We need to accept “they” as a singular pronoun and “their” as a singular possessive adjective so that we can say “a postal worker may be forced to turn on their heel and flee” and not get flustered about it. It’s too deeply ingrained, and, sadly, men who would cringe at a racist comment don’t seem to see that it’s just as bad to use words that put down women—even while they’re ranting at a male.
It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we have right now and it’s much, much better than being sexist. In the same vein, “kitty”-whipped (the synonym for henpecked) is degrading to both men and women.
They’re aware of issues that simply went unnoticed in my time and that weren’t obvious even one generation before them.
I’d like to tell you a little about one sixteen-year-old girl I know. She’s an ordinary teenager, meaning that she’s smart and savvy and she loves to text a lot.
It seems they are rejecting the limited role of traditional wife and mother and choosing to go with a career. Which tells you something about what kids were saying before this project started.
Their aim is to make sexist phrases become “as unacceptable as racist language.” (Yay yay yay!
She will be set up if she wants to become a chemist—and although she herself isn’t sure what she wants yet, she can become, quite simply, anything she cares to be.
And the reason for that is herself: she sees no barriers before her forbidding a mere “chit” of a girl from any career to which she aspires. They have an entirely new take on issues of racism and sexism as well.
They don’t see the walls that have divided human beings from each other and caused strife and suffering.
It’s sure as hell easier than eradicating violence against women worldwide—but it may actually be a start toward that holy goal. Yet, these words may not be recognized as discriminatory because their use is perceived as normative and therefore not unusual. And once you’re attuned to the problem, maybe you too will wince when authors continue to cluelessly drivel on about the fate of mankind instead of humankind or talk about manpower and manning the helm and how the next president of the United States will be the most powerful man in the world. “You’re going down, bitch,” they shout over and over as they parkour their video game nemeses.
You’ll find that, as Sherryl Kleinman, the teacher of a sociology course on gender inequality at the University of North Carolina, says, word choice is important “[b]ecause male-based generics are another indicator—and more importantly, a reinforcer—of a system in which ‘man’ in the abstract and men in the flesh are privileged over women.” She adds that changing our language is a relatively easy way to start making inroads toward equality of the sexes. Kelley-Chew that concludes that “male-gendered generics are exclusionary of women and tend to reinforce gender stereotypes. But what really drives me crazy is that men (mostly men) use the term “bitch” not only when they’re trying to derogate a woman, but when they’re insulting a “weak” man.