March 26, 2010

From Edward N. Haas:

Re: Ladies second: are we sexist in writing? (March 16): At 74 years of age, I dare suggest that I’ve had enough social experiences to give you an alternate version of why a great many of us tend to name the male first. It goes like this: As a rule, the male is superior to the female in muscle power and, for that reason, it has generally fallen to the male to be the one to defend his wife and children from potential predators. In other words, it is the male’s duty to stand in front of his family and, to all potential predators, to say: “Your path to my wife and children lies over my dead body.” The custom of naming the male first is, for many of us (including the wives and children anxious to have a male that protective), merely a way of expressing the male’s noble commitment to his rather obvious duty to stand in front between his family and an all too often hostile world.


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