Posted by: victanguera | September 5, 2008

Political Correctness

I actually don’t like political correctness in our speech. It creates blandness as we try to dance around admitting mundain things. Like for example, a female that serves someone in a restaurant was once termed a waitress. Now we have to call them waitpersons. Wait, it’s a person. Oh, sorry. You didn’t mean that as a pun.

Taken to new heights, our word processing programs now screen our writing for misuse of gender specific terms. And I’m old fashioned so I use a few. And don’t change them as I write. Sorry if it offends anyone, as no offence is intended. But I for one actually like being a woman. I’m pretty happy with my gender and don’t want to correct it, politically or otherwise.

Today, I used the term gentleman in a new bit of writing. In the context of the story, the word I chose fits every meaning of the word. You know the one–the guy who opens the door for a woman, pulls out her chair and takes her into consideration. But wait, I’m not allowed to use that term. It isn’t politically correct. Instead, I have to call him a man or a person. Well uh… doesn’t that take away the meaning of the term.

From the online Merriam-Webster dictionary:

gen·tle·man
Pronunciation:
\ˈjen-təl-mən, ˈje-nəl-, in rapid speech also ˈjen-tə-mən, ˈje-nə-\
Function:
noun
Usage:
often attributive
Etymology:
Middle English gentilman
Date:
12th century
1 a: a man of noble or gentle birth b: a man belonging to the landed gentry c (1): a man who combines gentle birth or rank with chivalrous qualities (2): a man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of propriety or correct behavior d (1): a man of independent means who does not engage in any occupation or profession for gain (2): a man who does not engage in a menial occupation or in manual labor for gain2: valet —often used in the phrase gentleman’s gentleman3: a man of any social class or condition —often used in a courteous reference <show this gentleman to a seat> or usually in the plural in address <ladies and gentlemen>
gen·tle·man·like \-mən-ˌlīk\ adjective
gen·tle·man·like·ness noun

Wouldn’t we want a man who “performs to the highest standard of propriety” instead of someone who scratches themselves in public and spits on the sidewalk? Strange how we devalue our own language and our own selves by trying so hard to preserve the worth of select groups.

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Responses

  1. You might appreciate the blog post you inspired, entitled “Being born into the Landed Gentry is like holding the winning lottery ticket” at http://lvtfan.typepad.com/

    Thank you!

    Most of the time when I hear the word “gentleman” these days, it is a polite term for “alleged perpetrator!” … but that isn’t where my blog post went.

  2. […] bookmarks tagged chivalrous Political Correctness saved by 5 others     Shippoluver373 bookmarked on 09/12/08 | […]

  3. I really hate PC in speech too. It’s really annoying. And I still call a waitress a waitress. Waitperson sounds pathetic 😛

    I’m in a “politically correct” position–I’m an “administrative assistant”–I think it’s a fancy term for being a secretary. And most of the time I call myself that–a secretary. I’m not offended by it (though I found it funny one day when a fellow member of my critique group seemed shocked that I would refer to myself as such…:P)

    I understand why being politically correct developed, but now I think it’s gone ridiculously overboard (the waitress thing being an example).

  4. When I’m in a sarcastic mood, I call myself a glorified secretary, even though my “correct” position is Publisher’s Assistant.


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