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RG570
08-28-2006, 09:59 PM
I don't know what it is, but over the past few days I've been noticing more and more phrases like "women firefighters" or "women astronauts", etc.

Am I correct in assuming this is incorrect? It just doesn't sound right. "Women" is a noun, so how can it be used that way? Is it out of vogue now to say "male" and "female"?

FloVoyager
08-29-2006, 12:39 AM
A word's part of speech is often determined by how it's used.

Example: In the sentence, "Turn on the light," "light" is a noun. But in, "Paint the room a light color," "light" is an adjective.

And that's what is happening here. In the case of "women astronauts," "women" is an adjective.

So it's not wrong, it's just a variation.

Soccer Mom
08-29-2006, 10:59 PM
I'm kind of with you, RG. It bugs me for some reason. Why can't they say "female astronauts." Or even just "astronauts" unless there is some reason to tell me she's female.

Just my $.02

alleycat
08-29-2006, 11:12 PM
In the case of "women astronauts," "women" is an adjective.

So it's not wrong, it's just a variation.
I'm going to have to disagree with you on "women" being an adjective. A noun can be used to modify another noun without becoming an adjective.

And "male" and "female" would be better terms to use in general, IMO.

maestrowork
08-29-2006, 11:21 PM
It bugs me, too. "Women's soccer team" is fine, but not "women astronauts." We don't say "those men police officers," do we?

Jamesaritchie
08-29-2006, 11:55 PM
It bugs me, too. "Women's soccer team" is fine, but not "women astronauts." We don't say "those men police officers," do we?

No, but we do say women, or female, police officers. We also say female astronouts.

Doing so usually is important, and will remain so until women are no longer oddities in such professions.

maestrowork
08-30-2006, 12:03 AM
We say female police officers, not women police officers.

Bufty
08-30-2006, 12:06 AM
On the other hand, we speak of male nurses.

By-the-by, is a male midwife a midhusband?

Jamesaritchie
08-30-2006, 12:59 AM
We say female police officers, not women police officers.

We say both on a regular basis, and both are correct.

Bk_30
08-30-2006, 01:22 AM
so would you then say "stay at home dad" or "househusband"? Sorry couldn't resist :D

persiphone_hellecat
08-30-2006, 05:52 AM
And what is with it all of a sudden that all people who act are "actors" and no longer actors and actresses? I hate the beginning of the SAG awards when they stand up and say "I am Stockard Channing and I am an actor". Makes me wonder who is hiding what under those designer gowns.

Lyra Jean
08-30-2006, 08:07 AM
I heard that they call themselves actors so that they will be taken more seriously in their profession. They aren't just the love interest there to make the guy look good.

persiphone_hellecat
08-30-2006, 09:03 AM
I dont know... Katherine Hepburn was an actress - and she was taken pretty seriously...

Sandi LeFaucheur
08-30-2006, 02:39 PM
We say female police officers, not women police officers.

Actually, in England, the abbreviation for a female police officer is WPC--Woman Police Constable.

Female doctors used to be called doctresses, I believe.

And in England, a nurse in charge of a ward is called "Sister" (not just in Catholic hospitals, but in all hospitals), but a male nurse in charge of a ward is a Charge Nurse.

bluejester12
08-31-2006, 01:57 AM
And what is with it all of a sudden that all people who act are "actors" and no longer actors and actresses? I hate the beginning of the SAG awards when they stand up and say "I am Stockard Channing and I am an actor". Makes me wonder who is hiding what under those designer gowns.

That strikes me as odd since acting is one of the few occupations I can think of where gender does matter.


I think it's pronounced "ak-tore" and not "ak-ture"

persiphone_hellecat
08-31-2006, 02:03 AM
I personally prefer actress. But then what about murderess?? Or was Miss Marple a "detectivess"? Funny how some words sound right when "gendered" and others don't. I think in the case of astronaut, it is kind of an honor to be a female astronaut.

SeanDSchaffer
09-03-2006, 11:23 PM
I think "Women Astronaut" would be wrong because "Women" is plural for "Woman" and "Astronaut" is singular.

However, I prefer "Female Astronaut", simply because it does not have quite the same sexist connotation as does "Woman Astronaut".

"Woman Astronaut" reminds me of the old term "Woman Driver", which was used to warn people that a woman was (Gasp!) driving an automobile.

I frankly agree with James A. Ritchie, in that the terms in question on this thread will be correct until women are no longer oddities in the professions mentioned up to this point. It's a sad fact, but it's the way many people are.

Ralyks
09-16-2006, 05:23 PM
Women is a noun and should not, technically, be used as an adjective. Female is the adjective form. Over time, words designated as one part of speech come to take on another part of speech, and, eventually, the usage is normalized. This usage of women is not yet quite normalized, however, and, as an editor, I would certainly correct it.

maestrowork
09-16-2006, 11:03 PM
And what is with it all of a sudden that all people who act are "actors" and no longer actors and actresses? I hate the beginning of the SAG awards when they stand up and say "I am Stockard Channing and I am an actor". Makes me wonder who is hiding what under those designer gowns.

"Actor" is now the preferred term for the profession. It's Screen Actors Guild, not Screen Actors/Actresses Guild. Just as we are writers, not writers and writresses. :)

People still use actress to describe a female person who acts for a living. But when they refer to the profession itself, it's called "actor" just like "firefighters" or "flight attendants."