Re[8]: Killer Language

Subject: Re[8]: Killer Language
From: Iain Harrison <iharrison -at- SCT -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 1996 13:56:33 GMT

Karl replies:

My objection to the terms male and female is that they
ascribe human gender qualities to inanimate objects. I know
that the terms are widely used and understood. I also know
some people are embarrassed by the terms. So, if we can use
other terms as valid and unambiguous alternatives, I prefer
to do so. If we cannot, then we should use male and female
to describe the components.

The Style Guide issue comes up from two reasons:

1. Some writers are obliged, by company or department
policy, to use certain style guides.

2. That Apple would specifically call this out is an
indicator that a different word choice is appropriate in
some circumstances.

It may be news to some people, but gender is not unique to
humans. All animals and virtually all plants have male and/or
female gender. This may be offensive or embarrassing to some
people, but that really is a problem they should get medical
attention for, not bring in an editor.

It is a simple fact that just about everyone on this planet is
male or female. If they have a problem with this, I don't think
there is much I can do about it from here.

What are these valid and unambiguous alternatives to the terms
male and female? You don't suggest any at all, let alone concise
and universally understood ones.

I think Apple is wrong in this. Completely wrong.

iharrison -at- sct -dot- co -dot- uk

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