Too far? Council bans words like ‘manhole’ and ‘sister’ in gender-neutral push

A council in America has sparked outrage for banning gender-specific language. Source: Getty

An American city has sparked outrage after banning commonly used words such as “manhole” and “ombudsman” in favour of more gender-neutral alternatives, in an act that has been labelled “beyond ridiculous”.

Instead of the word ‘manhole’ they will use ‘maintenance hole’ and ‘ombudsman’ will be referred to as ‘ombuds’. Meanwhile, pregnant women will be called ‘pregnant employee’ and heirs will be ‘beneficiaries’. In fact, even words like ‘sister’ and ‘brother’ have been scrapped.

“In recent years, broadening social awareness of transgender and gender nonconforming identities has brought to light the importance of non-binary gender inclusivity,” council member Rigel Robinson explained during the meeting on Tuesday.

“Therefore, it is both timely and necessary to make the environment of City Hall and the language of city legislation consistent with the principles of inclusion.”

The council has banned several everyday words. Source: City of Berkeley Council.
The council has banned several everyday words. Source: City of Berkeley Council.

While the council is all for the changes, others aren’t so sure, with many claiming it’s an instance of ‘PC gone mad’. A flurry of comments have been shared on social media in relation to the alterations, with the majority completely against the idea.

“This is ridiculous, wow, this country has gone crazy,” one person wrote on Twitter.

“Oh my God… for real? Electronics cords with male/female ends are sure to be next. Our world’s sensitivity has become beyond ridiculous,” another said.

While a third added: “The crazy is spreading. Now what everyone has called for the majority of their lives has been changed due to probably four people being offended by the term.”

The council’s decision comes after a major supermarket in the United Kingdom received some stark criticism after it called on shoppers to help name its new gender neutral ‘gingerbread person’.

Co-Op Food reached out to shoppers for assistance in naming their new creation. Consumers were given a sneak peak of the tasty treat, which appeared to have been iced with a grey outfit, and asked to contribute name suggestions, with one stipulation, that they should not be specific to males or females.

“Our food team is adding the final touches to a new Co-op gingerbread person, but they’ve yet to come up with a name,” the company wrote on its website. “They’d like members to join in and suggest a fitting name for our new little biscuity friend.”

Co-op Food went on to explain the treat will be dressed in a range of different outfits and that the name will need to be relevant all year round.

However, rather than receiving a flurry of suggestions, the company came under fire for its decision to create the gingerbread person, with many claiming it’s a case of “PC gone mad”.

“Still can’t believe people have complained that it’s called a gingerbread man,” one person wrote on Twitter. “Next thing we know it’s going to be called a strawberry blonde person. World’s going mad.”

Another referenced the story the gingerbread man is based upon and said: “Run run fast as you can you can’t catch me I am the gingerbread person just doesn’t rhyme anymore. Surely gingerbread man can be a man because he identifies as a man. Surely this is PC gone mad, not just equality madness.”

A third simply added: “Anyone getting offended by gingerbread needs to get out more.”

Do you think changing the words is a case of PC gone mad? Or do you believe it is a good idea?

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