Mrs. Linklater doesn't quite know how to bring this up, but she feels that some comment is necessary.
Call it what you may, being over
sensitive, a rabid feminist, a victim of post-pms stress disorder, whatever, but her
sensibilities are offended by the use of the term "MANNED" to describe
what happens when people are part of a group working together to make
Dictionary.com defines MANNED as:
1. To supply with men, as for defense or service: man a ship.
2. To take stations at, as to defend or operate: manned the guns.
3. To fortify or brace: manned himself for the battle ahead.
The term seems especially archaic given the number of women serving in the military these days.
So while Mrs. Linklater was thrilled to have the opportunity to be the
Guest Editor this week and rectify some unwarranted oversights in the
journaling community, she feels the need to correct Journals Editor
Joe, ever so gently. It should be pointed out that he's not alone. But
he is convenient.
"Manning the ship of the [now defunct] AOL Journals' state this week is Guest Editor, Mrs. Linklater, who I describe on the
main page as 'iconoclastic.'"
Mrs. L was flattered to be
described as "iconoclastic." The word fits her like a pair of tight
leather pants. But she feels that "MANNING" would have been more
appropriate for someone of the male persuasion, who was in fact a
member of our armed forces.
It is perhaps because women are now integrated into so many formerly
male dominated jobs that attempts to use gender neutral language is
practiced more rigorously. Most of the time.
Thus the term "STAFFED" or "STAFFING" has been employed to replace the
clearly gender specific, but often inaccurate term, "MANNED" or
Mrs. Linklater, being female, would
have happier if Joe had written, "Leading the ship of the AOL Journals' state" or better yet, "Staffing the Guest Editor's desk this week is
Mrs. Linklater, etc."
For reference, the Dictionary.com definition for STAFFED is:
1. To provide with a staff of workers or assistants.
2. To serve on the staff of.
As politically correct language
goes, STAFFED is not as awkward as chairperson for chairman. But
it is just as relevant as using firefighter for fireman and mail
carrier for mailman. Or police officer for policeman.
Mrs. Linklater doesn't want to
whine too much about this, but using the word "MAN" to describe
something a woman is doing is like a coach calling a boys' team "GIRLS" when
he wants to insult them. Same diff to Mrs. L.
One final comment about gender
neutral descriptors. For a long time people didn't know how to be more
politically correct with waiters and waitresses. Until they came
up with SERVER.
But Mrs. L's favorite option was
WATRON. She's not alone. Three years ago in Park City, Utah,
she saw a huge sign on a soon-to-open restaurant that said, "WATRONS
WANTED. APPLY INSIDE." Sadly, she did not have her camera with her to capture the moment forever.
Some things take awhile to catch
on. She thinks STAFFING instead of MANNING may not be an
overnight success. But it could happen.
Remember that the next time a watron takes your order.