Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of the book, ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge
At a time when millions of married couples around the world are feeling the strain of being holed up together due to the pandemic, the United Nations has decided to remove the words “husband” and “wife” from our speech.
In case anyone thought that the social justice warriors would take a much-needed hiatus from their crusading against wrong-think, especially at the height of a pandemic, think again. This week, UN bureaucrats found clever new ways to divide and alienate the global population at a time when social-distancing rules have already turned people into strangers.
On Monday afternoon, the agency’s crack social media team tweeted out: “Help create a more equal world by using gender-neutral language if you’re unsure about someone’s gender or are referring to a group.”
What followed was a list of dos and don’ts, many of which are already well-known, like replacing “manpower” with “workforce” and “salesman” with “salesperson.” Fine, we get it. But the agency also snuck in a couple of new additions that raised some eyebrows, if not fists, by demanding that the terms “husband” and “wife,” which have worked fine for centuries, be substituted with the gender-less generic term “spouse.”
“Boyfriend” and “girlfriend,” meanwhile, were not spared from the grammar culling either, with “partner” now being the preferred term.
Some people may be wondering, as this author was – why all the fuss at a time like this? Are liberals simply striving to make themselves worthy of the expressionless grey “Wojak” meme that the alt-right has ascribed to them? Or is there something more to this latest plunge into the deep end of insanity? After all, there is no “man,” no “toxic masculinity” lurking in the term “husband” that should trigger even the more virtuous among us.
The word “husband” derives from the Old Norse husbondi, which translates literally as “house-dweller.” Not the most oppressive-sounding thing in the world. However, even if we go with the less politically correct origins of the word, with “master of the house” as one of them, the word “husband” has been around for so long that any male-dominant connotations have long since vanished.
As for the word “wife,” this is believed to come from the Old English “wif”, which simply means “woman, female, lady.” Again, as with the term “husband,” the etymological roots of “wife” reveal very little that should trigger the virtue-signaling crowd.
One possible reason for this wanton word destruction could derive from a desire to accommodate same-sex partners who do not readily fit into the traditional husband-wife matrix. Thus, the UN seems to think that the answer is to simply get rid of the words “husband” and “wife” instead of just letting everyone – heterosexual, homosexual, and transsexual – decide for themselves how they wish to be labeled. The UN wants to treat us all like unruly children, yet there is absolutely nothing hateful or sexist about the words “husband” and “wife,” and people should not be made to feel guilty for using them.
So where exactly does one draw the line when it comes to imposing restrictions on what people should and shouldn’t say without offending someone? Who will guard us from the guardians? Who will protect us from the ‘offended’? Is there anything in the UN Charter that gives the global body the power to eradicate words that have been around since before the dawn of the English language?
As we are perched on the precipice of a very slippery slope, let’s not forget that every husband was once a son, and every wife a daughter, to say nothing about nephews and nieces. Likewise, some husbands will go on to become grandfathers and wives grandmothers. If we stay silent now, then as sure as the sun rises in the east, the UN will next demand the elimination of those other gender-based terms in the future as well – and sooner rather than later. “Sons” and “daughters” will be colorlessly categorized as “offspring,” and “grandparents” will probably be slapped with the “ancestors” tag, or something equally degrading and dehumanizing.
This madness must end. The UN has no business serving as thought police on our speech in a brazen campaign to destroy our beautiful, time-wrought vocabularies, which deserve cultural protections just like any work of art.