Friday, 16 March 2018

Purdue Bans the Word ‘Man’

Written by  Katie Petrick

From FreedomProject Media:

Finals will be here before college students recover from their latest hangovers, and that means it is time to write those pesky term papers. And unfortunately for them, the professors will dictate that formatting be done properly and the writing include complete sentences.

For more than two decades, the Online Writing Lab of Purdue University has been a resource to assist students and professionals, alike, in the writing and formatting of formal papers. In surpassing more than 410 million page views in 2016, the OWL is viewed as a trustworthy voice, but there is great danger that the citation website is moving from authoritative to authoritarian.

The OWL recently announced recommendations to remove gender-biased language in formal writing. This means that using the term "man" in the general context is no longer advised. The updated writing guidelines are attempting to avoid " stereotypes and biased language."

"Biased language frequently occurs with gender, but can also offend groups of people based on sexual orientation, ethnicity, political interest, or race," OWL states.

The OWL provides the new guidelines with examples of what it means by eliminating the use of "man." Freshmen, sorry fresh-people, and all the formal paper authors are instructed to not reference mankind but choose humanity instead. Man-made should not be mentioned but replaced with manufactured. And the phrase "common man" is pejorative, so use average person or ordinary person. OWL clearly misses the use of man and son in all of their replacement options. And yet, because OWL has been viewed respectfully to this point, no one will blink an eye at the changes and just take them as something to add.

OWL's jumping on the political bandwagon has ripple effects that it may not have been thought through to its natural consequences, or maybe it has and simply does not care about the English language. Think about all of the terms and phrases that must be torn down and eliminated with the removal of man from writing.

To read the rest of the article and watch a related video, click here.

Photo: Purdue9394/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images Plus

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