Wednesday, June 13, 2007

people and women (paca)

I know I'm not the first person to notice this, but notice it I did.

When something awful happens to the men in a nation, it is described as happening to the entire people. When something awful happens to the women in a nation, it happens to women.


Mamaebeth said...

i realized from linguistics that in most cultures, women are an exclusive group and men are inclusive. that's why in french for example "elles" is only used for a group of women exclusively and "ils" is used if there is even one fella there.
there are all sorts of reprecussions from this idea, some good, some bad.

pacatrue said...

That's true, -e. Good point. There's supposedly a fight going on in France as well currently about terms like "femme medecin" - female doctor. A male doctor is of course just a "medecin", not a homme medecin. The problems with the term are clear, but supposedly some female doctors like the designation. I forget the argument there.

pacatrue said...

Just to add, linguistically, it's a trait of English as well. Mankind, chairman, to man the phones, etc.

Sammy Jankis said...

And lest we forget, "The Man in the Mirror". ACK!