A recent CBS/New York Times poll reveals how words matter. They asked 500 respondents how they felt about permitting “homosexuals” to serve in the military; then they asked a different 500 how they felt about “gays/lesbians” serving in the military.  It turns out, people like gays and lesbians more than they like homosexuals:

Also in words: frankenfoods, atomic, soda vs. pop, tradition, hispanic, feminism, woman, averagenurse, George Lakoff on metaphor, professional, Jon Steward on re-branding, development, organic, the third world, man vs. girl, natural, honorifics, Africa, dithering, terrorism, the rape and other violent metaphors, and flesh-colored.

And also see our post on the war against “gay.”  (Poll discovered via Montclair SocioBlog.)

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions, with Myra Marx Ferree. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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