I recently joined English Language & Usage because I enjoy the topic of English language and have (so far) had positive experiences at other Stack Exchange websites. I also wanted to comment on what I thought was an interesting question:
This title summarises the question well. The answer, I would think, could either dispute the premise of the question or answer it. In other words, this should not have been a controversial question: you can answer the question by either giving examples of words that are gender-neutral or provide reasoning for why "crafstmanship" is gender neutral. Simple!
The accepted answer does a good job of answering the question by providing non gender-specific synonyms, but the most highly voted answer, which received quite an extraordinary number of votes and was posted by a seemingly reputable member of this community, didn't answer the question and didn't provide (sound) reasons for why the premise was false:
Yes, there is: realizing that "craftsmanship" is gender-neutral. People who think it is not should take it up with themselves, not the word.
If I see discrimination where there is none, the root of the problem is myself and not the language. It is also a textbook example of an etymological fallacy.
Craftsmanship implies "man" about as much as woman does.
I interpreted these 3 paragraphs as follows:
- The OP is irrational and should seek introspection, as he/she is lashing out at a word.
- The question contains a logical fallacy, and the questioner is the root cause of a perceived problem.
- The premise of the question is incorrect.
The first paragraph doesn't add any value, and shouldn't really be part of an answer. If the answerer was intending to make the argument that the word craftsmanship is in fact gender-neutral, he or she didn't make the reasons for this clear, and therefore the paragraph really only serves to deride the questioner.
The second paragraph begins with a dubious segway into the topic of discrimination and then makes the assertion that the question contains a fallacy, neither of which address the question.
The last paragraph seems to be a conclusion based on the "arguments" provided.
This is clearly a poor answer. The answer only addresses the question in so far as it claims the question is invalid, but fails even in that regard because it provides no meaningful explanation as to why.
This website is for linguists, etymologists, and serious enthusiasts, so while I can understand that poor answers come up once in a while (stack overflow is by no means immune to this), I was disappointed to see such strong support for this answer, which was provided by a user with a very high rating who is clearly a significant member of this community.
The community clearly accepts this as the correct answer.
Does this answer reflect the views of the community, or did the question just happen to touch a nerve for some members?
Am I incorrect in my interpretations of the answer and my view that it fails to address the question?