In response to Bill Hause’s list of injustices (Letters, 7-12) to which men would be subjected if there had been Founding Mothers, they would also experience, on a regular basis, various subtle and insidious ways that our language and use of words serve to “keep men in their place” in today’s culture.Perhaps most rampant would be the use of the apparently benign term “gals” to refer to groups of both women and men and also to groups of only men (in comparison to the way the word “guys” is used under the Founding Fathers model).
If men spoke up and voiced opposition to being referred to as “gals” they would be dismissed or derided. They would be informed that this is their problem and told that because this term is so widely used and commonly accepted as a way to address any and all groups regardless of the group’s gender composition, those who use this term simply cannot be held responsible for their word choices and for innocently and unknowingly perpetuating gender stereotypes. “It just comes out without me thinking about it,” would be one of the responses they would likely hear on a regular basis—if they dared to speak up and ask the person who used the term to be mindful of her/his choice of words.
Yes, if there had been Founding Mothers you “gals” (men) would be reminded on a regular basis of your position in society as we all continue to mindlessly use words that keep you in your subservient role.