My one-woman mission to get rid of the verb 'mans'

Why do we all still use this sexist word?

A woman speaking.
(Image credit: Illustrated | PauDlDesigns/iStock, ioanmasay/iStock, DavidZydd/iStock)

Over dinner with friends recently, a weird word came out of my mouth: "mans."

"She mans the inventory room at the store," I think I said, referring to a character in my upcoming YA novel, and then I clapped my hand over my mouth in horror and started to backtrack. The word seemed to come from nowhere, especially since this character would never use it to describe what she does, and I normally wouldn't, either. Why use a verb like "mans" when what you really mean is "helms" or "runs" or "is in charge of"? Why bring the patriarchy into it at all, even involuntarily?

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us