The United Nations has given a list of several words they consider as politically incorrect and gendered, while suggesting other options for replacement. This comes at a time the world continues to battle the very deadly coronavirus with over 5,000,000 confirmed cases and 300,000 confirmed deaths.
The UN Twitter handle made this tweet hence,
“What you say matters. Help create a more equal world by using gender-neutral language if you’re unsure about someone’s gender or are referring to a group. https://unwomen.org/en #GenerationEquality.”
What followed was a list of dos and don’ts, many of which are already well-known, like replacing “manpower” with “workforce” and “salesman” with “salesperson.”
The agency also snuck in a couple of new additions that raised some eyebrows, if not fists, by demanding that the terms “husband” and “wife,” which have worked fine for centuries, be substituted with the gender-less generic term “spouse.”
This appears to be gotten from their UN women handle which had earlier come under fire for making such claims, considering that a vast majority of both sexes and genders were okay with the title, husband and wife and the UN’s role is in ensuring world peace and not policing languages.
The UN’s guidelines also included a list of gender-biased expressions to avoid, such as ‘she throws like a girl’, ‘in a manly way’ or ‘that’s women’s work’.
The UN’s guideline has suggested that anyone concerned about using discriminatory words should always interchange the words, to see if it suits his or her gender.
People’s reaction to these new guidelines during the pandemic has been nothing short of belligerent as they refer to the UN as putting political correctness ahead of the pandemic.
A verified twitter user, Lucy Harris stated, “Stop trying to control people’s language. It’s creepy and unnecessary.”
Another with handle ZubyMusic stated, “I remember when I used to respect this organisation. We all make mistakes.”
A twitter user with name Rorate Caeli showed how ridiculous it was to change from Landlord to Owner, “This can’t have been written by a native English speaker. Landlord, for instance, is self-explanatory.
“Jim is my landlord.” “Jim is my owner.” -What?
“Jim is the owner of my house.” -What?
“Jim is the owner of the house in which I live.” -Oh, he’s your landlord!”
The organization has since come under attack for its posturing which often aligns to the liberal right than not. This time, it was not just the conservatives that spoke out, centrists and some liberals did too.
At the least, why should language be an issue during a pandemic changing lives for the worse, killing jobs and murdering people?