Friday, October 10, 2008
The end might be the same, but always, when it comes to humanity, the means differ, and are oftentimes almost contradictory.
Consider feminism.
Recently I read this humorous take on an article in the Gaurdian that apparently considered many words, among them, 'daughter', a faux pax. And why? Well, apparently because of the fear that people would be described as someone's daughter, not as themselves, in their own right.
The end- equality- is laudable, but the means are almost laughable.

Yet another more widespread phenomenon is the move towards neutralizing professions of gender. So, actors, whether male or female, are actors, and most definitely not actresses, And authors are authors and never authoresses.
Obviously, the reasoning behind this move is the thought that a particular job has nothing to do with gender. An actor might be male or female, but the word 'actor' in and of itself cannot encompass a person's sex.
Now, I was all for such a move. It embodies feminism.

And then I realized the confines of English.
For in French, the move is quite the opposite.
Words, like ecrivain (writer) which were earlier the same for both genders have now de facto become ecrivaine for women.
The reasoning this time being, I suppose, that since a neutral word often calls to mind a man, there should be a separate word for women.
And why not? After all, for all my being a feminist, whenever I come across, say, a person described as a doctor, I instantly jump to the conclusion that the person is male, and then have to revise my opinion.

Does the end justify the means, or merely lead to a lot of confusion regarding them?
posted by Clezevra @ 7:24 AM  
  • At October 18, 2008 at 1:41 AM, Blogger Aruni RC said…

    Maybe more than the ends it's the path trodden to reach it that matters - if not intrinsically then certainly in the honesty of one's thought.

    Nice blog btw, got your link from pianopoet's comments.

  • At November 11, 2008 at 7:27 AM, Blogger sherin said…

    i've been thinking about the same recently.

    here's a question which was asked in an aptitude test

    two truck drivers met on the road. the first truck driver is the father of the second one's son.what's the relation b/n the two drivers?

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