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3-13-2009 @ 6:59PM
Why do so many writers feel the need to create artificial words like "crafts(wo)men" these days? In the English language, words ending in -man and -men are gender-neutral. Of course a woman can be a craftsman, a councilman, a policeman, etc. When referring to the race of Man, it includes both sexes. Altering the language in this way is confusing and overcomplicated. What's the point, and where does the trend stop? Should we also start singling out a person's age? What about their race? It's a slippery and unnecessary slope.
3-13-2009 @ 7:10PM
You'll find they're "police officers" for that very reason.
3-13-2009 @ 9:30PM
This isn't language school, it's a video game blog. Why do people feel the need to point out every spelling error and grammatical mistake? Sheesh, get a life.
3-13-2009 @ 9:36PM
This was not a spelling error or a grammatical mistake.Before you chime in with criticism, please at least have some minimal understanding of the argument at hand.
3-14-2009 @ 7:13AM
"Before you chime in with criticism, please at least have some minimal understanding of the argument at hand."What? Do you mean much in the same way as someone raising an issue with the English language in a Gaming Forum?Kinda have to agree with Aries. Might be time for you to look out the window and appreciate the sunshine for an hour or so. We are not saving babies here.
3-14-2009 @ 2:05PM
Saving babies? No. Saving the English language? Maybe. I'm a writer, criticizing a fellow writer. Does it really matter that this is a gamers forum? Don't gamers deserve well-crafted articles? I think we do. As to the "get a life" posters, the sweet irony is that you have succeeded in being MORE trivial than you accuse me of being. You've taken the time to write a post, and said NOTHING!
3-15-2009 @ 4:26PM
"Altering the language in this way is confusing and overcomplicated. What's the point, and where does the trend stop?"Is adopting gender-inclusive language really so objectionable? Yes, the traditional usage is that exclusively male terminology can refer to both men and women. But it never did so on equal terms. Look at the culture in which that usage derived. Women were legal non-persons under the care of their father or husband, barred from most vocations (so "craftsmen" WERE exclusively male). Men were considered the superior, prime specimen of the species, and women were viewed as an inherently flawed, sinful, weak, inferior variation. And the English language developed reflecting and reinforcing that worldview. The inequality of women in society and the inequality of women in language is not some crazy coincidence. Most women, for the most part, no longer refer to themselves as "Mrs. John Smith", feeling they have their own identities and should therefore get to have their own names. Similarly, is it really so objectionable that they wouldn't want to identify as "men" or be referred to as "he"?
3-15-2009 @ 4:48PM
I'd like to propose an experiment to test the difference between the traditional English use of masculine terms where gender is unknown, and more modern, gender-inclusive, "artificial" terms, as you describe them.Get 100 participants. Ask 50 of them, "Picture a craftsman, and describe him to me." Ask the other 50, "Picture a craftsperson, and describe that person to me." Compare the number of people in each group that described a male person, and the number that describe a female person.Under the traditional rules of grammar, both "craftsman" and "he" can refer to women. So the ratio in each group describing men and women should be similar, right?
3-16-2009 @ 9:50AM
@AdamanthisGood counter point. The current 'gender neutral' way of writing/speaking has always been unnecessarily confusing and reinforced centuries old inequalities. Although I am not yet convinced speaking in the 'artificial' conjunctions (policewoman, craftswoman, etc) is the best way to go about it. In fact it doesn't really address the issue of not having a sufficient 'gender neutral' term. Etymology is facinating.
3-16-2009 @ 2:00PM
Interesting, but why stop there?"Craftswoman" tells me what gender the person is, but I still don't know what color her skin is. What about her religion? What about her height? What about her preferred breakfast food? Which of these things are important to her skill in her profession? Right. None of them. What about those words that don't reveal a person's gender? Do we need to make words like he-soldier and she-soldier? Would any commander on a battlefield, while barking out orders to take a particular hill or bunker, bother with the difference between his male and female soldiers? Hopefully not!Will creating artificial names for professions make up for past inequalities? Will those artificial names even make up for current biases?Let's try another experiment. Ask 100 people to hire a blacksmith to create a large iron door. Then, give them the option of hiring the she-blacksmith and the he-blacksmith. Now, we're all certain that the outcome will be about 50/50, right? Or does anyone thing that some bias about skill or strength will find it's way into our little experiment? Creating artificial words will not legitimize anyone's position. The only way to be truly equal is to be anonymous. Our work should speak for itself. The meanings of words change, and take on new meanings that might not have been intended. "Craftsman" might once have excluded women, but not anymore. The meaning of "craftswoman", however, is ambiguous. You might hope it means "a woman who crafts something", but that's really up to the person hearing it. Creating artificial words it unhelpful at best, undermining at worst.
3-16-2009 @ 5:42PM
""Craftswoman" tells me what gender the person is, but I still don't know what color her skin is. What about her religion? What about her height? What about her preferred breakfast food?"The point of modern gender-neutral language is that it does not tell you what gender the person is. "Crafts(wo)man", "craftsperson", or "crafter" are all inclusive terms that could refer to either a woman or a man. A "craftsman", on the other hand, is a man. Lofty etymologies aside, the clear implication of the word is "a man who crafts". Telling women that they must accept being referred to using male-gendered terms - and criticizing them when they use less exclusive terminology - is condescending and petty."Will creating artificial names for professions make up for past inequalities? Will those artificial names even make up for current biases?"No to the first question, and mostly no to the second. But choosing gender-neutral language does at least prevent us from constantly reinforcing those biases.The experiment I set out doesn't presume that people would be very likely to assume that a craftsperson is a woman even with gender neutral language. There probably is a strong underlying bias there. What I think it would show, though, is that people would be much more likely to assume that a craftsman is male than to assume that a craftsperson is male."The meaning of "craftswoman", however, is ambiguous. "In what way? The construction of terms by replacing "-man" with "-woman" or "-person" is very common and quite simple. I find it hard to believe that someone would be familiar with "craftsman" but unable to comprehend "craftsperson." Even in such a case, it would take 10 seconds of education to rectify.The other option, to freeze the inherent sexism of the language and continue the use of "universally inclusive" male-gendered terms for all time, is much less appealing.Language evolves according to pressures on it. In this case, the pressure is to represent both men and women equally. And as much as we might try to make some great ado about the relatively minor changes required, it's really quite simple to do.
3-16-2009 @ 6:59PM
'"Crafts(wo)man", "craftsperson", or "crafter" are all inclusive terms that could refer to either a woman or a man. A "craftsman", on the other hand, is a man."No, "crafts(wo)man" isn't a word at all. How do you even say that out loud? "Craftsman" on the other hand, is a person who is skilled at a trade. Centuries of use as a generic term has turned it... generic!"But choosing gender-neutral language does at least prevent us from constantly reinforcing those biases."No. Pointing out that we need a different word because a person happens to be female reinforces those biases. Aren't women good enough to have the same professional title as their peers? For the record, I believe they are."The experiment I set out doesn't presume that people would be very likely to assume that a craftsperson is a woman even with gender neutral language."Interesting. The experiment I set out presumes that people would be more concerned about a person's skill than they are about a person's gender. If you just thought of a blacksmith as someone skilled in metalworking, you might be shockingly surprised to discover a female can do that work as well as a male."The construction of terms by replacing "-man" with "-woman" or "-person" is very common and quite simple."And redundant at the very least. "Craftsman" includes everybody, by definition. It might not look that way at first, but many words are like that. By definition, "craftswoman" is exclusive. "The other option, to freeze the inherent sexism of the language and continue the use of "universally inclusive" male-gendered terms for all time, is much less appealing."Language is not inherently sexist. People are. What's "much less appealing" is worrying about which gendered version of a word you use, when it doesn't even matter."Language evolves according to pressures on it. In this case, the pressure is to represent both men and women equally. "And again I ask, why is gender any more important than skin color or religion or height or anything else? I suspect the reason why nobody has touched this question is that gender is not, in fact, so important that we need to rework the language. It turns out, the language is fine. The people talking, on the other hand, could use some help.
3-16-2009 @ 8:46PM
Let's have a look at the OED:"Craftsman - 1. A man who practices a handicraft.""Craftsperson - A person engaged in handicraft."While the primary definition of "man" is "a human being, irrespective of sex or age", it's qualified with "Man was considered until the 20th cent. to include women by implication, though referring primarily to males. It is now freq. understood to exclude women, and is therefore avoided by many people."So, unsurprisingly, "man" has never been inclusive in an egalitarian sense, the male-dominated society just let the disenfranchised half of the human population along for the linguistic ride, assuming that they went without saying, or didn't deserve explicit mention. And since then, "man" has evolved not to be more inclusive, but less, to refer exclusively to male persons. At no point along the way did "man" ever serve as a gender-equal, all encompassing term."Craftsman," therefore, is predominantly a male term. The experiment I outlined would, I believe, show that it reinforces harmful biases by carrying with it an inescapable connotation of maleness. Regardless of their other biases, more people would assume that a craftsman is a man than would assume that a craftsperson is a man. That's a bad thing, and makes a very strong case for avoiding the former term. You can not have a language where the term "man" refers exclusively to male persons, and is incorporated into other terms without bringing with it that meaning."Aren't women good enough to have the same professional title as their peers? For the record, I believe they are."Aren't women good enough to be called men? Really? When women finally break down the sexist barriers of a profession, they should get adopt the labels that for generations reflected and reinforced their exclusion? To be "policemen" or "firemen"? Women do deserve to have the same professional title as their peers, but titles that don't have inescapable male connotations: "Craftspersons" "Police officers" "Fire fighters"If anyone is confused by these terms, they could just look them up. The usage of "craftsperson" usage dates back 90 years, so I don't know how newfangled it really is.
3-16-2009 @ 9:11PM
Now Webster takes a shot.Main Entry: crafts·man Listen to the pronunciation of craftsmanPronunciation: \ˈkraf(t)s-mən\ Function: noun Date: 13th century1 : a worker who practices a trade or handicraft 2 : one who creates or performs with skill or dexterity especially in the manual arts So your Oxford Dictionary, which requires a password to confirm the definition presented, says one thing, but Webster says another.And again, you avoid the direct questions. Does "craftswoman" include men? The answer is no. It is therefore not an inclusive term. Despite your personal biases to the term "craftsman", we see clear evidence that it can and does included women. Over time it became the default word for a person who works in a handicraft.And again, if these words are not made up, how do you say them? All languages evolve from a spoken word first, then possible to a written form. There is no way to say the word "crafts(wo)man".And again, you avoid the obvious. Does it really matter if you are a man or a woman in the job? Does it reflect your skill? Why fight for gender? Why is it more important than heritage or sexual orientation or anything else?Break down sexist dogma by performing your profession as well as anyone else. It's that simple.
3-21-2009 @ 12:02PM
"Does "craftswoman" include men? The answer is no. It is therefore not an inclusive term."I haven't suggested it is, or advocated for the use of the term "craftswoman." Though it would be appropriate when referring exclusively to women craftspersons, just as "Craftsmen" would be appropriate when referring exclusively to men."Despite your personal biases to the term "craftsman", we see clear evidence that it can and does included women. Over time it became the default word for a person who works in a handicraft."I don't think the bias that the "-man" suffix carries is mine alone. But, if you truly believe that people would be just as likely to hear "craftsman" and think of a woman as they would be to hear "craftsperson" and think of a woman, then I guess I'll have to get back to you with some research data. Wish me luck on the funding application. "And again, if these words are not made up, how do you say them? All languages evolve from a spoken word first, then possible to a written form. There is no way to say the word "crafts(wo)man".""Crafts(wo)man" is clearly purely a written construct. "Craftsperson" would be my preferred choice, and you can get its pronunciation from Webster's."Does it really matter if you are a man or a woman in the job?"No, it does not."Does it reflect your skill?"No, it does not."Why fight for gender? Why is it more important than heritage or sexual orientation or anything else?"I haven't advocated the use of gendered terms, but gender-neutral terms like "craftsperson"."Break down sexist dogma by performing your profession as well as anyone else. It's that simple."It's not just about how good you are when the system was constructed to exclude you. Sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination are often systemic, reinforced by - sometimes quite subtly, sometimes not - by our language and practices.
3-23-2009 @ 4:55PM
You want to spend tax dollars on research to determine if people hear "craftsman" and think of a man? I think I've heard all I need to hear.
3-23-2009 @ 7:42PM
It was a joke, Worcester.Of course they do. No need to spend money to demonstrate the obvious.
3-23-2009 @ 8:43PM
No, "they" don't all assume craftsmen are only male. You don't speak for everybody. Not everybody sees sexist inequality where you do.And your "joke" is suspect to say the least. The mere fact that you would insinuate spending money to research your personal biases is enough to be an insult.
3-24-2009 @ 10:53PM
Dear me. I suppose our discussion must here come to an end. The only way I can think to continue is by referring to several studies which have been done, along the lines of the one I proposed, which demonstrate a strong correlation between gendered language and gender bias. Given your reaction to the simplest jocular reference to sociological academic inquiry, however, I think I'll refrain from doing so.Good day.
3-24-2009 @ 11:52PM
Oh? You don't care to educate me further? That's a real shame, seeing as how my writing reaches a million people every night.Fortunately for them, I do not have a personal vendetta against the sexist tyranny of the English language. When you're writing for such a broad audience, you see, it helps to keep it simple and straightforward. No "crafts(wo)men" in my scripts, thank you very much!Man, I'm glad this is done.Oh wait. Can I say that? Damn.
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