Princeton HR department style guide eliminates the word “man”

Princeton HR department style guide eliminates the word “man”

Princeton HR department style guide eliminates the word “man”

What is it with higher education and the curtailing of speech? I am really getting fed up with these guides that purport to promote “gender inclusive” language. Starting with the word “inclusive” – right there it is enough to make George Orwell turn over in his grave. What they are really doing is excluding gender from language. Does anyone stop and think while they are scurrying about eliminating words from language, that they might not be “progressing,” but becoming their uptight forefathers, whoops, I mean ancestors?

Princeton shield
Princeton shield and flag: The motto, “Dei Sub Numine Viget,” translates as “Under the Protection of God She Flourishes.” Better get to work on that motto, totally un-PC.

The latest guide excluding gender references has emerged at the HR department at Princeton University. “Gender-inclusive language is writing and speaking about people in a manner that does not use gender based words.” I’ve got news for Princeton, that word “man-ner” looks awfully suspicious to me. I think they are sneaking in some evil masculine message and I am not going to let them get away with it.

See, there’s lots of help out there for you to become more sensitive.

As a matter of fact, I see some additional problems. Person is a word suggested to replace any word with the widely, generically used “man” in the title. So chairman, foreman, spokesman, layman, and so on, should all be replaced with chairperson, foreperson, spokesperson, and layperson. But Princeton failed to recognize that “person” includes the word “son” and I can’t allow them sneak in that mark of lineage which has allowed unfairness in historical inheritance for centuries. A new word for person must be found; it is not an acceptable replacement for man, according to a logical interpretation of their guidelines.


It’s only inclusive if everyone gets to have pink AND blue clothes. Otherwise, they will be #sad.

Further, when referring to man – as in humanity – Princeton has suggested that we use “human beings, humanity, or humans.” How could they miss the obvious here – “man” is clearly present in these words, so under their rules they too must be eliminated.

Princeton suggests “managers and their wives” should be replaced with “managers and their spouses.” Princeton missed the very important masculine imbalance of “man-ager.” Supervisor was an easy fix there. Geez, you only had one job!

Know your pronouns "choices"
Know your pronoun “choices”

Finally, “man made” is out, but Princeton has suggested handmade or manufactured. Clearly, manufactured should never have entered the realm of possibilities for the reasons listed above – “man” is easily found in the word. But handmade also needs to be discarded. It takes very little to see that the word includes the letters “m” and “a” and “n” – it takes only the slightest rearranging to conclude that the hidden “man” can only have the evil purpose of promoting a shadow patriarchy, and it too must be eliminated immediately.

Since words have power, let’s take them away.

In case you need a primer on how to reduce and exclude gender from your own language, don’t miss this short instructional video. Really, you must take a look in order to learn how to make language more ambiguous, more vague, and more ungrammatical. You can practice your new language by “making up stories about the people around you.” For real, y’all.

For goodness sake Princeton, you are Ivy League! I expected a much more introspective and thoughtful revision of the English language from the likes of you. Sloppy work all the way around. I hope you can get your act together soon, or you may be losing students to the University of New Hampshire which has deemed words like American, mothering, fathering, healthy, homosexual, rich, poor, and senior citizen problematic. Or to North Carolina State University who has deemed the phrases “land of opportunity” and “America is a melting pot” as “microagression tool[s].” Or even to the very respectable but decidedly not Ivy League school of University of Tennessee-Knoxville who is way ahead of you in promoting the gender neutral pronouns of ze, hir, and hirs. “You guys” is a problem at University of California DavisMarquette and Chapel Hill are on board too. I mean, come on. Where is the creativity? Where is the sensitivity?

It looks to me like Princeton was just phoning it in. Step up your game Princeton, or be left behind, on the march to excluding everything.

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