Today is about the language directed at and about women.
Today I want to talk about language. Not the salty kind you often hear on a farm, but rather the language used towards and about us.
I had a conversation a while back about how we can better pick up on, and inform others on ways they could better think about how they use their words. I received a message telling me how great it was that my daughter was still working at and enjoying her job. And that not many girls would do her job. I responded to that message by explaining that not only would many girls not do her job, but many boys would also not do her job. When it comes down to it not many fully grown adults would do her job regardless of gender. I could have responded by saying “no not many girls would do her job” because that is true, but my hope is that the more people receive responses like the one I gave that next time they will think about how they phrase a conversation. Instead of comparing my daughter to other girls she will simply be compared to other people, people of any gender.
There are many phrases I despise in Agriculture.
What do you do for work? I’m a farmer – you mean you are a farmer’s wife? No, I mean I am an actual farmer who works on a farm, with my husband yes but does that not make him a farmer’s husband? Have you ever heard a phrase such as farmers husband? Maybe we should make that a thing.
Do you think your son will take over the farm? I have two children and I’m not sure at this point that either of them will take over the farm but they both have the opportunity too if they want. Because girls can run farms too you know…..
How are your husbands crop going? The crops that we planted are doing well thanks. The fact that they are doing well is good for both of us you see because if the crops fail, I will also struggle to pay the bills and I have no income from that for the year and the time I put into sowing was also valuable and has come to nothing.
Who else would like to see these used less?
Farmers daughter, farmers wife, husbands’ crops, husbands everything, oh sorry I was calling to talk to your husband
I would like to see that. And while we are at it lets all remember a time where we called a business and assumed that the girl answering the phone was an office admin and not someone who may actually know something. Women are not only admins and helpers, we are farmers, bosses, wool reps, livestock agents, shearers, truck drivers. There are so many I cannot possibly name them all here.
So, let’s think about what we say and to whom we say it. Stop for a minute and think about the language we are using because there is for sure a better way to phrase what you are about to say.