Friday, February 20, 2009

That is so sexist!

There are some words that hurt my ears. Stupid. Lover. Actress. 

Homie, don't play that. What's with the gender specific terms, yo? (Comedienne I don't mind, although it's pretty much the most useless gender-specific term ever. Because, you know, I don't hear much of a difference in the pronunciation from comedian!)

I started correcting this (along with writing implement, not writing utensil) in ninth grade after I read a Reader's Digest article about archaic gender-specific terms for gender-neutral faculties. And at first I did it to mock the feminists, and then it morphed into more of a, "You know, actress is an annoying word! Why is a woman who acts any different than a man who acts? Call 'em actors." Little gender-specific terms are seemingly and usually harmless, but they continue to reinforce the notion women aren't as equal as men.

Don't get me wrong, girl power is silly. It just occurs to me every once in a while that I've taken for granted the opportunities I have. I love school, I can go to school, I can pursue whatever profession I want, thanks to Hillary I can run for President if I want. (Okay, yeah, that was a little sarcastic. Sorry.) And imagine, in some countries women can't vote. In some countries, women get acid poured on them if they try to go to school. People hated Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Benazir Bhutto . . . taking my equality for granted is the surest way to lose it.

At the same time, I hate acknowledging inequality of genders. It's like acknowledging racism. Racism will exist for as long as we have a word for it. Pointing out that women are sometimes still not regarded as equal in this world reinforces the existence of gender inequality. Same goes for agism. (Agism . . . nothing feels more strange than being hated or ignored because of your age.) Labels prove themselves futile over and over again.

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