Author Topic: Gender blindness  (Read 16792 times)

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Offline CooperHawkes

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This isn't page 10!

So it's not a problem to call women in the BSGverse "Sir". On the other hand... it shouldn't be a problem to call Mr. Fat Lee "Ma'am". Right? Especially after the Pegasus incident.

Does it work both ways? Should it work both ways?
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Offline General Battuta

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Given that 'sir' was apparently originally a gender-neutral term when it came into being, whereas madam/ma'am never was (I believe)? No, don't think so.

 

Offline z64555

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I think sir is descendant from "sire" which means lord, master, leader, etc.

Ma'am however descendant from "madam," which could also be descendant from "My Dame"... which is also a title of rank.

However, if you'll notice that there's a "My" in front of it, which could be one of the reasons why it could be considered derogative.
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Offline General Battuta

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I think sir is descendant from "sire" which means lord, master, leader, etc

Yeah I think it's descended from 'signeur', lord, or so sayeth NGTM-1R. Probably didn't get all that many wimmen lords though.

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

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Dame's the female counterpart I think. Like Judy Dench. Although the My is dropped . . . . This would be so much easier in the olden days.

 

Offline z64555

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Didn't the Olde Celtics have a culture that had women lords? or maybe I'm thinking of a native American tribe or two...
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funtapaz: Hunchon University biologists prove mankind is evolving to new, higher form of life, known as Homopithecus Juche.
z64555: s/J/Do
BotenAlfred: <funtapaz> Hunchon University biologists prove mankind is evolving to new, higher form of life, known as Homopithecus Douche.

 
I forget her name but wasn't there a Celtic woman leader that gave the Romans hell for awhile?
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Offline General Battuta

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I forget her name but wasn't there a Celtic woman leader that gave the Romans hell for awhile?

Yes. Boadicea/Boudica.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Yeah I think it's descended from 'signeur', lord, or so sayeth NGTM-1R.

I'm just quoting Wikipedia.
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Offline Colonol Dekker

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I forget her name but wasn't there a Celtic woman leader that gave the Romans hell for awhile?

Yes. Boadicea/Boudica.

Queen of the Iceni tribe.

 

Offline Snagger

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Didn't the Olde Celtics have a culture that had women lords? or maybe I'm thinking of a native American tribe or two...
Quite a few cultures around the globe are/were matriarchal - the Iceni weren't in anyway unique or even rare in that respect.

 

Offline z64555

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I wasn't too great in Social Studies back in the day. I'm doing good to remember what day the 4th of July is.  :p
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funtapaz: Hunchon University biologists prove mankind is evolving to new, higher form of life, known as Homopithecus Juche.
z64555: s/J/Do
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Offline z64555

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Just had a thought... if "My Dame" is considered demeaning, then why isn't "My Lord?"

I'm thinking that there's another reason behind all this...
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funtapaz: Hunchon University biologists prove mankind is evolving to new, higher form of life, known as Homopithecus Juche.
z64555: s/J/Do
BotenAlfred: <funtapaz> Hunchon University biologists prove mankind is evolving to new, higher form of life, known as Homopithecus Douche.

 

Offline General Battuta

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If it's going to be considered demeaning, it's because women are associated with positions of secondary authority, child care, emotion and weakness.

 
here's an interesting tidbit:

Quote
The title of Dame is the female equivalent of the honour of knighthood in the British honours system (The word 'damehood' is not used). It is also the equivalent form address to 'Sir' for a knight. A woman appointed to the grades of Commander or Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, Order of St Michael and St George or Royal Victorian Order or Knight of the Order of the British Empire becomes a Dame. Because there is no female equivalent of a Knight Bachelor, women are always appointed to an order of chivalry. Women who are appointed to the Order of the Garter or Order of the Thistle are not given the title of "Dame" but "Lady".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dame_(title)

and

Quote
Madam, or madame, is a polite title used for women which, in English, is the equivalent of Mrs. or Ms., and is often found abbreviated as ma'am, and less frequently as ma'm. It is derived from the French madame, which means "my lady", the feminine form of lord; the plural of ma dame in this sense is mes dames. The French is in turn derived from the Latin mea domina, meaning "my mistress (of the house)".[1] "Madam" is also found used to refer to a woman who owns or runs a brothel,[2][3] though the abbreviated form "ma'am" is not used in this respect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madame

 
Just had a thought... if "My Dame" is considered demeaning, then why isn't "My Lord?"

I'm thinking that there's another reason behind all this...

My Lady and My Lord both mean the same thing: My Master.

Quote
If it's going to be considered demeaning, it's because women are associated with positions of secondary authority, child care, emotion and weakness.

If someone considers calling someone a 'she' (which is bassicly what calling someone 'ma'am' is, calling someone a 'supuriour she') is associating the term with a position of secondary authority, then that is his or her problem. There have been quite a few instances where a women certainly wasn't a secondary authority (many a monarchy, for example).

 

Offline newman

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This topic's been dead for a month and a half.
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Offline StarSlayer

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This topic's been dead for a month and a half.

Ha Ha I'm back from the dead Assholes!
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Offline Horizon

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There was a time when a few military institutions and even corporations used the term "Sir" to refer to both male and female members of heirarchy.  The reason was to level the playing field of those subordinate.  At the time, the men of the service were entirely used to calling their leaders "Sir."  In fact, they did so automatically, as indoctrinated in them during training.  When they first allowed women to serve in the military, the term was carried with them as well, to ease the transition of those beneath and around them.  It carried the weight of authority for them more than 'ma'am' did, which was important for the psychological acceptance of those working beneath. 

I'm not aware of it being used such anymore, but there was a time when it was common.  It was also meant to give the women of the service, who worked so hard for their positions of respect, a feeling of being equal to their male counterparts in said authority and respect. 

It is a throwback to that time, when it was considered progressive and equal instead of awkward.  Their goal, literally as you say, was to be "Gender-Blind."  In the 60s and 70s, when progressive movements started in earnest for women in the military, forward leaning aspirations from places like hollywood and television promoted this ideal and idea for blindness through..you guessed it, Sci-Fi stories, fantasy stories, and the like.  Sci-Fi has always been a platform for pushing new human rights' ideas and presenting complex human issues in ways that do not offend or alarm anyone. 

I honestly think that using the "Sir" for everyone, even in the minds of those watching the new series, makes us truly think of a society that has put gender-bias behind them in the military a long time ago and never thought twice about it, hence never changing the "Sir" to "Ma'am," which is another manifestation of "I'm not quite comfortable with this and need to seperate male and female authority in my mind." 
« Last Edit: February 05, 2011, 01:32:58 pm by Horizon »