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Old December 21st, 2010, 6:04 am
FleurduJardin  Female.gif FleurduJardin is offline
Join Date: 16th July 2006
Location: Shuttling between Europe & US
Posts: 1,607
Re: Feminism: Definitions and Opinions

Originally Posted by Pox Voldius View Post
Reminds me of a scene from The King and I (1956) --

Anna Leonowens: "Please, do tell me, why do you keep calling me 'sir'?"
Lady Thiang: "Because you scientific, not lowly like woman."
That is exactly my point, thank you Pox.

That is also why I fight so hard for the feminine word to be used when it exists in languages (like English) where the articles are neutral, or, in languages where the articles are not neutral, that the feminine article is used for a woman if the word is the same ("le" ministre, "la" ministre).

Originally Posted by DancingMaenid
In Spanish, which uses different forms of words depending on the gender of the people being referred to, defaults to the masculine forms when talking about a mixed group of people. You never default to the feminine form.
It's the same thing in French. Unfortunately that's a grammatical rule we cannot change. In French, even an animal, or an inanimate object, if it is in the masculine, will determinate the form the adjective or complement will take. Like "A dog and a woman were kidnapped", "kidnapped" will take the masculine plural form. Ditto for "A truck and several nuns were seen", "seen" will be in the masculine plural.

So, since we have to live with it, I have no problem with "a group of actors" meaning both actors and actresses. Or at least I accept it as inevitable. But I strenuously oppose a woman calling herself an "actor", not when the word "actress" exists, or people hailing a woman as a "hero" when the word "heroine" exists. I'm not for inventing new words because a woman enters a profession that was exclusively male before (though, in French, when they started having male birth attendants, they were quick enough to invent a new word instead of using the feminine existing one) - but I am for using feminine words when they already exist and have been in use for centuries.

Reminds me of an article I saw recently (but which was written some decades ago) where Amelia Earhart was referred to as an "aviatrix" - or, in legalese, the use of the word "executrix" (of a will) - but I won't push it, as no one uses those forms nowadays, except for... "dominatrix".

ETA: It really bothers me that in a TV series like BattleStar Galactica, where the two genders are totally equal - there are both men and women pilots, commanders, admirals, presidents, etc. They dress the same, they even have the same communal bathrooms and showers, they do the same work, but the women with power are still "Sir" to show that they are not "lowly women".

It's the only show of that kind that does that. In others, from JAG to Babylon 5 to Star Trek Voyager (which has a female captain), the female officers are all "Ma'am". I wonder why this difference in BSG.

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