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Old December 22nd, 2010, 11:59 pm
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 NumberEight View Post
I don't think there's anything wrong with a female officer in a television series being called "sir."
Let me remind you then of what you yourself wrote in the BSG thread:
Originally Posted by NumberEight View Post
As for the gender-equality issue, well, I don't care about that. It doesn't bother me. I would be flattered if I was addressed as "Sir" if I was a female officer, as it would make me feel equal to my male counterparts.
THAT is what's wrong. That to you being addressed as "Ma'am" is inferior to being addressed as "Sir". Man's the superior part of the sex duality in a lot of people's minds.

So, whatever her accomplishments, a female officer is not "equal to her male counterparts" unless she's addressed with a male form of address?

Originally Posted by NumberEight View Post
If reality was reversed, that women were considered superior and male officers were addressed as "ma'am," would the same opinion be held?

Seriously, I have to wonder if some of you think "woman" is a terrible word because the word contains "man" in it.
First question: Yes, the same opinion would be held.

Second comment: That's only true in the English language, and no one in here has spoken up against it.

Originally Posted by NumberEight View Post
I'm just checking to see if there's a double standard. To complain about "sir" in a television program that is inherently unrealistic and never strives to be the opposite just seems a bit strange.
TV shows are part of the popular culture, and reflects the mores of that culture. That this happens in a show where equality between the sexes is taken for granted makes it more shocking from a linguistic point of view. As someone pointed out before, in other, just as unrealistic TV shows or movies, women officers are addressed as "Ma'am".

The only exception I can think of is the Mountie in "Due South" who addresses his female superior officer as "Sir" - which actually shocked my husband and me at the time - but in his case, said superior had, ahem, designs on him, and it's possible that the "Sir" was meant as a subtle (or not so subtle) deterrent. In all other shows with military or military-type settings, female officers are always "Ma'am".

In BSG, to boot, the female Prez, Laura Roslin is "Ma'am" unless she gives a particularly harsh order, in which case it's a reluctant "Yes, Sir".

I don't see how when people complain about the use of "actress". I think we should completely rewrite languages to get rid of that and languages that use a masculine and feminine form.
Well, in this case we agree since I'm among those who would like the feminine form used when the word does exist in the language. In English, "actress", "heroine", "goddess", "queen", "princess", "shepherdess", "heiress", "murderess" et al. all have my vote.

ETA - Yoana, that was a wonderful message. Thanks for sharing.

ETA 2 - Canis, we posted at about the same time, so I only saw your post after mine was up. I'll have to read it carefully before I respond, should I feel a response necessary. Very interesting, though.

At first sight, after just a brief perusal, I'd say it confirms what both Melanie and I say, that somehow the feminine form of a word has, or has taken on, a negative connotation. The thing she and I disagree about is the way to do away with that negative connotation.

Concerning how to address a mixed group of people - They may not all be senators, trustees, whatever... So I think that "Ladies and Gentlemen" - in French "Mesdames et Messieurs" is the best and "safest" way to go about it. Let's say a TV host greets his audience. In France, it would be "Mesdames et Messieurs". Though, in the US, things being generally informal, "Hi, folks" would be OK. In France, the newscasters always start with "Mesdames, Messieurs, bonjour/bonsoir". In the US, it's just "Good morning", "Good afternoon" or "Good evening". Melanie, how is it in the UK? MmeB, do they say "Seņoras y Seņores" in Spain?

Last edited by FleurduJardin; December 23rd, 2010 at 12:41 am. Reason: ETAs
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