California

Berkeley, California Will 'Degenderize' Its Municipal Code, Getting Rid of Words Like 'Manhole' and 'Ombudsman'

The progressive bastion is trying to make its laws more inclusive, semantically at least.

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The progressive bastion of Berkeley, California, is eager to make its laws as inclusive as possible by eliminating gendered terms from its books.

On Tuesday, the city council passed an ordinance that instructs city staff to "degenderize" its municipal code. Instead of using "he" or "she," the city's laws will now reference a gender-neutral "they" or use formal titles like "director" and "councilmember."

"Gender-neutral language creates a lot of room to acknowledge that it's not just men running the country," Councilmember Rigel Robinson, the ordinance's sponsor, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Robinson's bill further smashes the patriarchy by offering gender-neutral replacements for common terms found in the city's code. "Manhole" will now be "maintenance hole." Ombudsman is to be replaced with "investigating official." "Sororities" and "Fraternities" are to be referred to as "Collegiate Greek system residence."

You can see the whole list here.

If you find yourself in the city jail, you might have to pay a "bonds-person," not a "bondsman," to get out. Instead of waiting six months to a year for city approval to build that "granny flat" in your backyard, you can now spend the same amount of time wondering when permits for your "accessory dwelling unit" will come through.

Berkeley's push for gender neutrality isn't offensive or wrong. But it is kind of silly. Few people deploy words like "manhole" or "ombudsman" as exclusively male terms, even if they are technically gendered. Replacing them with terms people don't use doesn't make the city's laws more inclusive, but it might just make them less intelligible to the general public.

Like it or not, English is a gendered language. Trying to change that in one fell swoop often results in clunky and imprecise phrasing. Microsoft Word's gender bias spell check feature runs into this problem by suggesting users replace words like "landlord" and "girlfriend" with "property owner" and "partner."

It's also not like Berkeley officials don't have other, more pressing problems. The city has some of the highest home prices in the nation, and, as a result, its homeless population has more than doubled in the last two years. 

If city politicians really wanted to make Berkeley more inclusive, they should start by blocking fewer housing projects. Doing so might result in fewer homeless people sleeping on top of "maintenance holes" at night.

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  1. Wait till they realize you can’t say woman, without man.

    1. They’ve likely got that covered since they’re scrubbing woman as well. Heck, even “brother” and “sister” are deprecated to just “sibling”.

      1. The replacement for “male” and “female” is “people of different genders”. Why do they insist on forcing people to have a gender? What if someone doesn’t want a gender? Bigots, the lot of them.

        1. The replacement could be “people of different genders, multiple genders, non-binary genders or no gender at all.” We don’t want to leave anyone out.

      2. “Mann” was old Germanic for human, not specifically a male person.


        1. wom·an
          /ˈwo͝omən/
          Learn to pronounce
          Origin

          Old English wīfmon, -man (see wife, man), a formation peculiar to English, the ancient word being wife.”

          Shut up now idiot.

          1. He’s right, actually.

            In Old English, mon, ancestor of Modern English man is un-gendered. The gendered terms were wer for a male and wyf for a female, hence OE wyfmon = ModE woman, and carries the sense “female-person.”

            1. Which is cool and all, except that the origin of “woman” is Old English, which was gendered (man meant male) despite being of Germanic origin.

              So, what he said had exactly fuck and all to do with the point.

              You’re welcome.

            2. “In Old English, mon, ancestor of Modern English man is un-gendered.”

              Incorrect.

            3. “In Old English, mon, ancestor of Modern English man is un-gendered. ”

              https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_(word)

              “The Germanic word developed into Old English man, mann meaning primarily “adult male human””

              Now you too can fuck off, idiot.

              1. “Square = Circle
                July.18.2019 at 3:55 pm
                He’s right, actually.”

                I cannot tell you how fabulous it is when smug dumb mother fuckers shoot off like you did and get curb stomped for it.

                1. I cannot tell you how fabulous it is when smug dumb mother fuckers shoot off like you did and get curb stomped for it.

                  Umm . . . yeah. I studied Old English for four solid years of graduate school, and produced my own translations of significant volumes of Old English writings, mostly West Saxon. I can school you all day on the different regional dialects of Old English and how they evolved into the five major dialects of Middle English and how these pronouns evolved over that period into the eventual East Midlands forms we know and love today (which are largely Scandinavian).

                  But you’ve got a Wikipedia page, so I guess I’ll just bow out now, having been “curb-stomped” by a superior intellect.

                  1. “Umm . . . yeah. I studied Old English”

                    Uh oh he’s coming at me with his bonafides!!

                    Get your money back.

                    “But you’ve got a Wikipedia page”

                    And you have nothing.

                    So, I win.

                    “I’ll just bow out now, having been “curb-stomped” by a superior intellect”

                    It’s funny how you get salty and start tossing around worthless backstory when you’re wrong.

                    But yes, you should bow out. Bye.

                    1. I take back everything I said about you – you are, in fact, an idiot.

                    2. To be fair…. he didnt study old english for 4 years.

                    3. Yeah yeah, as soon as you’re wrong, I’m an idiot.

                      Blah blah.

                    4. “To be fair…. he didnt study old english for 4 years”

                      Lololol

                    5. “B-b-b-b-b-but Wikipedia said!”

                  2. I hate to be this guy. But:

                    Don’t feed the troll.

                    1. He’s just so cute, though.

                2. And you shouldn’t sell yourself short – you could totally pass as gay.

                  1. I work out.

    2. +100000000000000

      These fucking Lefties crack me up. So stupid.

    3. Isn’t ‘The Manhole’ a popular SF area bar?

      1. Used to be. In the Tenderloin. Was near “The White Swallow”. It’s a bird, you know.

    4. Really? Whoa, man.

    5. “Woman” will now be “maintenance hole.”

  2. “by suggesting users replace words like “landlord” and “girlfriend” with “property owner” and “partner.””

    God, I hate “partner” for non-married spouse. Europeans use it a lot, it seems. When I see it I want to ask, “your business partner?” “your partner in crime?” It sucks all the romance and commitment out of the relationship.

    1. Lol, same here. Every time someone says this is my partner I think partner of what?

      1. Then just say “romantic partner.”

        1. You would need to direct that comment to the people that like to say partner. I’m just listening and trying to determine what they mean.

        2. Anyone who is married knows there is no romance.

    2. “Partner” means either you’re gay, or more usually it means “I don’t want to commit to my committed relationship so I never bothered to commit via marriage only via an ephemeral promise not to stray too far”.

      1. It used to mean gay lover. I was so confused when straight progressive types started using it in the same context.

      2. Yeah, I was working with a CFO and she described living with “her partner.” Here I’m thinking, Cool, a foxy redheaded lesbian! but she just meant her boyfriend.

        1. You mean her beard.

  3. When will they replace “supervisor” with something less hierarchical? Or do they intend to reinforce the image of governed and governors?

    1. Supervisor is offensive to both the differently abled and mediocre, as well as the blind.

      What a terrible fucking word

  4. At first I thought this article was written by The Onion.

    1. Real life pwned The Onion some time ago.

    2. TheOnion and BabBee still do good work. But it is increasingly difficult to discern what is and is not parody.

    3. Progressives are far more ridiculous than The Onion ever could be. The problem is they intend to force that ridiculousness on all of us.

  5. What’s even more stupid is that the Berkeley City Council just outlawed natural gas in new construction, mandating all-electric heating and cooking in the name of reducing the city’s carbon footprint.

    I guess nobody told the City Council that pretty much the entirely of our power comes from the natural gas generation plants in Antioch and Pittsburgh. But I suppose if the carbon footprints of Antioch and Pittsburgh go way up, that not Berkeley’s fault, right?

    1. No natural gas, except in the power plants to generate the electricity natural gas free homes will be using.

      Gotta love the harmonics from the vibrating cognitive dissonance in their brains.

    2. I hate cooking on electric stovetops. It’s not only inconvenient and less precise, it takes longer to heat up and cool down, and it’s less efficient.

      1. Never let facts get in the way of progress!

      2. Welcome to Progtardville, population stupid.

      3. Try induction

      4. I hate it too. The food never tastes as good because a good source of heat makes a huge difference in taste. Though, I suppose if you’re diet is vegan raw smoothies, your heat source doesn’t matter and you’re so near-sighted that you don’t realize that to some people it does.

  6. Progs – ” Why can’t you just be polite, it’s not like they’re passing laws making you use politically correct speech bigot.”

  7. “Berkeley’s push for gender neutrality isn’t offensive or wrong.”

    Reason coming out in opposition to government mandated speech hard….oh wait…

    1. Obviously it’s not mandated speech. Find a new website.

      1. Nor is Reason defending this insanity by any means. But you can’t expect everyone to read the article objectively before commenting when there’s a narrative to protect.

        1. Cheers Leo

        2. Right on.

          1. It’s often Reason Delusion Syndrome (RDS) that leads one to instinctively think Incel Man Bad in such cases.

        3. Newspeak is neither insane nor offensive, for it promotes righthink.
          You know what is wrong?
          Nature. History. Standards.

        4. I’m sorry, having read the entire article, I still see nothing about the problem of government-mandated speech.

          Can you cite the critique of it here?

      2. Persondated speech, asshole.

        1. + 10, could catch.

        2. “son” is still problematic.

          1. Even more problematic is the member in councilmember.

    2. It is offensive… To be spending tax payer money on rewriting binders full of city ordinance when they could be using that money to be deleting half of those travesties.

      1. They could even use that money to fix potholes, but I know – crazy talk.

  8. It is fascinating to watch a significant portion of the political class succumb to madness trying to control the language like this.

    1. It will be fascinating when the politically correct crowd and the English-as-official-language crowd butt heads overs trying to implement an Acadamié Française here.

      1. Or alternatively if the English-as-official-language folks make the claim that Spanish should be outlawed because it genders articles, nouns, pronouns, and adjectives, as opposed to just some nouns and pronouns.

        Statists of the world, UNITE!

        1. Latinx, amirite?

  9. I’m wondering which women feel “excluded” by the term “manhole”, because I just can’t imagine any “woke” woman clamoring for a job that would oblige her to use a manhole.

    1. Manholed may access places you may need to go to, but they generally are not access to any place you want to go to. Unless you are a mutant.

      1. Specifically, a teenage mutant that is also a turtle and a ninja.

        1. Or a large mutant rat.

    2. “Maintenance hole” has a meaning that most woke womyn would not appreciate.

    3. You’ve never heard of pegging? I bet “maintenance hole” will catch on.

    4. Meh, I prefer womanhole anyway – Oh, you were saying…never mind…

  10. All in all, this is probably the least harmful way for the Berkeley City Council to be spending its time.

    1. Tara King agrees.

  11. “””Gender-neutral language creates a lot of room to acknowledge that it’s not just men running the country,” “”

    So women in power isn’t good enough to acknowledge that women are in power? It’s as if this guy is saying women can’t be acknowledged by their own ability.

    1. Really, I wonder if the city council is just a bunch of college freshmen. (And yeah I would call them “freshmen” just to see them shit themselves.)

  12. In Miami they call it ‘manghole’ .

    1. Is that like a Jersey ‘sangwich’?

  13. “The city has some of the highest home prices in the nation, and, as a result, its homeless population has more than doubled in the last two years. ”

    This is not why homelessness has increased in Berkeley. Only a fool would believe that.

    1. This is not why homelessness has increased in Berkeley. Only a fool would believe that.

      ^ This. The homeless in Berkeley are not those who couldn’t make the payments on their $1.2M houses. El Cerrito, immediately to the north, has comparable home prices but not a comparable homelessness problem.

    2. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single survey of the homeless where ‘can’t afford a home’ is in any of the top three options for why they are homeless. It’s counter intuitive, it seems, for people to realize that some humans don’t have much desire to live in the first world. Well, that and drug and mental health problems. Mostly the drugs and mental health problems.

      It seems they gravitate to cities since it provides a pretty dense population to beg change off of, and that goes double for places that are pleasant year round or places that have lots of homeless amenities. I believe in Austin, Texas it’s possible to break six figures a year off panhandling although that doesn’t fit the ‘pleasant year round’ model.

      1. It seems they gravitate to cities since it provides a pretty dense population to beg change off of, and that goes double for places that are pleasant year round or places that have lots of homeless amenities.

        And Berkeley has the trifecta.

  14. > Berkeley’s push for gender neutrality isn’t offensive or wrong. But it is kind of silly.

    Which is why it’s wrong. Government should not be engaged in semantic game playing. Gender neutral language is fine, and we have gender neutral language. But the “gender” they’re talking about is NOT the same as the “gender” linguists are talking about. Linguistic gender has NOTHING to do with sexuality or social gender roles or power dominance or anything. A masculine noun does not mean that the object is a male. That’s ridiculous. In German the word for “ball” is masculine, but that does not mean balls have balls. And “masculine” in linguistics does NOT mean a certain set of male characteristics.

    In the English language, the singular pronoun for a person of indefinite gender or sex is “he”. The pronoun “it” does not refer to a person. The common phrase “he or she” is largely the result of 70s era feminism. The use of the singular “they” is valid, but not a universal replacement for “he”. This is the English language we were given. You can try to change it by common usage, but changing it through government edict is wrong.

    Ditto for “man” and “mankind”.

    And thinking that this results in some sort of justice is absolutely blinkered.

    1. In German the word for “ball” is masculine, but that does not mean balls have balls.

      And the word for “maiden” is neuter (“Das Mädchen”).

      And you want examples of languages that aren’t particularly gendered? Arabic, or Mandarin. Languages spoken in places famous for gender parity.

  15. “Sororities” and “Fraternities” are to be referred to as “Collegiate Greek system residence.”

    Not only more inclusive but making the references simpler and more precise as well. Now if they could just do something about the appropriative nature of the term.

    1. Technically, sororities are a special kind of fraternity.

    2. more inclusive

      Unless your Persian.

      1. Unless your Persian.

        Also a pretty-much ungendered language. IIRC, doesn’t even have gendered pronouns, and women keep their own last names when they get married.

        It’s why Iran is so famous for its feminist culture.

      2. What if I don’t have one?

  16. Dealing with the real issues.

    Instead of using “he” or “she,” the city’s laws will now reference a gender-neutral “they” or use formal titles like “director” and “councilmember.”

    1) Linguistically incorrect in English.
    2) Not point in using different sounds to mean the same thing. It’s like changing “fuck” to “frick”.

    Btw, how does all this intersectional woke bs work in, say, Spanish?

    1. Btw, how does all this intersectional woke bs work in, say, Spanish?

      Absolutely all noun endings are now “-z.”

    2. Spanish is a language spoken by the underclasses who are there to be protected by the enlightened white bourgeoisie. ‘Those people’ in general are exempt from all the rules of Progressivisim until they stop being useful as a political tool. Then they are thrown under the bus.

  17. Also criminalized the Puss ‘N Boots company label. Must re label as Feline ‘N Outer Footwear Cat Food.

  18. Machine gun is perfectly acceptable, no?

    1. Now all guns are machine guns.

      1. Aren’t all guns technically machines, in the end?

  19. Man walks in to one of the Berkeley municipal buildings to take care of some city permit business, but first needs to use a bathroom. He says to a clerk: “Would you tell me where the men’s room is located?”. The clerk says: “There are restrooms down the hall on the right – take your pick.”

  20. Did they do the “niggardly” thing where they also changed references to “manual” without realizing that “manual” refers to “hand” rather than “male”? There’s nothing sexist about a woman doing manual labor – it doesn’t mean she’s doing a man’s work, it means she’s working with her hands.

    1. That not how progtard feelings work.

    2. Try explaining what “mano a mano” means.

  21. The purpose of Newspeak is two-fold: (i) the expression of the Ingsoc (Progressive) worldview, and (ii) to make impossible all unorthodox political thought.

  22. Since this apply to their code book, and assumable some other city publications, I don’t have a problem with it per se. It is fun to laugh at though. If they start disciplining workers for not using those terms then it becomes a different ball game.

    I agree that some of the codes in the book are a bigger issue for the citizens than the language the book is using.

  23. Here’s an idea for the city fathers of Berkeley.
    Man up and get a life.

  24. Heinlein’s “crazy years” are here.

  25. Will they also ban products like Johns Manville insulation from city projects? Wonder what their CEO Mary K Rhinehart, would have to say about that kind of inclusion?

    1. They’ll just be required to change the name to J. Personville.

  26. Wait. We did this in the seventies, no?
    I had a ball with a feminist manager who was a language destroyer. Sadly for her, her last name was Operman.
    So I pointed out that the name ended in a three letter construct that, if taken alone out of context, indicated maleness.
    So as a helpful worker, I suggested she change her last name to Operperson.
    Then I pointed out that her new last name would end in a three letter construct that, if taken alone out of context, indicated maleness.
    So I called her Ms. Operperchild.
    (yes, you are correct; I was not long in that job. But the new boss was more reasonable, and mostly cared that I did my job well, and on time.)

    But it is a requirement of socialism to destroy the language so badthink is impossible, and while purifying the current code, they are not adding more absurdity to it, so let the children play. Besides, as a man, the gender neutral stuff will not apply to me.

    1. That’s pretty funny.

  27. “The progressive bastion is trying to make its laws more inclusive, semantically at least.“

    I think you meant ovartically, Christian. To the re-education camp with xu.

  28. Yeah, it’s us alt-right conservative glibertarian nazis who are spending all our waking hours worrying about bathrooms.

  29. Just firebomb that fucking cesspool of stupid already.

  30. I’m just happy that if I identify as a woman, it shuts the “patriarchal male privilege” argument the fuck down.

  31. Ombudsfuck?

  32. I for one think its great that Berkeley has apparently solved every other problem within their borders that they can devote resources to this issue.

  33. Good ol’ Berserkeley. Ever since People’s Park they’ve been growing more barmy and irrelevant.

    These eedjits have not received a proper education in regards the english tongue. Had they, it would be known to them that the term “man” does not necessarily indicate a person of male gender, nor a male. The term can, and often does, indicate person, human, without regard to gender.

    A”manhole” can be, and often is, accomodating to individuals of both male and female gender. I was almost expecting the oh so wise and astute councilcritters to decide the opening into the ground allowing access to underground whatever is down there wouldbe henceforth and forever, at least within city limits, referred to as “womanhole”. Since “the best man for the job is a woman”, as they claim, they must be planning to send mostly females into the abyss…….

    I remember way back when, at the beginning of the “feminist movement”, some twit fomenting over the term “chairman” as the indicated leader of the city con=uncil. Said twit fails torealise that the term ‘chairman” refers to the function of the one holding the position, and NOT the person per se. Thus the “chairman” could be either a male or a female.

    With the messes they’ve got in their faces, ya’d think they’ve more important matters to be MANaging. But whoever expects such elected uffishuls to be MANaging the important stoff would be amiss in their judgement.

    1. Grammar is not the issue. It’s feelings.

      Up in Montreal, the male McGill sports teams called themselves the Redmen since red is the school color. Well someone objected because of the name – the history didn’t matter.

      Now they’re call the Martlets (a bird) or …. maybe the manginas. I can’t remember.

  34. California is The Onion. It’s satire playing out in real life.

  35. How about “Asshole”? Is that outlawed too?

  36. How will a tourist know if it is a gay bath house or just a spa if it doesn’t have Manhole in the name?

    Or will women and trans people be bused to gay bath houses to integrate them?

  37. Few people deploy words like “manhole” or “ombudsman” as exclusively male terms, even if they are technically gendered.

    Nope, those words aren’t ‘gendered’: in both cases, ‘man’ is a contraction of human.

  38. He he. What will they do with Spanish language communications where every noun has a gender. Oh, messing with Spanish is colonialist…… I guess.

  39. Well, it’s easier than allowing real problems to be dealt with.

  40. God damn it. Why couldn’t I have been born a century, or even a few decades earlier? This world is losing its shit. Outside the Eurosphere they’re still being mostly sane, but I can’t bring myself to go live in Asia because they don’t have so many other freedoms I care about.

    This world is fucked.

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