Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Gender-Specific Language

So what is gender-specific language?

 The American Heritage Book of English Usage says :
As a general rule, it is good to remember that you should only refer to a person by category when it is relevant or necessary to the discussion at hand. That is, you should ordinarily view people as individuals and not mention their racial, ethnic, or other status, unless it is important to your larger purpose in communicating.
There are simple ways to replace gender specific language with gender neutral language (many of these are becoming widely used):
  • chairman … chair
  • manned … staffed
  • fireman … firefighter
  • policeman … police officer
  • stewardess … flight attendant
  • mailman … mail carrier
  • councilman ... councilor
But it's not just male references, though there are more of them than female references. What do you call a male ballerina, for example?

It could be ballerino (Italy) or danseur (France). On solution, like those listed above, would be ballet dancer.

Can you think of any gender specific words I've not listed?


Crystal Collier said...

Oye. And we get more politically correct. I suppose that's okay, but it kind of annoys me.

Donna K. Weaver said...

lol Yeah, but it's there.