So, your Landlord is now your… Owner? UN-backed list of ‘gender-neutral’ terms met with brutal mockery
The UN has rolled out a shortlist of gender-neutral terms that should be utilized when you’re unsure of a person’s gender. The exercise in language-policing, however, seems to have seriously flopped, after it got shredded online.
The list was posted online on Monday by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality, also known as ‘UN Women,’ and contains a handful of examples of words that should be used to try not to offend someone through misgendering him/her/them.
What you say matters.Help create a more equal world by using gender-neutral language if you're unsure about someone's gender or are referring to a group. https://t.co/QQRFPY4VRn#GenerationEquality via@UN_Womenpic.twitter.com/koxoAZZuxq— United Nations (@UN) May 18, 2020
“Help create a more equal world by using gender-neutral language if you’re unsure about someone’s gender or are referring to a group,” the agency urged. Its shortlist promptly went viral – but probably not in the way the UN entity expected.
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Many social media users were particularly baffled by the suggestion of calling a landlord an "owner." Misgendering aside, using such a term would make some conversations both awkward and confusing.
This can't have been written by a native English speaker.Landlord, for instance, is self-explanatory."Jim is my landlord.""Jim is my owner." -What?"Jim is the owner of my house." -What?"Jim is the owner of the house in which I live." -Oh, he's your landlord!— Rorate Caeli (@RorateCaeli) May 18, 2020
Landlord->owner is definitely my favorite one of the bunch."My owner has said that their partner is coming to mow the lawn today."Thanks, UN, for being such a great contribution to global understanding.— SageWolf2011 (@SageWolf2011) May 18, 2020
Others pointed out that the "family name" and "maiden name" are actually two different things which simply cannot be mutually substituted.
Maiden name and family name are distinct things though. The maiden name is the surname the person used to have before marriage. Family name can easily mean the surname they have now. You didn’t think think that one through, you’re creating ambiguity.— Godot (@GodotIsW8ing4U) May 18, 2020
Many Twitter commenters accused the UN of trying to police language, condemning the gender-neutral list as coming straight from some Orwellian alternative reality.
Instead of United Nations say World Thought Police.— Angela (@Angela60650391) May 18, 2020
Some pointed out that while the UN tried – and apparently failed – with this exercise in English, in many other languages virtually all the words are gender specific and staying "gender-neutral" in these languages is virtually impossible.
Dear @UN some languages are gender specific and assign female gender to even inanimate objects. Some have different phraseology depending on the gender of the speaker. Are these to be abolished/ reformed? Since what we say matters, What does the @UN do about these?— Chijioke Akwukwaegbu (@chijiblaze) May 18, 2020
😂 are you going to rewrite all languages that incorporate grammatical gender? Or is that suppressing a culture. Enjoy chasing your tail 🐸— CensorshipBot (@BotCensorship) May 18, 2020
A lot of users have apparently missed the "if you're unsure about someone's gender" part, believing that the UN was forcing them to use the terms all the time, and raging over that.
I'm going to sue the pants off of the UN for triggering me and forcing me to do something I don't want to do!— Got tired of people not knowing a nursery rhyme (@SnowmaidenSkadi) May 18, 2020
So instead of girlfriend you want me to say partner? That's gay af— Alexandru Curca (@AlexandruCurca) May 18, 2020
A handful, however, delved way too deep into the matter, suggesting unconventional solutions to the issue.
I vote we just change "Man" to heman. Woman has man in it. So that means we can keep all the "man" suffixes and it will be equal. Mankind would be both woMan and heMan. Jasper has solved sexism https://t.co/FrO21NdptP— Jasper (@root27_) May 18, 2020
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