As I was pulling out of the driveway from my wife’s place of employment, my youngest daughter saw an ice cream truck drive by. “Look Daddy, the ice cream man!” My oldest noted that it was her math teacher Mrs. “Smith”, to which my youngest replied, “Mrs. Smith is the ice cream man?” This incident reminded me of a time when delivering mail to an apartment building a 70 year-old hippy greeted me with, “Hey there mail-person!” I smiled knowing it was political correctness/misguided feminism behind her jolly salutation. “That’s OK” I said, “you can call me the mailman”. Well, she wasn’t having any of that. “No, you’re the mail-person.”
I write this with women in mind. Is there something about occupations which were universally held by men so that the job title itself reflected it that is inherently offensive? Garbage man, policeman, fireman, mailman, paper boy, and stock boy are just some that I can think of off the top of my head.
Is there something wrong with saying “she’s a fireman” or “my sister is a policeman” or “my mailman’s name is Sally”?
Should we ween ourselves from masculinized job titles? Or is this much ado about nothing?