In a case of rampant PC-ness occurring (oddly) OUTSIDE of California, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill has dropped the term "freshMEN" (and other non-gender-friendly language) from all official university documents.
The university claims that it wants to provide "an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of the community," hence the term freshMEN being dropped in favor of the lilting "first-year student."
I call BS.
It's not that I dislike the term "first-year student" in any way, shape, or form -- in fact, I think it sounds rather fancy. What I have a problem with is this: while university administrators are busily worrying about being more politically correct, it seems like such a waste of energy.
As someone who was raised by a super-staunch feminist, proclaiming that HER daughter (that would be yours truly) would never bow down to the patriarchy, I practically teethed on Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. But even my mother, who handed me that book when I was 7, wouldn't agree with the change in terms.
It has nothing to do with feminism or being too PC -- it has to do with all of the OTHER terms we use to describe students. If we do away with "freshman," what about the other terms? I mean, "senior" sounds like you're talking about someone who chugs Geritol and watches Murder, She Wrote reruns while yelling at the damn kids to get off her lawn.
Or "Junior"? That implies either a blue-blooded dude with a pedigree like a show-dog or someone who is "less than." What about that term? Isn't that offensive, too? Who wants to be "less than"? Or named "Bradly" or something?
I don't know what the right answer is.
But I think if the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is so intent upon changing the name "freshman" to "first-year student," they should also consider changing the REST of the designations for students.
Just, y'know, to be fair.
Are you in favor of banning this word?
Image via University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill