Time Essay: Sispeak: A Msguided Attempt to Change Herstory

AS the chairperson of Senator McGovern's task force on the environment," begins Robert N. Rickles' letter to constituents. Chairperson? The title is no partisan issue: the G.O.P. also had a chairperson in Miami Beach. Thus another label comes unglued. The man and his woman are Out; the neuter "person" is In—and only the chair is allowed to linger undisturbed. Chairperson is just the latest exchange in that great linguistic bazaar where new terms are traded for old. The elderly "Mrs." and the shy "Miss" now curtsy to the crisp, swinging "Ms." "Congressone" has been suggested in federal corridors to replace...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!