22 Mar 2009

Do We Really Want to be More Like Europe?

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The Telegraph describes the EU’s latest blow in favor of political correctness.

The European Parliament has banned the terms ‘Miss’ and ‘Mrs’ in case they offend female MEPs.

The politically correct rules also mean a ban on Continental titles, such as Madame and Mademoiselle, Frau and Fraulein and Senora and Senorita.

Guidance issued in a new ‘Gender-Neutral Language’ pamphlet instead orders politicians to address female members by their full name only.

Officials have also ordered that ‘sportsmen’ be called ‘athletes’, ‘statesmen’ be referred to as ‘political leaders’ and even that ‘synthetic’ or ‘artificial’ be used instead of ‘man-made’.

The guidance lists banned terms for describing professions, including fireman, air hostess, headmaster, policeman, salesman, manageress, cinema usherette and male nurse.

However MEPs are still allowed to refer to ‘midwives’ as there is no accepted male version of the job description.

The booklet also admits that “no gender-neutral term has been successfully proposed” to replace ‘waiter’ and ‘waitress’, allowing parliamentarians to use these words in a restaurant or café.

It has been circulated by Harold Romer, the parliament’s secretary general, to the 785 MEPs working in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Struan Stevenson, a Scottish Conservative MEP described the guidelines as “political correctness gone mad.”

Hat tip to Bird Dog.


A commenter who signs at “Chiara” points out the Spectator is engaging in characteristic journalistic exaggeration. The European Parliament merely issued (preposterous) suggested guidelines. It did not literally ban use of gender-specific nouns and titles.

2 Feedbacks on "Do We Really Want to be More Like Europe?"


Just a clarification — those words were not “banned” — the booklet is a “guide” to “suggested” language. There are no “orders” involved. Not that I think any of those things are even worthy of being guides or suggestions, but the truth is, they were not banned.


Thanks for the correction. I probably should always read more sources. I tend to trust the Telegraph too much. They all play the same overstatement games.


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