Sunday, August 7, 2011

This One's For the... Women?

I'm feeling motivated.  From where, you might ask, is this new found inspiration of mine?  Well, the answer lies in a recent conversation with people who have a higher rank than I do.  This will have to be reported gingerly, as people who don't know they are being listened to say things they might not fully mean.  At any rate, I have gotten into the habit of explaining to people that the use of the term "women" has become taboo in the military in places it should not be taboo.  Also, the word "female" is overused and a very sterile term used when it is either unnecessary to identify gender or in order to avoid non-PC terms like "chick", "babe", "girls", or any number of unsavory and demeaning terms for "women."  It was explained to me like this:  when it is appropriate to differentiate by gender and you would have to use the term "male" than it is okay and encouraged to use the term "female," however when you would say "Soldier", "Officer", or "Men" than it is appropriate to use "women" or "ladies."  Besides the terms "male/female" are used outside of the military when you describe animals not people.  How many times have you referred to a group of guys or girls and said, "The males are going to the bachelor party while the females go to the bridal shower."  Um... probably never.

So I now educate small groups of people on this difference whenever an opportunity comes along, usually when having to wait an extraordinary time for something and someone says "female" unnecessarily.  I don't bring it up if there's a time crunch... but anyway someone above me overheard my spiel and he made a point to tease me about it. Which was funny the first couple of times... but after the third day began the same way I brought it up with him and asked politely if he found the concept really so amusing.  Considering he worked in the psychology dept. I was a bit surprised he was making so much fun when it really was an Army-wide habit that I was still guilty of from time to time in spite of self-correcting whenever possible.

I have been batting around "fem-servations" lately on the position of women in the world.  I want to see even more progress.  I can't let the lack of progress frustrate my performance... but I can certainly move towards the goal of forwarding women's interests either with this blog or with articles or some other outlet for this.  Or a combination of those things.  So with this blog, I address the "female" vs "ladies" question.  I've also neatly separated the unrelated and emotional preface from the actual 'meat' of this article.  And I hope this helps with future blogs as well.  This is one of a list of issues I plan on addressing this week.  So more to follow - and soon!

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