Woman is not an Adjective

Greetings, people who aren’t me,

Today , I would like to talk to you about your deplorable habit of using the word “woman” as an adjective. You talk about seeing a “woman doctor,” about needing more “woman lawyers,” about being pulled over by a “woman police officer.” Your habitual misuse of the noun “woman” has gotten so bad that dictionaries have bent to your will and classified the word as both a noun and an adjective. But it is not, as simple gender linguistics demonstrates….

Imagine that I were to tell you that a “man pilot” flew my plane, or that a “man scientist” made a discovery. Have you ever heard someone described as a “man tennis player?” We don’t even use “man” as an adjective for traditionally female professions; there are no “men nurses.” There are, of course, men who are nurses. We call them “male nurses,” or just “nurses”.

But how on Earth, you ask, can you possibly describe a proctologist who is not a man, other than saying, “a woman proctologist”? The answer is so simple that even you, English speakers who aren’t me, can grasp and use it! This is where the word “female” comes in handy. It’s ok to call someone a “female barber” or a “female construction worker,” so long as they are female. If you stop to reflect, you may even find that identifying someone’s gender isn’t important to your conversation at all!

Together, we can return “woman” to its rightful place as a noun. And then we can get to work on girls. A “girl soccer player”? Really?

To further belabor this point, I wrote the post located under this flower:


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