Feminism, chauvinism, egos, equality, inequality… uff suffocating terms! Why we are fighting that much if we very well know that we are in a stage of our navigation from unequal to the damn equals. But when it comes to address someone (in formal as well as informal platforms), we often end up doing mistakes as we use gender-specific terms knowingly or unknowingly.
But today, we are changing and the world is beginning to speak a different language— one that is not gender specific, are you with it? If we ask you that how would you draft a non-sexist business letter? Let’s begin with the regular opening phrase of a regular business letter;
Well, that precludes the possibility that a woman is reading the letter. So, let’s replace that with
By putting the masculine title before the feminine one, are you reinforcing an unacceptable dominance, making it politically incorrect? So, let’s fix it…
Not good, we are showing dominance in the other direction! And that’s not really politically correct either, so let’s try again;
Now that certainly solves the problem of who goes first. But the ‘Sir’ is on top now, which is completely unacceptable. Probably worse than the original! So, what about
Now still have one on top of the other, showing dominance. We may not be sure who is doing what, but what if somebody is being oppressed here? So,
Put the ‘Sir’ inside the ‘Madame’ that way, neither is going first and nor is above the other one. But, terrible thought— a man writing a letter addressed thus to a woman is obviously making an unwanted sexual advance. So, what about
Now we put the ‘Madame’ inside the ‘Sir’, but the Sir has engulfed the Madame! This would mean you are taking away her identity, her sense of self! Well, looks like there’s just one way out…
To Whom It May Concern,
There you have it! Simple, no references to sex or sexuality, no problems! Okay, so it’s not very friendly, but at least you have made sure that absolutely no one’s ever offended. And all that was just the beginning of the letter. Here the battle continues….
We face such problems in all walks of life. So, we seriously need navigation from gender-specific language towards a generous, smart and unbiased code of conduct. So, people mind your language and let’s get ready for some non-sexist terms to survive in this mad-bad world of etiquettes.
The navigation list from ‘Gender-Specific’ to ‘Non-Sexist’ terms….
- ‘Man’ or mankind should be replaced by ‘human beings’, ‘people’, ‘humanity’, ‘human kind’, ‘men and women’, ‘women and men’ or ‘the individual’.
- ‘Man’s achievements’ are now ‘human achievements’.
- The ‘best man of the job’ now is ‘the best person for the job’, or ‘the best man or woman for the job’.
- ‘Manpower’ is ‘work force’, ‘personnel’, ‘the staff’ or ‘the workers’.
- ‘Man-made’ is ‘synthetic’, ‘manufactured’ or ‘machine-made’.
- The ‘common man’ is the ‘average person’, ‘ordinary people’ or ‘people in general’.
- ‘Man the desk’ is ‘staff the desk’.
- The ‘chairman’ is ‘coordinator’, ‘chairperson’, ‘chair’, ‘convener’, ‘mediator’, ‘head’ or ‘presiding officer’.
- ‘Businessman’ and ‘businesswoman’ is ‘business executive’.
- ‘Foreman’ is ‘supervisor’.
- ‘Policeman’ and ‘policewoman’ is ‘police officer’.
- ‘Fireman’ is ‘firefighter’.
- ‘Mailman’ is ‘mail carrier’.
- ‘Stewards’ and ‘stewardesses’ are ‘flight attendants’.
So Symphonites, did the list tickle down your funny bones? 😉 No it’s not funny at all. As, this navigation is seriously needed in modern times so that we could change this prejudiced society into bias-free one. Indeed, a world that is speech-savvy in terms of gender quality!