No ‘man’ allowed: Your reactions to Princeton’s gender-neutral speech code
PRINCETON — Princeton University's one small step to eradicate gendered words isn't exactly a giant leap for
News that the Ivy League school's human resources department is trying to do away with dozens of words and phrases such as manpower, policeman and even freshmen, didn't sit well with many readers and listeners.
As New Jersey 101.5 producer Joe Votruba mansplained this week, the university's attempt at more gender-inclusive language policy goes to a length most people would balk at.
"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," he said.
On our Twitter poll, nearly everyone was in agreement that the policy was a horrible idea.
Twitter users thought the policy went too far.
This reader said the prohibition on the word "forefathers" would lead to inaccuracies.
On the New Jersey 101.5 Facebook page, most readers — but not all — also jeered the policy.
Julie Woodrow, for example, wasn't alone in lamenting the current state of higher education.
"These kids, if they make it four years, are going to end up rocking back and forth in the fetal position at their first job because they can't handle ANYTHING," she said.
"Some of the brightest minds in the county and THIS is what garners their concentration and attention," added Jen Brown.
Julie Angarone thought the policy might be counterproductive.
"Instead of increasing gender equality, it is making women even more invisible," she said.
A couple of readers drew parallels to dystopian novels.
"Is this New Speak[?]" Robbin Schukin said. "I thought [it] was 2016 not 1984."
"The Giver becoming reality," Michele Keenan added.
Other readers stressed that the policy only applied to the human resources department, not everyone on campus.
On Joe's story, Plinda Joblonski pointed out that New Jersey 101.5's articles frequently say "police officer" instead of "policeman."
"The world is a different place than it was 50 years ago when most 'employees' were men," she writes. "To me this seems [consistent] with what is happing in the world and not run away 'political correctness' as some of the posters here claim."
New Jersey 101.5, as most media organizations do, follows the Associated Press Stylebook, which, despite criticism from some, still calls for gendered suffixes such as spokeswoman or chairman instead of spokesperson or chair.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.