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  1. #1
    rabalac is offline Newbie
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    Default Male/Female - Man/Woman

    Hello All:

    This is my very first post on this board, which I did not know exist until about an hour ago. From what I've read thus far, this seems like a great forum to be a part of. Oops, I just broke the rule of ending a sentance with a preposition. Sorry.

    Anyway, one of my many beef(s) is with the media's (written and spoken) use of the words "female" versus "woman". When is it appropriate (if ever)to use woman instead of female. And more importantly, can you use "man" instead of "male".

    Scenario 1: If Hilary Clinton had won the primary against barak Obama and went on to win the presidency, would she become America's first "woman" president, or the first "female" president?

    Scenario 2: If the National Organisation for Women (N.O.W.) elected Rush Limbaugh as it's president (OMG! civilization would not be the same again!!) would he be considered the organisation's first "man" president, or the first "male" president?

    In normal usage, it appears that the media use the term "woman" which is a noun interchangebly with "female" which is an adjective. In the second scenario however, I very rarely ever heard the term "man" used as an adjective.

    I guess my question is, is it good grammer to use woman as an adjective (scenario 1)? and if so, why not use "man" accordingly?

    Thoughts anyone?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Male/Female - Man/Woman

    I think woman/female could be used interchangeably in the firs case and agree that Mr Limbaugh would almost certainly only be referred to the the first male president, not man. I am not sure why, but could it simply be a case that men have tended to dominate certain positions, and therefore get referred to less often. I don't remember ever hearing of a previous president of the US as being a white president either.

  3. #3
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    riquecohen is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Male/Female - Man/Woman

    Welcome to the Forums, rabalac. I found your question interesting, but couldnīt come up with a cogent response. I found Tdol's answer convincing. In the same vein, we don't refer to any of our former presidents as "married presidents," but James Buchanan is often called "the bachelor president."

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