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Sexist Terms

Kudos to Mayor Tom Bradley for his directive banning the use of sexist words in all official reports. The use of “maintenance hole” instead of “manhole” and “staffed” instead of “manned” shows how much more descriptive nonsexist language is compared to certain antiquated terms that were coined by lazy communicators during a male-dominated society but that really have nothing to do with the issue of gender. Bradley’s directive will help break old habits and encourage precise communication at the same time it erodes old stereotypes.

Steve Harvey’s flippant remark using the non-word “herstory” as a substitute for “history” in his Dec. 15 Only in L.A. column made light of the issue and showed that many people--even professional communicators--don’t understand what the transition to non-sexist language is all about.

Such remarks do help the cause, however, by pointing out that official directives like Bradley’s are necessary if we’re going to see any meaningful change in people’s habits.

ELAINE FLOYD

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