Friday, October 13, 2006                                                                         Serving California State University, Fresno since 1922



Language not pertinent in gender debate

Students abuse campus conveniences

Language not pertinent in gender debate

Ben Baxter

I APPLAUD THE efforts of anyone willing to fight for changing the spelling of the word “women.” It puts all those other crusades to shame. I will cast down my support for the Equal Rights Amendment, and I will cease fighting any sort of unfair wages to women.

The word “women” is upsetting to me, and I earnestly believe that this is a cause that really matters. No matter that the etymology of the word dates back to Old English, where “man” was used strictly in the sense that “mankind” is used today: to refer to a sexless human identity.

I can’t understand why women were ever in a second place to men, although I’m told the likelihood of death by childbirth back before medicine might have something to do with it. I don’t know if I believe that, but I do know that, strangely enough, there are no known cases of men dying as a direct result of childbirth.

Except, of course, that bizarre incident with the igloo and the roll of duct tape, but that was long after “woman” was coined in all its misogynist glory.

Obviously, to curse womyn with childbirth and menstruation was a male plot to keep them barefoot and tied to the kitchen sink. Don’t believe me? What does “menstruation” begin with, after all? Note that I’m talking about the word, here.

Why not even remove all gender-specific pronouns? I know that whenever I call someone an actress or a maid that I’m judging them by the very fiber of their being, and whether I’d like to or not.

I think this is a good thing, because men and womyn are always exactly the same in all contexts.

But is that far enough? Destroy “man” itself! I hereby cast down my title as a “man,” and I encourage anyone reading to do the same. The mere presence of the word in our language must be offensive to womyn everywhere.

I advocate obliteration.

In the theater, should we have stage managers? No! We have stage personagers! Even the sound of that word must strike a fainting spell into every crude masculine stereotype of a womyn, though it be derived from the Latin ‘manus,’ meaning “hand.”

Should the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles travel through manholes? Of course not, and I object to the lack of female ninja turtles, while I’m on the subject. Those green marauders use personholes!

When we refer to grueling, uncomfortable occupations in the sun, should we talk about manual labor?

Actually, that one might be okay. We should keep the poor and the unworthy men outside, where they belong.

Their ancestors spent too many years enjoying being the privileged that they deserve anything but heavy lifting for a while. In fact, I think an eternal contrition is in order for the weaker-minded sex.

Personagers, personholes and personual labor are, in any case, poor substitutes for the real words people have come to use to convey their innocuous and biasless meanings.

I apologize in advance, but if anyone seriously advocates the respelling of the word “women” while less important matters — like the wildly disproportionate amount of white male representation within Congress and Fortune 500 top executives — are still around, that person is an idiot, whichever unfortunate gender can call him a member.

Any self-respecting feminist wouldn’t even agree with a quarter of those arguments, but I find it troublesome that some agree with any of it.

Do you want to be paid as much as anyone else for your job, or do you want to be a femayle without that privilege?

What really matters to the movement, or at least to you? Do you want to provide equality or clumsy semantics?

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