July 2nd, 2014


So here is a thing

I'm doing a beginner swordfighting class on Sunday. I'm quite excited about it. And this morning, because that's how things go, this article came through on one of my feeds. It's about Samantha Swords winning the longsword competition at an international invitational tournament. She fought with the men and won. Yay!

I watched the interview with her and instantly detected the kiwi accent. Turns out she's a kiwi/aussie Canadian. I think this means she's from NZ, has lived in Australia and is now based in Canada. But OMG kiwi! Complete with armour made by a friend at Weta. Eeeeeee!!

Meanwhile, it did make me twitch that the title of the article calls her a female. I find it dehumanising when female is used as a noun. Interestingly, the first comment says the same thing. The responses to that seem to be a whole lot of mansplaining (including from the author of the article) about how actually it's ok to do that because reasons, that 'woman' and 'female' are interchangeable (they aren't), and us 'females' should stop looking for things to be offended about. Interspersed with the occasional bit about how shouldn't we all be congratulating Samantha instead of getting het up about grammar?

I agree, it should be about congratulating Samantha. And the easiest way to make it about that would be to have the headline read "Samantha Swords Wins Longsword Competition At World Invitational Tournament." Because what she did is far more important than her gender. Making it about her gender and then using a dehumanising term to accentuate that was almost guaranteed to cause problems.

Why is this so hard for people to understand?