Browsing around a blog that I read from time to time, one of those I sometimes comment on, who doesn’t comment on mine etc etc I noticed an interesting photo.
It referred to ‘Fisherpeople’, and the comment was:
So very PC – does anyone ever say this.
I held up my hand and wrote yes.
And pointed out that years ago, we had firemen and policemen and now we have firefighters and police officers. Admittedly, fisherpeople is pretty clumsy, but when I have been writing about the Gib/Spain fishing dispute that is what I have used.
I don’t care if 100% of the Spaniards fishing in Gib waters are men, I don’t see why the assumption should be that they are, and that the male default takes precedence.
There are women who fish, angle, whatever. There will no doubt be women who fish at sea. So why call them fishermen?
One commenter asked why can’t fishermen refer to anyone who fishes? And referred to it as a crime against the language.
Why not call anyone fishing a fisherwoman in that case?
It is a very long and a very hard battle to try and escape from the masculine default. This isn’t about linguistics, or political correctness, this is about men being in charge and women having a subservient position in society.
Men chairing meetings, men in the police, men in the fire service. While ever we refer to men doing something – chairmen, firemen, policemen, fishermen – it implies that women have no part.
This language continues to perpetuate the concept that basically, men work, men are in charge and women do, well nothing really. Or if they do, they are token men and don’t mind being referred to as men.
So well done, Newfoundland, for referring to fisherpeople. If it wasn’t so cold, I would think about moving there.