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I have read claims that sexism is responsible for relegating
"chairwoman" to relative obscurity. But I think the real answer is
that "chairman" flows better than "chairwoman." Sexism is not the
culprit. "Chairperson" is the worst-sounding of them all. Not only
that, it serves no purpose. It's hard to be gender-free when you say,
"Chairperson Sally Jones." And why would a woman *want* to hide her
gender, anyway? It's not something to be ashamed of.
The terms "womyn," "herstory," and
others are pure nonsense. Are we to change "hispanic" to "herspanic?"
How do we handle "menopause?" Does that term now refer to
hesitant Irish males? And what about "person?" Doesn't it contain
the dreaded male bias in "son?" (Oops--now there'll be a headlong
rush to obliterate "son" from every word. And then "sun," since
it sounds the same.)
If the PC-fascists try hard enough, they can eventually make
English a complete impediment to communication.