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From: Jamie Lokier <jamie@shareable.org>
To: "Eric W. Biederman" <ebiederm@xmission.com>
Cc: Robert Love <rml@tech9.net>, "J.A. Magallon" <jamagallon@able.es>,
	linux-kernel@vger.kernel.org
Subject: Re: [OT] Re: [PATCH] protect migration/%d etc from sched_setaffinity
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2003 17:15:29 +0100	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <20030801161529.GB12501@mail.jlokier.co.uk> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <m1u191ws6r.fsf@frodo.biederman.org>

Eric W. Biederman wrote:
> > So, since administrators come in both sexes, I picked one.
> 
> Except the convention in English is to use the male in that case.
> Using the female pronoun tends to distract from the point.

That's right.  Many words in English come with a conventional gender,
based on a conventional gender role assignment:

	Doctor     -> male
	Carpenter  -> male
	Baker      -> male
	President  -> male
	Nurse      -> female
	Maid       -> female
	Cleaner    -> female
	Prostitute -> female

etc.  I picked some of the more emotive ones for the above list.

It has been shown that then such words are used in stories, without
any mention of one gender or the other, nearly everyone assumes that
the person so described has the conventional gender for the role.

This is not some flimsy, irrelevant observation.  The assumption is
strong enough that it is very effective at misleading about who is who
in a story.  (Unfortunately I don't have such a story to hand.)  And
it most certainly affects who ends up working in which field.

There are words which do not have such a strong gender role these
days, too.  Newsreader, for example, would have been strictly male at
one time but not any more.  Context matters.  Secretary, for example,
would depend on whether you mean a secretary in a small business, or a
secretary of state.  Administrator is another: System Administrator or
Network Administrator is quite male (oddly, - as all the sysadmins I
know are female), but Office Administration strikes me as assumedly
female.

As you can see from the latter two examples, a word _itself_ does not
imply a linguistic sex.  The role is what is significant.

Many people don't like the stereotyping, and the (significant) social
inequality which is reinforced by this, and choose to do their bit to
alter (possibly correct) the collective view of how things are, or
ought to be.

You're right that it distracts from the point, but then to _not_
distract from the point is to perpetuate social inequality, or
something like that...

> There are plenty of plural forms that do not imply gender at all.
> As in:
> 
> > Yah, I know. But this is a lot of code just to prevent root users from hanging
> > themselves, and there are plenty of other ways they can do that.

That is the most neutral.  Alas, plurals are often that bit more
cumbersome and dry.  Depends whether you're evoking a reference manual
or a personal story, I guess :)

-- Jamie

  reply	other threads:[~2003-08-01 16:15 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 20+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2003-07-31 22:46 [PATCH] protect migration/%d etc from sched_setaffinity Joe Korty
2003-07-31 22:47 ` Andrew Morton
2003-07-31 23:11   ` Joe Korty
2003-07-31 23:17     ` Andrew Morton
2003-07-31 23:41       ` Robert Love
2003-08-01  0:01       ` Joe Korty
2003-07-31 23:02 ` Robert Love
2003-07-31 23:06   ` Joe Korty
2003-07-31 23:18     ` Robert Love
2003-07-31 23:16       ` Joe Korty
2003-07-31 23:27         ` Robert Love
2003-07-31 23:26           ` Joe Korty
2003-07-31 23:18       ` [OT] " J.A. Magallon
2003-07-31 23:37         ` Robert Love
2003-08-01 11:09           ` Eric W. Biederman
2003-08-01 16:15             ` Jamie Lokier [this message]
2003-08-01 17:31               ` Eric W. Biederman
2003-08-01 17:55                 ` Jamie Lokier
2003-08-01 18:39                   ` Sean Estabrooks
2003-08-01 17:37             ` Robert Love

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