TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Re: Killer Language From:"Ridder, Fred" <ridderf -at- DIALOGIC -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 15 Nov 1996 15:37:15 -0500
On Thu, 14 Nov 1996 Karl A. Hakkarainen wrote:
>My objection to the terms male and female is that they ascribe human
>qualities to inanimate objects. I know that the terms are widely used
>understood. I also know some people are embarrassed by the terms.
>2. That Apple would specifically call this out is an indicator that a
>different word choice is appropriate in some circumstances.
First, why do you say that "male" and "female" ascribe _human_ gender
qualities? Are there not males and females in the majority of animal
species and quite a few plant species as well?
Second, I find it very hard to believe that even in this age of over-
sensitivity to polital correctness anyone is seriously embarrassed by
these two terms. Do these people honestly blush every time they fill
out an application or registration form?
Third, as much as I admire Apple for some things, and despite the fact
that I have been a Macintosh owner since the very early days, I must
point out that Apple have always been inclined to follow their own path
on terminology. In other words, without debating the validity of style
guides in general, I am suggesting that the Apple style guide should
only be considered definitive for materials targeted to Apple users
rather than publications for a general audience. I'm sure Apple have
their own reasons for avoiding "male" and "female" in relation to
connectors, but these may have very little to do with the potential
embarrassment of their readers.
ridderf -at- dialogic -dot- com
Senior Technical Writer