"Gender-neutral language"...
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

Thread: "Gender-neutral language"...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    "Gender-neutral language"...

    From Simon & Schuster - Handbook for Writers, seventh edition, by Troyka and Hesse, one of the course manuals used in many English classes at college/university:

    Gender-neutral language, also referred to as gender-free or nonsexist language, relies on terms that don't communicate whether the person is male or female (for example, in replacing policeman with police officer or doctors' wives with doctors' spouses).
    Sexist language assigns roles or characteristics to people based on their sex and gender. Most women and men today feel that sexist language unfairly discriminates against both sexes.
    Ok, I can live with that... police officer, not policeman... fine...

    But this is where they are crossing some lines (probably all for the sake of political correctness):

    NO: Man is a social animal.
    YES: People are social animals.

    NO: The history of mankind is predominately violent.
    YES: Human history is predominately violent.

    NO: Dogs are men's best friends.
    YES: Dogs are people's best friends.

    NO: the common man
    YES: the average person

    NO: man-sized sandwich
    YES: huge sandwich

    NO: old wives' tale
    YES: superstition

    NO: male nurse
    YES: nurse

    NO: gal Friday
    YES: assistant

    NO: coed
    YES: student

    NO: My girl can help.
    YES: My secretary can help. <--- LOL
    That's all pretty innocent, but the problems (imo) start when you consistently start replacing "sexist" words with the gender-neutral versions.

    Examples from the book:

    Many of man's most important inventions are found not in scientific laboratories but in the home.
    Among these inventions are the many home appliances that were designed in the early 1900s to simplify women's housework.
    Before such appliances became available, a family was fortunate if the husband could afford to hire a cleaning lady or a maid to help with the housework.
    None of the inventors of modern home appliances could have guessed what far-reaching effects his inventions would have on our society.
    OK, now for the "clean" version:

    Many of humanity's most important inventions are found not in scientific laboratories but in the home.
    Among these inventions are the many home appliances that were designed in the early 1900s to simplify homemakers' housework.
    Before such appliances became available, a family was fortunate if it could afford to hire a cleaning person or a housekeeper/household helper to help with the housework.
    None of the inventors of modern home appliances could have guessed what far-reaching effects their inventions would have on our society.
    Now that's just downright ridiculous - not to mention that it is nothing less than rewriting history: the context is the early 20th century.... newsflash: how many male homemakers were there in the early 20th century? Replacing housewife with homemaker omits an important aspect, as does the replacement of his inventions with their inventions: all appliances happened to have been invented by males.......

    Maybe I should pull a Bethany Hauf on my teacher, and submit the "unclean" version, then sue her (she's indeed female, so I can use "her" here, right? Or is that sexist?) for my lower grade

  2. #2
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    I can see a newspaper imposing rules of style on their reporters,
    after all the company pays their salaries, but I think it is out
    of line for a school to dictate style, so long as the grammar is

    If I want to convey that I believe that it is usual for a woman
    to do housework, I will unambiguously write it that way.
    If my wife makes me do all the housework, oh well,
    that's our own business.

    No one is cured of prejudice by being forced to relearn
    language every few years, every time a new political faction
    gains control of the university.

    What do you do with a language like French, where ordinary
    inanimate objects have gender? Send American language police
    over to teach them sensitivity?
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

  3. #3
    T̙͓̞̣̯ͦͭͅͅȂͧͭͧ̏̈͏̖̖Z̿ ͆̎̄
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Hi Negative,

    It's all ridiculous...janitor=maintenance worker=building superintendant; stewardess=hostess=flight attendant; man/woman=person; " a rose by any other name..."

    everyone wants to change the world...problem is they'd rather nit-pick at incidentals rather than provide food, clothing, and the basic necessities of life.

    Gee...Charity-Co-ordinator doesn't seem important enough...maybe I'll protest and change it to: Universal Director of External Affairs for Co-Ordinating Activities that Benefit Mankind...OPPS! Humankind...Sheeeeesh!

    Now...that sounds better!


  4. #4
    AO Soccer Mom debwalin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    So so so stupid. Like some guy who goes out and gets drunk every Friday night and then comes home and beats his wife is going to suddenly stop doing it because it's not "man"kind anymore?

    It's a waste of time, energy, and political power. Who cares if it's women or womyn. It doesn't change what I am, or what I do with my life. It also doesn't change the way people treat me. There are so many other things we could address than word-play and make a real difference in the world.
    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.

  5. #5
    Leftie Linux Lover the_JinX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Beverwijk Netherlands
    Egaladeist: hostess, what are you thinking, person !!

    /me gets back to reading..

    add: Negative must know that in dutch all job aplications are for developer (m/f), host (m/f), houskeeper (m/f)
    (m/v) in dutch
    ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI.
    When in Russia, pet a PETSCII.

    Get your ass over to SLAYRadio the best station for C64 Remixes !

  6. #6
    Frustrated Mad Scientist
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Breaking news:

    Men and Women are not the same.

    One day it might sink in. All this PC crap is just giving underemployed politicians something to do.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    Hi Negative,

    If a frigging American p1$$es with the English Language just one more time, they will be glad to sprinkle anthrax on their cherios, so help me G od

    Adam was a man, Eve was a woman, both were members of a species known as Man or "homo sapiens"

    It is as difficult as that
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  8. #8
    ********** |ceWriterguy
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    and once again that hideous beast 'political correctness' rears its ugly head.

    [rant]I'm sorry, I'm vocabulary challenged. Mankind will always be mankind, and means everybody. A female can be a policeman, policewoman, or whatever she wishes - I'll still call her a cop. I have never once had a 'girl friday,' nor have I ever heard a female addressed in such manner. If I ever do, I'll probably get the esteemed pleasure of watching her belt him squarely in his mouth, which is as it should be - however 'secretary' and 'personal assistant' are quite acceptable even under the (moronic) new sexually correct linguistics. Sorry folks, my wife will always be my wife, and I her husband - never my 'spouse' or my 'significant other'. Maybe I'm just too old and set in my crochety ways to accept such things as important... [/rant]
    Even a broken watch is correct twice a day.

    Which coder said that nobody could outcode Microsoft in their own OS? Write a bit and make a fortune!

  9. #9
    Senior Member RoadClosed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Newspeak v1.1 from the left.
    West of House
    You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
    There is a small mailbox here.

  10. #10
    () \/V |\| 3 |) |3\/ |\|3G47|\/3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Sensoring words...

    That puts us one step closer to fascism. It's never going to end. This country is on a one-way road to hell!

    Go Finland!
    Deviant Gallery

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts