literature, which started at around the same time (1973), is marked by the prominent personality of Carolyn Heilbrun, an important author-scholar who argued for the basic unity of male and female on multiple dimensions and who attempted to demonstrate that this unity may be well represented in literary texts by carefully handling the language used and the images described.