Strange, but why are ‘lads’ being singled out? - GulfToday

Strange, but why are ‘lads’ being singled out?

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

British Soldiers

British army employs a large number of female officers. (Image: Twitter)

Soldiers in the British Army have been instructed not to refer to each other as ‘lads’. Because there are females also serving in the military, the army reckons they will find the term offensive since it is not inclusive; it refers only to the male officers thereby excluding the females.

For those not familiar with the British English vernacular, the word ‘lads’ is a colloquial term used to address and refer collectively to males only. It’s an informal term often used by teachers in boys’ schools and peers and superiors in many group situations where there are usually only males present. It’s rarely, if ever, used in offices, hospitals or government offices. But it is fairly common in all boys’ schools, in sports and in the military.

I still find it somewhat odd that females can be offended so easily. I mean, what does it matter what terms are being used in various situations? Their being used does not negate the presence of women in various establishments. I agree that there were many institutions around the world where females were not permitted entry simply because of their gender. But when that wall started to crack, and in some cases, came down, a lot of offensive things must have been said about females along the way by those running those establishments, things that are far worse than calling things by their well established and proper terminology.

‘Lads’ is a normal term. ‘Chairman’, ‘mankind’ and ’manager’ are all acceptable English words. But I wonder if they will one day become obsolete because females don’t like their usage. Another example of terms that are no longer used are ‘airhostess’ because they refer specifically to females. The male equivalent didn’t seem to exist; there was no ‘airhost’. There was, however, a ‘steward’ and then ‘stewardess’ came into use. But now it seems neither terms are frequently used by airlines, both having been replaced by ‘cabin crew’ which encompasses both male and female employees.

In fact, there are so many words in the English language that were traditionally used only to refer to males. They are now used to refer to both males and females and they should not be changed if the feminist movement suddenly decided they were non-inclusive because it would just sound odd. Plus they would be stretching it a bit if the words were manipulated to accommodate both genders. For example, a female ‘soldier’ should not be a ‘soldeiress’, nor a female ‘professor’ be a ‘professoress’, a female doctor a ‘doctoress’, a female ‘dentist’ a ‘dentistess’, a female ‘lawyer’ a lawyeress’, female ‘Engineer’ an ‘Engineeress’ or female ‘supervisor’ a ‘supervisoress’, to name but a few.  

Reading the potential changes, the words begin to sound ludicrous which means they should not be changed, ever. Likewise, a female ‘pilot’ should never be a ‘pilotess’ nor a female ‘fighter’ be a ‘fightress’. Imagine the garbled result of changing ‘fighter pilot’ to ‘fighteresspilotess’. It’s true that the suffix does work with some terms like ‘manageress’ and chairwoman’ but there are many to which adding any suffix does not work.

The English language may indeed be butchered beyond recognition. There are already annual additions to various English dictionaries around the world. Addition of commonly used words in a previous year isa tradition that will never go away, nor will the creation of new words and terms. We all accept them because we’ve used them over the years, words like ‘selfie’, ‘social distancing’, Googling’ and ‘climate emergency’ are in the dictionaries because of us.

But strangely enough there are some words that have never been, nor will they ever be, challenged by feminists. Terms like ‘mother’, ‘father’, ‘sister’, ‘brother’, ‘uncle’ or ‘aunt’ are traditional the world over. It appears to suggest that, for some reason, females do not find these terms offensive. Why? Since, traditionally, they were always used to refer to a specific gender. Perhaps they are picking their battles?

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