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the humyn league

the humyn league

He, she or they? Guidelines on gender, language getting update
Found in: THE NEWS-GAZETTE (Chicago), link via Gleeful Extremist

Language, thought and culture influence each other, and a new set of guidelines for word and grammar choices strives to eliminate stereotypes about men and women. “Guidelines for Gender-Fair Use of Language” will be in the spotlight later this month at the National Council of Teachers of English convention in Atlanta. The group is based in Urbana. The statement was originally written in 1975. It was revised in 1985 and was previously known as “Guidelines for Nonsexist Use of Language.” “We used to use the term ‘sexist.' I think we've come to realize that what we want to talk about is gender, it is in cultural terms as opposed to biological,” said Mary Harmon, a professor at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan who was a leader in creating the documents.

There are certain phrases in the English language I have conceded to changing. For instance, I will call a female postal worker simply a postal worker instead of the mailman. I'll even accept flight attendant in place of stewardess. But sometimes I think we have flown over the edge of political correctness and into some language based twilight zone.

The document Guidelines for Gender-Fair Use of Language, revised 2002 calls for drastic changes in the classroom. One portion states:

Avoid exclusionary forms such as mankind, man's achievments, the best man for the job, man the controls, man the ticket booth.

Choose inclusionary alternatives such as humanity, human beings, people, human achievements, the best person for the job, take charge of,
staff the ticket booth.

Also, instead of man-made (as in man-made materials), use the phrase artificial materials or even synthetic materials.

Freshman (as in certain official names such as freshman orientation). First-year student is an alternative which may work.

Alumni is a masculine plural form; alumnae is the feminine plural.

Don't use age-old phrases such as "you guys go ahead." Don't say "I'm having lunch with the girls." (Even if the girls may not mind that you say that)

Here's my favorite: Addressing correspondence Mr. and Mrs. Michael Webber is exlusionary. Instead, use Ms. Olivia Webber and Mr. Michael Webber.

So, do I start teaching my kids to say person-hole instead of manhole? Do we change spellings in accordance with these guidelines, as in womyn or humyn instead of woman and human? I'm sure Mr. Man Eating Shark will not be pleased to have his name changed to Person Eating Shark. It just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Does, how's it hanging, man? become how's it hanging, person?

If I were to write a manifesto about manatees, I would have to call it a Personifesto about Personatees. Or Peopleatees. Peopleifesto?

Shit! What do we call Manhattan now? Humanhattan?

Why must we teach our children to tiptoe around the language? Pretty soon they will be afraid to open their mouths, in fear that they might offend someone. When I say "Hurry up, guys!" my daughter does not protest my use of the word guys and I hope she never does.

I'm going to lunch. Maybe I'll have a Manwich. I mean, a Womanwich. No, a Peoplwich.

Fuck it, I'm going to have a salad. I can't mess that word up.


{APPLAUSE} Mahevlous. Simply Mahvleous.

Dammit. Someday I'll learn to spell Mahvelous.

"Salad" is remarkably similar to the French word "Salaud", meaning "bastard". Which is of course a patriarchal term referencing the assumed ownership of women and children by dominant male figures.
You irresponsible anti-feminist bitch, your lunch just set women's rights back a hundred years.

I ended up with tuna on rye with tomato. Then I realized that the TOM in tomato is obviously male.

And we all know tuna is a female based word.

Damnit, Michele, I cleaned this monitor off once already this week because of you... and now I have to do it again.

And this coffee's more corrosive than the beer from last time. And I think it dribbled out of my nose into the keyboard, too...

As a former journalism student, I have this much to say about political correctness: it does nothing more than butcher the notion of clear, concise writing.

In other words, it sucks.

I prefer to use "shim" since I know many people who fall into that category.

My dog will be very upset to find out he's not my husband's best friend anymore. He's OUR best friend.

FYI: We're not She-Males. We're We-Males.

Man, you are killing me.

Dammit. I hate it when someone spots a story on my site and writes about it far more entertainingly. :)

Well done, you bloodthirsy critter.

I don't think you'd have to worry much about "How's it hangin'," since the implication that something is hangin' in the first place would pretty much rule out the average woman.

Of course, if you moved the area in question above the waist and changed it to "How're they hangin'," on the other hand...

You know, every language has a term for "human." Ours is "man." "Man," in that context, doesn't mean "one who carries Y chromosome," it means "homo sapiens sapiens." If you're a dude, you are stuck with that boring old rubric that covers everyone, "man." If you're a chick, you get the extra fancy title "woman."
Why should that impact phrases where "apply human power" = "man"? It shouldn't.
Stewardess and postman are gendered, sure, and those titles should change as the professional mileiu does. But "man" historically just ain't clearly sexist, when applied generally, even if the folks who decided that's what "people" would be called were. Narrow minded freaks. So glad that didn't come from Berkeley. ;D

"Choose inclusionary alternatives such as huMANity, huMAN beings, people, huMAN achievements"

(Hey person) oh leave me alone you know
(Hey person) oh HENRIETTEA, get off the phone, I gotta
(Hey person) I gotta straighten my face
This mellow thighed WOMYN just put my spine out of place

(Hey person) my schooldays insane
(Hey person) my work's down the drain
(Hey person) well this WOMYN'S a total blam-blam
The WOMYN said she had to squeeze it but she..and then she..

Oh don't lean on me PERSON, cause you can't afford the ticket
I'm back from Suffragette City
Oh don't lean on me PERSON
Cause you ain't got time to check it
You know my Suffragette City
Is outta sight...the WOMYN'S all right

Actually, you shouldn't even use "person" because in "perSON" the suffix SON is sexist. Therefore it should be "peroffspring", thus "mailperson" should be "mailperoffspring".
My fellow politically correct computer geeks don't even use the term "motherboard" anymore. We use "parentalunitboard".

Peritissimos semper praevidere possumus, rudi autem periculosi sunt.
"Professionals are predictable, it's the amateurs who are dangerous"

Sorry Jorge,

"Parentalunitboard" just won't do.
It implies a blood relationship that in adoptive cases is exclusionary.
You should be using "caregiverboard"

The word "man" comes to us from the Indo-European family of languages, and until the feminists decided to make this an issue, the word encompassed all of humanity. It's not discrimination they're getting all excersized about; it's ignorance.

The one that really turns my crank is the moronic fem-nazi objection to the word "history" and the idiotic attempts to change it to "herstory." To this I say, "Blow it out your ass, girly."

Grrr...sorry. I am in a bad mood.

Don't you just want to send an email to the author saying "dude... man..."

"The statement was originally written in 1975. It was revised in 1985 and was previously known as “Guidelines for Nonsexist Use of Language.”"

I swear, the first time I read that, I thought it said 'Guidelines for Nonexistent Use of Language.'

Manhattan would become "Personhattan"

unless, of course, the non-hat wearing people become upset.

In which case it would be called "Persons wearing hats who have nothing against persons who don't wear hats" an.

Many of you have suggested using "person" instead of "man". This is not acceptable since "person" contains the exclusionary word "son". You might try "person or perdaughter" or maybe "perhumyn".