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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.
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