Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Word Policeman Passes Away

The woman behind the movement to turn 'fireman' to 'fireman and firewoman' has shuffled off this mortal coil.

The stated goal of the manual was to encourage mutual respect and equality between boys and girls, but Ms. Swift and Ms. Miller, who died in 1997, concluded that the author’s intent was being undermined by the English language.

“We suddenly realized what was keeping his message — his good message — from getting across, and it hit us like a bombshell,” Ms. Swift said in a 1994 interview for the National Council of Teachers of English. “It was the pronouns! They were overwhelmingly masculine gendered.”

Those pesky words!

The obituary closes with this:

“We just wanted to give people the background, to make them aware of what was happening right underneath their noses,” she said of the handbook. “We didn’t want to tell people, Do This or Don’t Do That!” [emphasis mine]

But that's just what she did.

The gender equalizing of words always struck me the Political Correct thing to do rather than actual equalizing of words.

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