While we’re at it, can we talk about how insensitive this campus is toward the female population? I am deeply offended that the terms we are throwing around explicitly reveal an infiltration of male domination. It’s about time we start using some gender-neutral language around here!!

4 thoughts on “

  1. AMacey Reply

    (In reference to the absurd DTH article from last week re jettisoning the term "freshman" and the equally ridiculous "letters to the editor" responding to the article)

  2. Maegan Johnson Reply

    I am perennially astonished at how outraged feminists can become over a perceived slight that is in fact a mere lack of understanding on their part. There are reasons why the generic gender in modern English is masculine, and these reasons are rooted in the grammatical heritage common to all Indo-European languages.

    Originally, there were only two grammatical "genders," the one we now identify as "masculine," which was used for reference to animate beings, and the one we identify as "neuter," which was used to denote inanimate objects. The "feminine" was then introduced to allow a distinction to be drawn within the animate category based on sex.

    Over time, different languages adapted these grammatical genders in different ways (in Latin, for instance, animate beings have a grammatical gender that reflects their biological sex; an abstract idea is nearly always feminine; a given object may be of any gender). Old English wound up with an almost completely arbitrary system of gramatical gender; one common word for "woman," for instance, was masculine, while another was neuter, and it often became difficult to satisfy the demands of both comprehensibility and the rules of grammatical concord in a complex sentence. Although a few relics of this older classification remain in colloquial use (ships, for instance, are still feminine), Modern English has in essence reverted to the original Indo-European scheme: a general animate/inanimate dichotomy (masculine/neuter), but the ability to specify animate beings as masculine or feminine when context requires. This solution is both highly elegant and eminently practical, and has served us well for several hundreds of years.

    In their quixotic quest for "equality," feminists are attacking the already biological-gender-neutral system, and asking us to replace it with an unwieldy (and usually bastardized) vocabulary that is no more accurate and far less efficient.

    Words do indeed "mean things," as the feminists (and other like-minded evangelists of political correctness) so endlessly remind us. Would that they were courteous enough – or intellectually acute enough – to ascertain what those meanings actually are before asking us to cast aside several centuries of our linguistic heritage in a futile attempt to assuage their misbegotten angst.

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