Wee Vishnu, a merry crushed moose, and a hoppy Jew near

Hope everyone had a good December! I’ve been distracted with holidays and family stuff, hence the lack of posts.  Today’s, however, comes fresh from a Washington Post commenter.

I remember when the WTC went down, and I spoke with someone about all the firemen that were killed going into that maelstrom. She scrunched up her nose and said ‘they are called firefighters’. I said, every one of them that died were men. Men going in to save others. They deserve to be called what they are, firemen.

Which completely misses the point. The point is that gender doesn’t matter. Even if they were all male, there’s no need to insist on using the gendered term. Doing so drags gender into the discussion when it doesn’t need to be addressed. I’m really not sure how the term ‘firefighter’ doesn’t accurately describe the people in question–if anything, it could be considered more accurate because it describes what they choose to do as a career, without referring to something they can’t control.

What’s more mind-boggling than the fact that the gendered terms still get used in the first place (I get it, it takes time to rewire your brain to not automatically use them) is that people are defending their usage. Instead of taking a moment to replace the offensive term with an equally accurate but inoffensive one, some people insist on using the gendered term. As frequently is the case, someone trotted out the, “there are bigger issues at stake,” card, which again misses the point. Yes, there are bigger issues at stake (the article the comment came from was about poverty in Manchester, New Hampshire), but that doesn’t mean that the smaller ones go away.

I have very little power to change the economics of a town in a state I don’t live in, so I’m not going to apologize for spending some energy to try and make a smaller change that I have more ability to affect.


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