Sunday, December 17, 2017

One Gender Equity Word Too Far

The girls and women of Bogotá have lots of concerns: crime, sexual harassment, employment
The new official Bogotá uniform?
discrimination, and others. But I've never heard a Bogotana say she suffered from oppression by grammatical discrimination.

But this is what Bogotá's legal system, in all of its wisdom and blindness, is now charging ahead with.

A judge just ordered Mayor Peñalosa to modify his city slogan from 'Bogotá Mejor Para Todos' to 'Bogotá Mejor Para Todos y Todas.' In other words, he's to add the words 'y todas' so that nobody gets the idea that the city's goal is to make life better only for its male residents.

Aventureros hostal: Only male adventurers allowed here?
Sensibly, Peñalosa is appealing the decision, which would require the modification of innumerable city signs, uniforms, websites and literature, not to mention making the city's slogan sound wordy and awkward. The slogan was changed when Peñalosa became mayor a year ago, and will be changed again if the current recall effort against Peñalosa succeeds.

In protesting the ruling, Peñalosa pointed out that 'every high school teacher knows that in Spanish the masculine words include both male and female individuals'. That's why when schools refer to their 'alumnos' nobody thinks they mean boys but not girls. And when presidents refer to 'ciudadanos' they mean both male and female citizens. 'Abogados' includes lawyers of both genders. And so on.
Welcome to La Candelaria: But only for males,
unless your an Engish-speaker.

Specify the female gender in everything and you not only state the obvious and treat your audience ciudadanos y ciudadanas' and 'candidatos y candidatas' and 'senadoras y senadores.' I'll never forget a mind-numbing talk I suffered thru one evening in Bolivia as the speaker went on about 'campesinos y campesinas,' 'maestros y maestras' and 'profesoras y profesores.' Perhaps he also specified that the people owned both 'perros y perras.'
like idiots, but you generate documents like Venezuela's Constitution or Colombia's peace agreement with the FARC, which drone on repetitively about '

If not for the time and effort wasted by this habit isn't enough to ban it, the trees needlessly killed and the gigabytes of computer memory needlessly filled should do it.
'A better Bogotá for all' - but only if you're a male?

But if always specifying the female gender really is required, then Bogotá is in big trouble:

The Down Town converntion center says its closer to male Bogotanos.
The Procudaria warns males not to be corrupt.
Unquestionably, Spanish is sexist - as are most languages. But Bogotá won't change it, and will make a fool of itself. A more practical solution would be to convince the ultra-conservative Real Academia de la Lengua in Madrid to accept use of the @ symbol to include both genders, as in 'Hola chic@s'.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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