Non-sexist language can be ridiculous

Hazel McCallion, Senior Public School
Mississauga, Ontario

By Emilie Muto, Grade 8


For years and years, women have fought for their right to be treated with respect, to be treated equal to men. Slowly, they’ve acquired these rights.

For example, women are now getting better, higher paying jobs, and have moved into positions of power such as the former Prime Minister of Canada, Kim Campbell, and the mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion.

Yet, this isn't good enough for some. Now, feminists have to go and rewrite the dictionary, changing words that aren't to their liking. One example is changing manhole to "sewer access hole." Will this nonsense never end?

I am a strong believer in women’s rights, but I know where to draw the line. What Margaret Doyle, the author of "The A-z of Non-sexist Language," doesn't understand is that it’s not the word that you have to change, it’s the attitude. A word's a word and making it politically correct isn't going to change the way the world thinks.

Not only is this issue ridiculous, it's not going to do any good for women. This will be seen as another attempt by radicals to get their own way. How can women expect to be treated with respect and like intelligent people when they do such absurd things. Rewriting the dictionary is a disservice to women and it makes women look like petty fools.

Words like "snowman" and "mailman" were never created to be offensive to women. Things that should be important, like a women's job and working conditions, have been changed. And if a woman holds a position such as chairman, she is called a chairwoman, or chairperson. If a person wants to make female "snowman", he/she will call it a "snow-woman." It's that simple.

You don't have to go rewriting the dictionary to change how people talk. Women should start fighting for more important rights. Words don’t change attitudes. The way something is said doesn't make a difference. Is an "abominable snow creature" any less abominable because you change its name?


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