Macey Karr highlights the problematic aspects of the group charged with maintaining the pureness of the French language. L’académie Française was established in 1635 and preserves the French language from slang, new words, and the adoption of words from other languages into the French language.
Macey makes the statement that when language is created and maintained by men then it becomes hard for a woman to be involved; this creates an environment that inadvertently maintains the patriarchy. The academy is currently 85% male with only one non-white member. Right off the bat, it is not very diverse for a group that has been around for 379 years. In these years there have been 25 female candidates for the academy and only eight have been elected. The first candidate appeared in 1874 and her name is unknown. The first female elected member of L’académie Française was Marguerite Yourcenar in 1980. The academy perpetuates aspects of French culture that are often seen as sexist. One example is the use of gender specific articles and when they pertain to words that imply higher education. In the case of the word <<Le Professeur>>, a male gender article is used regardless of the gender of the professor specifically. L’académie Française refuses the adoption of the female article when referring to a female professor and have offered the option of <<Madame le Professeur>>, but many still believe that because this translates to miss professor that there is still a negative connotation. Macey also mentions a quote from Benjamin Wasserman pertaining to how children who grow up with language that has more gendered vocabulary tend to have more sexist attitudes.
Although L’académie Française defends and upholds the patriarchy, there are some positive aspects for the future of the establishment. Because there is a growing number of women in the academy, there is hope for more equal representation within the group. So far, only female candidates have replaced previous female chairs. If this trend continues then the number of females is going to obviously increase. Another positive function of the academy is the preservation of the original French language, which is priceless.