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PC 101: What’s Woke In English Is Sexist in Spanish

Summary:
By: Mark Tovey Emma Corrin has won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a TV Series for her portrayal of Princess Diana in Netflix’s The Crown. Confusingly, Miss Corrin rejects the use of the term “actress,” like so many left-wing luvvies. That didn’t stop her accepting the award, of course. What’s the rationale for eliminating the word “actress”? Well, UK newspaper The Guardian explained in its 2010 style guide that it is sexist to distinguish between genders when referring to professions, as it harks back to a “time when professions were largely the preserve of one sex (usually men).” But isn’t it a bit disconcerting to refer to an actor winning the Best Actress award? What if I told you that it is supposed to be disconcerting, bamboozling, and alienating? You see,

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By: Mark Tovey

Emma Corrin has won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a TV Series for her portrayal of Princess Diana in Netflix’s The Crown.

Confusingly, Miss Corrin rejects the use of the term “actress,” like so many left-wing luvvies.

That didn’t stop her accepting the award, of course.

What’s the rationale for eliminating the word “actress”? Well, UK newspaper The Guardian explained in its 2010 style guide that it is sexist to distinguish between genders when referring to professions, as it harks back to a “time when professions were largely the preserve of one sex (usually men).”

But isn’t it a bit disconcerting to refer to an actor winning the Best Actress award?

What if I told you that it is supposed to be disconcerting, bamboozling, and alienating?

You see, politically correct language doesn’t follow a clear logic. Instead, it is designed to simply be contrary to common practices.

It is a signaling mechanism to separate the “insiders” from the “outsiders.”

I realized this after moving to South America and becoming proficient in Spanish—a long and painful process, as I didn’t start until I was twenty-four, by which point I had lost the brain plasticity of childhood.

I was disappointed to find that the “woke” politics of intersectionality had made the journey from the English-speaking world to South America long before I touched down in January 2018.

However, when it comes to politically correct language, social justice warriors (SJWs) south of the Mexican border have not been able to simply copy the US’s handbook. Clearly, the peculiar mandates of “newspeak” cannot be mapped precisely from English onto Spanish, which is distinct in its vocabulary and grammar.

In fact, on the question of gender-neutral professions, Spanish-speaking SJWs have had to take precisely the opposite stand.

In Argentina, the socialist vice president Cristina Kirchner made headlines in December 2019 when she called an opposition party senator sexist for not using a feminized title. 

In Spanish, most nouns signal male or female by ending in o or a, respectively (a male doctor would be el médico, a female doctor la médica).

However, presidente is one of those rare nouns that does not have a gender, and so—following the logic of politically correct speech in English—you would imagine that followers of “woke” politics in Argentina would be happy about that.

But no. Vice President Cristina Kirchner instead demanded that an a ending be substituted and called her colleague a sexist when he protested at this bastardization of the Spanish language.

He eventually conceded: “Perdón, presidenta.”

Could there be any clearer example that new-fangled, politically correct speech is just an arbitrary signaling mechanism? They want to watch you struggle through the growingly treacherous lexical quagmire.

And if at any moment you should trip and fall, you’ll be revealed for the outsider that they always knew you were. Maybe you’ll even get “canceled” if you’re unlucky enough to work for an organization that has capitulated to these unthinking bullies.

My advice? Learn a foreign language. Bilingual brains are less malleable to “newspeak,” as they see the inevitable inconsistencies created by a system of arbitrary verbal diktats, which cannot be neatly imposed on distinct lexical and grammatical structures.

In addition, psychologists have found that people who learn a second language are less susceptible to emotional manipulation in that language, as they have less of an emotional connection to the words. (This is easily demonstrated by thinking about how swear words in foreign languages do not evoke feelings of offense.) 

So, get on a language-learning app. And let’s all raise a glass to Miss Corrin, a skilled actress and deserving winner of her Golden Globe.

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The Mises Institute, founded in 1982, teaches the scholarship of Austrian economics, freedom, and peace. The liberal intellectual tradition of Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) and Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) guides us. Accordingly, we seek a profound and radical shift in the intellectual climate: away from statism and toward a private property order.

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