Words You Can’t Use at Princeton University: Mankind, Manpower, Forefathers — Even Freshman!?
Oh man. Oh person!
The human resources department at Princeton University last year sent out a four-page memo spelling out a more gender-inclusive language policy for any kind of HR interaction.
The policy — which the Ivy League university's Institutional Equity Planning Group says is preferred campus policy — strikes out the use of nearly 40 words and common phrases that include "man" or differentiate gender.
Here are some highlights from the changes:
- Instead of forefathers, use the term "ancestors."
- Instead of mankind, use "humanity" or "people." (Keep in mind the definition of mankind means the human species collectively)
- Instead of man and wife, use "spouses" or "partners."
- Forget about man hours, man made or manpower. It's now "person hours," "handmade" or "manufactured," and "personnel" or "workforce."
- Don't say cleaning lady, actress or policewoman. Say "office cleaner," "actor," and "police officer."
- And my favorite: Instead of freshman, use "first year students" or "frosh."
A spokesman — sorry, spokesperson — for the university told TheCollegeFix.com that the guidelines “reflect the university’s initiative of fostering an inclusive environment.”
I have absolutely no issue whatsoever with expanding traditional gender pronouns like she/her and he/him to include other gender variations.
Although a lot of people will have some reading up to do in terms of what is and isn't appropriate, if you identify as transgender or genderqueer, you should be referred to with the pronouns that suit you.
While it makes more sense to use "their" in place of "him/her" in many instances, the extremes that Princeton is taking this to is concerning.
In fact, Princeton University should absolutely change its name in light of this policy. Early versions of the name of the town that became Princeton include Princetown and Prince's Town. I'm no expert, but I believe that implies a man founded their town. One of our
As a proud member and advocate of the LGBTQ community, I will support any measure that leads to inclusion for all, no matter how you identify sexually or where you land on the gender spectrum. This, however, is an abomination.
It will be interesting to see how far Princeton takes this in the months and years to come.
— Joe Votruba works at New Jersey 101.5, WPG's sister station -- err, um, probably can't say that... let's go with "radio station owned by the same company."