Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Associated Press is being ridiculed online after its style guide eliminated the term ‘mistress’ from the lexicon because the word ‘implies that the woman was solely responsible for the affair.’

Instead, the AP Stylebook, used by journalists and writers as sort of a universal guideline, recommends that the term be replaced by gender-neutral words like ‘companion,’ ‘friend,’ or ‘lover.’

The AP initially recommended the elimination of the term ‘mistress’ last year, but a tweet reminding the public of the change went viral on Wednesday.

‘Don't use the term mistress for a woman who is in a long-term sexual relationship with, and is financially supported by, a man who is married to someone else,’ the AP tweeted.

‘Instead, use an alternative like companion, friend or lover on first reference and provide additional details later.’

In a follow-up tweet, the agency wrote: ‘We understand it's problematic that the alternative terms fall short.

‘But we felt that was better than having one word for a woman and none for the man, and implying that the woman was solely responsible for the affair.’

On Twitter, social media users mocked the AP. Mark Harris of New York City snickered: ‘Yeah, definitely use “friend,” the term the husband uses to explain himself. That’s much less sexist.’

Christian Schneider thinks that a synonym for mistress should be ‘homewrecker.’

Joe Cunningham tweeted: ‘The preferred gender-neutral phrasing is “Sugar Baby”.’

‘The word for the man is "adulterer”,’ wrote one Twitter user.

Another Twitter user suggested ‘mister-ess’ as an alternative.

Matt Comer thinks the AP should just adopt the term ‘paramour,’ which is ‘just waiting to be plucked from the dictionary.’


Uproar over Scrabble words that can no longer be used

The Scrabble world is in uproar over moves by the venerable board game’s owners to ban a long list of words now considered slurs.

Three prominent members of the global Scrabble players’ organisation have quit over the removal of words from official game lists.

They have complained that as Scrabble is a game of words, as long as terms are listed in the dictionary they should be able to be played. To do otherwise would be to pretend those words don’t exist.

One of Scrabble’s owners, however, has said there are no other games where players “can win by using a racial epithet”.

But an Australian campaigner has questioned why derogatory terms for Irish people now cannot score points, but derogatory terms for Indigenous Australians can still be played.

The word war erupted when words began to be removed from the game’s official word lists over the past 12 months.

Invented in the US in 1938, Scrabble is now owned by two of the world’s biggest toy makers. Hasbro, makers of Monopoly and My Little Pony, holds the rights to the game in North America while Mattel, which produces Barbie, owns Scrabble elsewhere – including in Australia.

Gradually, both firms have started to restrict certain words from officially being able to score points. The removed words have varied between the two companies.

In total, more than 200 dictionary defined terms have now vanished.

There is no one list of the banned terms, but online Scrabble check websites allow players to type in a word to see if it can be played.

N****r and c**t are no longer playable. Other terms no longer allowed include “Paki,” a slur against people of Pakistani origin and “Fenian,” which is often used to demean Irish republicans.

“Shiksha,” a derogatory term used to refer to a non-Jewish girl, or a Jewish girl who doesn’t live up to traditional Jewish standards is also gone. [It's actually German for "prostitute"]

A number of players against the move have said they have no wish to highlight any offensive words but they should be able to be played.

British author Darryl Francis resigned from the World English-Language Scrabble Players Association (WESPA) because he said Mattel had forced the changes on the game.