Monday, June 17, 2013

Stop it, Man

I am old enough to recall debate about gendered words back when every time a female type person did something it got tagged with -ess or -ette or girl.  And while I fall down on this myself, and certainly I have seen little movement on actress and waitress, the point being made at the time was twofold.  The -ess and -ette are diminutives, and yes, while they can indicate femininity one can argue that it's a little like calling someone a cute little thing  with all the accompanying dismissiveness.  And well, girl is a word for a child, and no one says, oh that new CEO boy for that company, we only seem to regress when referring to female types. 
So, in the interest of equality, I would like to point out it is just as offensive (and annoying and irritating) to stick man in front of everything.  Or merge into everything.  I love intriguing new compound or combined words, but murse and manny, no.  If it's a purse, it's a purse.  If you want to call it something else, you can call it a bag.  Personally I think nanny is a dated term, although I understand that some people might feel it indicates a higher level of skill or time commitment than babysitter, but in general, unless I am the person who needs to recognize your nanny, I'm not clear why I need to know you have a manny, instead of just nanny.  Sure, if you tell me your nanny is called Kevin I might make assumptions, but all that will happen if you say manny is that I will cringe in horror - at the word. 
Man date confuses me since it's used only when it's not really a date.  So, apparently two friends of the same gender who are not attracted to one another cannot just be hanging out now. We must call it a man date. (I must not. Really.) 
But, in case you were wondering what sent me over the edge, mantiquing.  No.  No, no, no.  No.  Stop.  Antiquing does not need or deserve a gender adjusted version.  It's a verb.  The verb contains within it no assumption of gender. Just because it contains to of the letters in the word man does not excuse this travesty of a word.