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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.
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