Friday, May 22, 2015

Not Necessarily Progress

Diva, it appears, has become a gender neutral term.

From a word-geek standpoint, this is sort of fascinating. Rather than coming up with a truly neutral term (moving from steward/stewardess to flight attendant) or settling for the masculine term as the default (actor), diva is the feminine form. Divo, I'm told, is rarely used outside of Italy.

From a gender studies angle, it's more frustrating. Diva is most often used in a derogatory way. Does the feminine form add a little emasculating spice? Are there examples of positive terms where we use the feminine form for all genders?

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