A title for Bill Clinton and the larger question of labels

 

Should he be first lad, first laddie or first dude? First husband, first gentleman or first mate? Mr. President or Governor Clinton? The question of finding a title for Bill Clinton, were Hillary Clinton to be elected President, has been the subject of much mirthful noise on social media platforms.

Whether or not Bill Clinton becomes the first male spouse of an incumbent President, we are suddenly confronted with the question of finding a neutral title. Truth be told, we have already been seized of this necessity. When women became the CEOs of companies, there was a scramble to find a substitute for the cumbersome ‘Chairwoman’ and Chairperson was agreed upon as a gender-neutral term. Actress is passé and authoress antiquated. It is all about actors and authors nowadays. For drivers and conductors, cooks, teachers and doctors, neuter-general terms have always been the norm. As has been the case for Presidents and Prime Ministers.

Taking advantage of the high profile discussion generated by the American election, I wonder if it is possible to settle for gender neuter terms for several categories: a beginning could be made with ‘partner’ or ‘spouse’ instead of husband and wife; ‘sibling’ instead of brother and sister; and ‘offspring’ instead of daughter or son.

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This entry was posted in Mass movements, Musings and tagged , by kshama. Bookmark the permalink.

About kshama

I'm a writer of stories - for the young and the old, for children and adults. I write fiction and non-fiction: novels, essays, short stories... I also research on a subject very close to my heart: the education of the under-privileged. The output of some of my work - stories, novels and essays - is available at http://revathikumaran.wordpress.com I also blog at https://kshama.wordpress.com

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