I recently listened to a podcast on the BBC’s “From our Own Correspondent” programme (you can read the corresponding article here : BBC News – Meghalaya, India: Where women rule, and men are suffragettes or listen here) about a small north-eastern Indian state which operates under a matrilineal system. Here men are the downtrodden gender and a men’s rights movement has been created. Interestingly the comment was made that the local Khasi language reflects this cultural, gender-based assumption:
“A tree is masculine, but when it is turned into wood, it becomes feminine,” says the president of the movement. “The same is true of many of the nouns in our language. When something becomes useful, its gender becomes female”.