Man Oh Man! My Response to Princeton U Banning the ‘M’ Word

By Michael Brown Published on August 22, 2016

The Human Resources department at Princeton wants to ban the “m” word — as in “man.”

As Tom Cicotta reported on, “In an increased effort to be politically correct, a new inclusive language policy from administrators at Princeton University is seeking to end the usage of gender-specific words like ‘man’ on campus.”

Yes, students must “refrain from the use of gendered language,” since the gender binary of male and female “does not take into consideration individuals who identify as otherwise, including and not limited to transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, and/or intersex.”

What, exactly, does this look like in practice?

Instead of saying “average man,” students are urged to say, “average person” or “ordinary person.”

And rather than saying, “best man for the job” they should say, “best person for the job,” while “layman” should be replaced with “layperson” or “non-specialist.”

Of course, “man and wife” has to go, being replaced by the far superior “spouses” or “partners,” while “man hours” is to be replaced by “person hours” or “work hours.” (I can hear someone ask, “So, how many person hours will it take to complete this job?”)

Naturally, “manpower” is out, to be replaced by “personnel” or “staff” or “workers” or “workforce,” while even “manmade” is off limits, to be replaced by “artificial, handmade, manufactured, or synthetic.”

And God forbid you use the word “workmanlike,” since that nasty “m” word is hidden right there in plain sight. Instead, students should say, “skillful.”

What was my response in hearing the news? Well, I was taken aback to read the report, since it struck me as the latest example of PC semantic insanity. But I’m a quick learner, and soon enough, I found myself exclaiming, “Person alive! That’s not bad at all.”

“Yes,” I thought to myself, “I’m glad that Princeton finally humaned up and did what was right. They’re challenging our traditional patriarchy where it hurts, hitting us right in our semantic breadbasket.

And then my mind began to race. The possibilities were almost endless.

A mafia leader will now hire a “hit individual” to take out his rival. That tough strong leader will now be “the big boss person,” while that honest male individual will be a “human of its word.” This is really incredible.

We will now sing that “the candy person can” (hey, who cares about a lost rhyme?), we’ll talk about a band’s “front human,” and we’ll say that “the way to an individual’s heart is through its stomach.” (Yes, I know this was supposed to be about men, but that’s part of the old sexist thinking that we have to reject.)

I got so excited that I finally exclaimed, “Human oh human!” — and then I realized that something was still terribly wrong. Rather than banning the “man” word, Princeton had simply disguised it. After all, why do we say human as opposed to huwoman?

Why must “man” always prevail? Isn’t this further proof of just how dominant and privileged male culture is, not only in our society but also in our language? (Some have even claimed that the alphabet itself has been used to suppress females.)

It looks like Princeton has more work to do, and I offer this challenge to the school’s HR department: Prove yourself to the world and answer the question: Are you an individual or are you a mouse? (Hey, since I can’t say, “Are you a man or are you a mouse,” and since we’ve now eliminated “human” as well, what are we left with? Perhaps, we could ask, “Are you a person or a mouse?”, but that also loses that m-m alliteration in the process, plus some ladies are afraid of mice. This is getting tough!)

What makes this all the more ironic is that Princeton was founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, with the school motto, “Under God’s Power She Flourishes.” And until 1902, every president of Princeton was a minister.

Although seminary training was the school’s first goal, its founding purpose went beyond that: “Though our great Intention was to erect a seminary for educating Ministers of the Gospel, yet we hope it will be useful in other learned professions — Ornaments of the State as Well as the Church.”

Yes, Princeton began with the goal of raising up people of the cloth (aka, individuals of the cloth) but was also happy if those they trained took their solid Christian education and character into every area of society. (Today, that would be called theocratic dominionism.)

As for the makeup of the student body, Princeton did not admit its first female undergraduate students until 1969. (Yes, 1969!)

To all of this I can only say, “Individual alive! It’s great that Princeton is co-ed, but perhaps they have overcompensated for their male-heavy past?”

For my video commentary on this, click here.

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