Apple’s covert war on gender-specific expressions

posted at 7:50 pm on March 9, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Oh, my dear wopeople (that’s “women” for those of you unfamiliar with Dr. Laura’s mocking word for feminists who can’t bear to be identified in relation to men), prepare yourselves to be very pleased. Apparently, Apple’s $20.00 word processing program “Pages” has a feature called “Proofreader” that wages a tidy little covert war on gender-specific expressions. Townhall columnist Mona Charen vents her frustration with the feature, which she unaffectionately nicknames “Proofreadress”:

Pages has traits that are not immediately apparent, however. While it’s a sturdy little word processor, it’s true personality is not revealed until you use the proofreader — or Proofreadress, as I now think of her. Yes, she’s female all right. Seems to have been designed and programmed by the women’s studies department at Cupertino community college.

In a column about Rick Santorum, I had used the word “spokesman.” The proofreader flagged it: “Gender specific expression. Consider replacing with ‘speaker,’ ‘representative’ or ‘advocate.’” Hmm. How would that work? The sentence read, “A spokesman said ‘there is little daylight between Ryan and Gingrich on Medicare.’” None of the suggested words would accurately convey who was talking. Every one would have changed the meaning and confused the reader.

Pages just hates gender specific expressions and is constantly on guard for them. In a column titled “Assad’s Useful Idiots” I had written that Vogue magazine “apparently immune to shame, ran a fawning profile of the dictator’s wife.” Proofreadress was on it. “Gender specific expression. A gender neutral word such as ‘spouse’ may be appropriate.” Really Proofreadress? Spouse is a legal word, good for real estate transactions and rhyming with house in Les Miserables’ “Master of the House.” But as a substitute for wife, it’s ungainly and odd. Wife is a perfectly good word — in fact, it’s a perfectly good status, one that I’m glad to enjoy.

Proofreadress was also unhappy about the next paragraph of that column, when I quoted Vogue to the effect that Asma al-Assad was “glamorous, young and very chic — the freshest and most magnetic of first ladies.” Uh-oh. “Gender specific expression. Consider replacing with ‘women,’ ‘people’ or ‘individuals.’” It was a quote, of course, and therefore untouchable. But imagine writing “the freshest and most magnetic of first individuals.”

Yes! Imagine that! Not only is “the freshest and most magnetic of first individuals”a stilted expression, but it’s also a flat denial of one of life’s greatest mysteries — the mystery of sexual difference, of the complementarity of men and women. That difference and complementarity, in case you forgot, is inscribed into our very bodies — and, for that matter, our brains.

Why do feminists perceive it as a threat to gender equality to acknowledge that men and women are, in fact, different? Why are they unable to see that what is uniquely female — yes, I’m talking, among other things, about childbearing and mothering — has a value all its own? By denying the value of the uniquely female, they essentially say women are unequal to men, that what women alone can contribute to society is of less value than what men alone can contribute.

Words matter. If we obliterate all linguistic evidence of gender difference, we’ll have no vocabulary left with which to think of it — and our understanding of the reality of our very selves will be impoverished, too.


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The Word thesaurus (for both Mac and PC — I’m bilingual) has been annoyingly politically correct for more years than I can remember. (Maybe it always was.) It doesn’t have “offensive” words. Put in a word Word doesn’t like, and you’ll get a “No results were found” response.

Fortunately Rodale’s Synonym Finder has not been neutered yet.

CJ on March 10, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Who’s going to hire someone with a degree in this cr#p?

Kissmygrits on March 9, 2012 at 8:08 PM

The government.

faraway on March 9, 2012 at 8:09 PM

And any HR director or a medium to large company. They’re all women, uh, womyn, un, unmale, oh, I give up.

Qzsusy on March 10, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Hey, guys, just tell that special woman in your life to feel free to not have sex with you. Better yet, tell her to “go f**k herself.”

LizardLips on March 10, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Next:

Apple offering free turkeybasters to increase market share among lesbians.

BobMbx on March 10, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Presumably Apple will brand those turkeybaster the iJaculate.

KrebsCyclist on March 10, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Presumably Apple will brand those turkeybaster the iJaculate.

KrebsCyclist on March 10, 2012 at 9:47 AM

According to Apple’s internal reports, the iJaculate has reached the Master Beta level of testing.

Scott P on March 10, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Words matter. If we obliterate all linguistic evidence of gender difference, we’ll have no vocabulary left with which to think of it — and our understanding of the reality of our very selves will be impoverished, too.

Isn’t that the point of Groupthink and Newspeak?

RebeccaH on March 10, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Seems to have been designed and programmed by the women’s studies department at Cupertino community college.

Steve Jobs tended to place people into two camps- great talents or f***ing idiots. There’s no question where Jobs would place Mona, a political hack with zero chance of being even slightly qualified to work anywhere at Apple other than a retail store.

If she wants to insult Apple engineers, she might think of a tactic that doesn’t attack anyone who attended a community college instead of her elite law school. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not convinced that lawyers stand at the top of the world and have a right to look down on ‘the little people’ who chose another path.

bayam on March 10, 2012 at 1:15 PM

I aam guessing that Spainish would cause it to go into meltdown due to the use of gender based languge.

rocrio15 on March 10, 2012 at 1:35 PM

I tend to view Apple users as genderless amalgams of body parts, too.

James on March 9, 2012 at 7:59 PM

I’ve never understood the appeal of Apple stuff anyway. I think the only Apple product I’ve intentionally sought out and used is QuickTime, briefly.

ddrintn on March 9, 2012 at 8:10 PM

Ha! Yet another reason to not buy anything from Apple.

Apple personifies the Libtard mindset – self-righteous, arrogant, holier-than-thou, smug…and wrong.

CatchAll on March 9, 2012 at 9:40 PM

We do not own Apple products in this household.

We will never own Apple products in this household.

Hence, we are not plagued by way over-priced way overrated all but useless gadgets suffering from Gender
Identity crises or bouts of Political Correctness psychosis.

FlatFoot on March 10, 2012 at 1:30 AM

I’m so glad to see that some of you people on this blog are so accepting of other computer users choices. It’s VERY obvious that none of you are in a graphics related industry, because if you were, you’d be using Apple Mac computers in your offices, or wishing you were. Yeah, they’re more expensive, although if you are smart,
you can shop around and get the best NEW equipment for almost the same price as your Dell or whatever PC. We make up in productivity what they cost in 2 or 3 days because they are so intuitive and fast.

Try listening to Kim Commando’s radio show sometime. She knows everything there is to know about every kind of computer that exists, and when a caller ask her point blank what the best computer is, she said Macintosh hands down, and backed it up with reasons.You might actually try using a Mac sometime, then your obvious ignorant attitude to the product would change.

Oh, and yeah, Apple is owned by some big Libs, who I rarely agree with politically, and the gender change thing on Pages is beyond annoying, but so is the world right now. I’ll just take my wonderful Mac computer at the office and at home, and my iPhone and my iPad and get to work to make this world better for us Conservatives.
If you want to fumble along on your PC’s and Blackberry that’s ok too, because this is a free Country (at least right now anyway) and you can use whatever computer you want to use. And BTW, I won’t criticize you personally for it, like you are doing me, because it’s your prerogative to buy whatever you want to buy.

Susanboo on March 10, 2012 at 2:32 PM

What I don’t understand is why feminists insist that anything that identifies their gender as female must be evil. They DO realize that they call themselves FEMinists, yes?

Book on March 10, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Gender specific expression

I’ve long asked — yet never read any reasonable response to the question — just what it is about “gender” that is quite so icky to the Left.

One wants to be the other, the other wants to be the other one, no one wants to declare what they are originally yet needs to tell everyone that they are, now, the other one…yet the expression of “gender” is reviled while they are obsessed with it but in a destructive (err, that’d be a “deconstructive”) way.

Lourdes on March 10, 2012 at 3:25 PM

What I don’t understand is why feminists insist that anything that identifies their gender as female must be evil. They DO realize that they call themselves FEMinists, yes?

Book on March 10, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Good luck with that logic, it’s utterly lost on those who identify as “feminists” today.

Lourdes on March 10, 2012 at 3:26 PM

Susanboo on March 10, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Being “graphically involved” myself, I’d like to add that it isn’t the wizbang effects of Macs that are appealing as much as the group-cult-culture aspect about their manufacture and brand that is revolting to many.

Lourdes on March 10, 2012 at 3:28 PM

Susanboo on March 10, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Lucasfilm uses Dell servers. Or did, not so long ago, from whence a great deal of “graphics” were served to a great many others.

Just thought I’d include that bit of information.

Lourdes on March 10, 2012 at 3:29 PM

I’m so glad to see that some of you people on this blog are so accepting of other computer users choices. It’s VERY obvious that none of you are in a graphics related industry,

Meaning, of course, online porn.

BobMbx on March 10, 2012 at 3:38 PM

“Why do feminists perceive it as a threat to gender equality to acknowledge that men and women are, in fact, different? Why are they unable to see that what is uniquely female,…has a value all its own?”

Because these neurotic “persons” are afraid of their own sex.

mkenorthshore on March 10, 2012 at 5:09 PM

See 1989 Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins: Established the right of employees to base a discrimination claim on sex role stereotyping. Consequently, many federal district courts have ruled that discrimination against transgender individuals violates Title VII. (Reference 11th Circuit panel in Glenn v. Brumby, December 2011: Termination of transgender or transsexual employee because of their gender non-conformity ruled illegal.)

This is a matter of Apple corporate policy (adding gender identity to company’s sexual harassment policy, a multi-jurisdictional c.y.a.) carrying over into their product, and thus, individual and corporate users acquiescing to, incorporating, or being insulated by said policy.

Ah, but the irony is those who conform to natural law find such “separate but equal” Derrick Bell-like segregation personnel training a “hostile work environment.” Interesting, no? Have no fear for regulation is coming, and government compliance officers to deftly handle such issues and avoid lawsuits, bad public relations, and disruptive productivity issues in the workplace. I’m sure there’s an app for that.

FeFe on March 10, 2012 at 5:59 PM

Adam Carolla said it best: “In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks.”

The whole thing is worthy of ridicule, but I’m not going to get my panties in a wad about it.

rogaineguy on March 9, 2012 at 9:43 PM

I see what you did there….

Nathan_OH on March 10, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Why do feminists perceive it as a threat to gender equality to acknowledge that men and women are, in fact, different? Why are they unable to see that what is uniquely female — yes, I’m talking, among other things, about childbearing and mothering — has a value all its own? By denying the value of the uniquely female, they essentially say women are unequal to men, that what women alone can contribute to society is of less value than what men alone can contribute.

POSTED AT 7:50 PM ON MARCH 9, 2012 BY TINA KORBE

It’s amazing to me based on their own self~misogyny that they could actually BE liberals. How could one be a liberal and resent oneself so much?

Are they really saying that they can’t stand themselves?

I think so.

Viva la difference (say the first three words with a French accent for best results) between men and women.

DevilsPrinciple on March 11, 2012 at 1:07 AM

The main reason Macs won’t ever be a major platform for business is that their design philosophy is so thoroughly Fascist: “Proofreadress” is but a single example.

While consumer eyewash and the niche applications which interested the late Steve Jobs are well supported, “Our way or the highway” is not a good design concept for a tool.

That’s why web servers run on Linux…not OSX.

landlines on March 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Tina,

I think you’re just getting personsterical about a program that is but a blip in recorded personstory.

TugboatPhil on March 9, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Does that mean, I have a pegina?

KOOLAID2 on March 9, 2012 at 8:13 PM

hahahaha. Good one. How about a vagenis?

SparkPlug on March 9, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Hahaha.

Thanks y’all. It’s good to laugh again.

bntafraid on March 11, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Tina,

I think you’re just getting personsterical about a program that is but a blip in recorded personstory.

TugboatPhil on March 9, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Oh, dear. What will we do with gallon, chicken, boysenberry, & shenanigan?

itsnotaboutme on March 11, 2012 at 6:11 PM

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