man and mankind

stephanie m huelster (huelster@STUDENTS.WISC.EDU)
Mon, 10 Apr 1995 08:47:47 -0600

On Sunday Denise ended a post like so...

American female natives keep telling you they don't
want to be called "man" or referred to as "mankind"-----HEY, LISTEN!!!
Denise O'Brien

I would like to add for the record _ Hey Man ! I don't want to be called 'a
man' under any circumstances, yet I am not offended by being part of the
species 'man' or 'mankind', I don't feel offended by someone referring to
our species in this way. I feel inherently included by being able to
comprehend their meaning as a member of the species. Man ! this is getting
slightly out of hand.
What about the slang term 'the man' as in.' step out of line the man come
and take you away', referring to certain forms of organized and
unsympathetic possibly despotic governments and institutions like law
enforcement. Suppose the female government workers, police officers and
other employees of the establishment don't like being referred to as 'the
man'. I'm sure that spreaders of popular culture and those dudes hangin' on
the corner would be happy to stop using the term. Don't you listen to what
the man says...
I understand the slightly demoralizing connotation the term 'man'could
possibly have for some women, I can even see the empowering aspect of more
inclusive language, but that empowerment only becomes necessary if you feel
excluded in the first place. A far more powerful idea seems to be that we
are not excluded, how can we ever really be excluded from the species ? or
only excluded if we choose to be offended by some usage of a term. The'
self defeating' argument has alot of validity to me and that argument was
made by a woman was it not ? It is really easy to strain your virtual voice
in an attempt to chastize the men on the list who defend the usage of the
term 'man'. But what of the female voices defending or at least refusing to
be offended by it ? Are we just deluded, misguided women still unable to
shrug off the yoke of male domination and see the light? Or are we
semi-enlightened females with an education and experiences that have taught
us to move beyond this offence at terms and get on with the task of trying
to contribute to our chosen discipline, the study of men..and women, and
all the variation in between. SM Huelster