Steer Clear of ‘Gendered’ Language, Even ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife,’ on Campus

Never mind big public universities — now even private Christian colleges are nudging students to follow politically correct protocols

by Elizabeth M. Economou | Updated 20 Feb 2018 at 12:11 PM

These days, we’ve come to expect the ubiquity of the PC police at public universities nationwide.

Yet more and more, they’re infiltrating our private Christian schools as well — with the aim, of course, to change and control not only words but also thoughts, even actions.

With some 11,000 students, the University of Dayton, a Roman Catholic institution in Ohio, is the latest example of political correctness gone awry with its recommendations to steer clear of gendered language, including the words “husband” and “wife.”

“As a Catholic [and] Marianist university, we are guided by our mission to foster an educational community that welcomes and includes all people. As a Christian and educational community, we recognize that every person has innate dignity because all people are made in the image and likeness of God, and we seek to create an environment where all persons feel respected, safe and valued,” reads a page from the University of Dayton’s Women’s Center website.


Did the early Christians who were martyred for their faith during the Roman persecution ever seek out safe spaces?

The University of Dayton says the gender-inclusive list is merely an educational resource geared to assist those who prefer using gender inclusive language as well as those who wish to avoid assuming the gender of an individual being discussed. It does not, according to the website, represent the University of Dayton or Women’s Center policy.

It seems no one, though, is willing to take responsibility for the statement.

Still, it is front and center, suggesting that we drop certain words from our vocabulary — and not just any words, but “husband” and “wife” — words that are inseparable to the narrative of creation and humanity itself.

LifeZette reached out to the University of Dayton for comment, but the media relations department did not elaborate beyond what is already stated on the website.

Related: Look What Little Kids in Seattle Are Taught About Gender

Meanwhile, Michelle Cretella, M.D., president of the American College of Pediatricians, a national organization of pediatricians and other health care professionals dedicated to the health and well-being of children, strongly opposes any attempt to avoid using gendered language.

“Whoever controls the language controls the culture,” she told LifeZette. “We express our thoughts and shape behavior through language. This is why linguistic engineering always precedes social engineering. The revolutionaries are able to alter our thinking and behavior by first altering the language. In this case the weapon of choice is the word ‘gender.'”

Cretella further noted that gender-neutral language should only be applied to things, not people.

“Universities really mean to promote ‘sex-neutral’ language — a language that is asexual and radically non-neutral. Sex-neutral language reduces people to asexual [beings], and therefore androgynous beings — a radical departure from acknowledging the fullness of the diversity of mankind known as man and woman,” she added.

A pediatrician and a mother of four children, Cretella said the field of science increasingly demonstrates the innate differences between men and women — something universities are going out of their way to dismiss entirely.

“Husbands are not wives, and fathers cannot be mothers,” noted Cretella. “Our language must reflect the truth and reality of this innate sexual diversity of mankind in order to flourish as a free society. Scientifically speaking, we are conceived male or female. Period. We are not conceived or born with hardwired thoughts, feelings or sexual attractions. Those things develop over time largely due to post birth experiences.”

To be sure, truth is taking a back seat to coddled spaces on campus.

“It has been a tradition of the politically correct movement to eliminate any gender-based language references in choice of words,” said Quentin L. Van Meter, M.D., vice president at ACPeds. “The mantra is that words are offensive and that if we change the words to ‘nonoffensive’ words, we are all living in a better world. The problem is that in changing the words, others are offended.”

Van Meter can’t help but note the irony.

“Of all places, a Marianist University should be a safe home for those who espouse the tenets of the Catholic teachings that God created man and woman and that marriage is a sacrament,” he said.

Instead, the University of Dayton is becoming like all the other PC-blinded colleges countrywide, as reflected by the examples below taken directly from the Women’s Center website.


  • common man: common person
  • best man for the job: best person for the job
  • gentleman’s agreement: informal agreement
  • layman: layperson, average person
  • man a job/project: staff a job/project
  • man hours: staff hours, personnel hours
  • mankind: humankind, society
  • man-made: manufactured, synthetic
  • manpower: workforce, labor
  • middleman: intermediary, go-between
  • chairman/woman: chairperson, chair
  • spokesman/woman: spokesperson, representative
  • husband, wife: spouse, partner, significant other

Occupation Examples
Generic occupational titles, such as administrator, doctor, lawyer, nurse and secretary, apply to both men and women.

It is easier to see that these jobs can be done by a person of any gender when using gender inclusive or gender neutral language.

  • cleaning lady/maintenance man: custodial staff
  • congressman/woman: representative, legislator
  • salesman/woman: sales associate, salesperson
  • businessman/woman: businessperson
  • policeman/woman: police officer, officer
  • fireman: firefighter
  • mailman: mail carrier, postal worker
  • male nurse: nurse
  • female doctor: doctor
  • male teacher: teacher

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage image: University of Dayton, CC BY 3.0, by David J. Wright; photo credit, article image: University of Dayton, CC BY-SA 3.0, by Namtrofk)

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