The role of gender and words...

icowden

Senior Member
As we started in another thread I thought this might be an interesting discussion point (at least up until the point it becomes a slanging match).

How do people feel about the gender neutralisation of words, is it positive and empowering or negative and annoying?

Hero and Heroine
Actor and Actress
Villain and Villainess

Now, being of an age (well middle aged) I grew up with gendered words and don't particularly see them as negative. However, a good way for us men to consider how women might feel is through the eyes of the Man Who Has It All:-


View: https://twitter.com/manwhohasitall/status/1472622003345580034?s=20


View: https://twitter.com/manwhohasitall/status/1470860647483142144?s=20
 

BoldonLad

Old man on a bike. Not a member of a clique.
Location
South Tyneside
For men, it would appear the words will not change (ie, the formerly male version will become the only form), so, other than the chore of remembering not to use the formerly "female version", men are not affected?

So, I would have thought, only women should have an input?

I suspect, on this forum, that will give us a fairly narrow field of view.
 
OP
OP
icowden

icowden

Senior Member
For men, it would appear the words will not change (ie, the formerly male version will become the only form), so, other than the chore of remembering not to use the formerly "female version", men are not affected?

Yes, that seems to be the dichotomy. Is it better to have a single word that conforms to the male / patriarchal view rather than a masculine and feminine form?
 

winjim

This snowflake's an avalanche
For men, it would appear the words will not change (ie, the formerly male version will become the only form), so, other than the chore of remembering not to use the formerly "female version", men are not affected?

So, I would have thought, only women should have an input?

I suspect, on this forum, that will give us a fairly narrow field of view.
Most (all?) of the time there is no formerly male version though. There's the default version, and the gendered female version.
 
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icowden

icowden

Senior Member
Most (all?) of the time there is no formerly male version though. There's the default version, and the gendered female version.

Whilst that's true, it often sounds odd reversed hence @themanwhohasitall and his "Womenkind" - a gender neutral term applying to men and women.

When you put it like that, it sounds wrong.
 

BoldonLad

Old man on a bike. Not a member of a clique.
Location
South Tyneside
Most (all?) of the time there is no formerly male version though. There's the default version, and the gendered female version.

Don't see what you are getting at? Formerly Actor, meant male person who acted, actress meant female person who acted.

Again, formerly, some jobs/titles had male/female terms, eg Policeman/Policewoman. Some, as far as I remember, never had gender equivalents eh Teacher, Nurse, Doctor. I don't recall ever hearing or seeing the term Firewoman. In some cases, formerly, it may have been because the role was predominantly done by males or females, but, in most if not all instances, roles are (rightly) open to both (only exception I can think of is midwife, which I don't recall ever having a male version ?).

But, as I said, I don't have a strong view on the subject, if women want a gender neutral term for every job, I am quite happy to try my weak male best to remember to use the correct(?) word. ;)
 
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winjim

This snowflake's an avalanche
Don't see what you are getting at? Formerly Actor, meant male person who acted, actress meant female person who acted.

Again, formerly, some jobs/titles had male/female terms, eg Policeman/Policewoman. Some, as far as I remember, never had gender equivalents eh Teacher, Nurse, Doctor. I don't recall ever hearing or seeing the term Firewoman.

But, as I said, I don't have a strong view on the subject, if women want a gender neutral term for every job, I am quite happy to try my weak male best to remember to use the correct(?) word. ;)
Actor means person who acts. Actress means woman who acts.
 

BoldonLad

Old man on a bike. Not a member of a clique.
Location
South Tyneside
Actor means person who acts. Actress means woman who acts.

Might have in your world, not in mine. Note, use of the past-tense.
 

glasgowcyclist

Well-Known Member
Formerly Actor, meant male person who acted, actress meant female person who acted

Actor, in the theatrical sense of someone who performs is from the 1580s and originally applied to both men and women. The term actress came much later, dating from 1700.

Favouring the gender-neutral term actor for all who perform is reverting to the original usage.
 

BoldonLad

Old man on a bike. Not a member of a clique.
Location
South Tyneside
Actor, in the theatrical sense of someone who performs is from the 1580s and originally applied to both men and women. The term actress came much later, dating from 1700.

Favouring the gender-neutral term actor for all who perform is reverting to the original usage.

OK, I know I am getting on a bit, but 1580's is definitely before my time, even 1700 is pushing it.

I am happy with "actor" ... but... as I said, I don't really see it as "my call"
 
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qigong chimp

Active Member
I remember being struck by the elegant simplicity of the utopian vision in

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"This classless, gender-neutral (non-gendered pronouns are used, notably "per" or "person" for "he/she/him/her"), racial-difference-affirming society is sketched in detail, including meeting and discussion structures that eliminate power differentials as much as possible, the extensive use of technology only for social goods, the replacement of business and corporate agendas with general planning for social justice and respect for all human beings' individuality."
 
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