Anyone who has ever held a job- whether in government, private industry or the NGO’s- knows that this question comes up from time to time. Gather round the campfire and I shall share some lore with you.
Many moons ago at a Major Industrial Facility in the middle of the ocean, there was a need for woman supervisors. There many women supervisors and managers in the white-collar areas like purchasing and accounting but they kept running low in the trades. The progression was usually from apprentice to journeyman to instructor to supervisor/foreman so the Instructor jobs were sought after and a lot of attention was paid to filling them with the right people.
Let’s call her Sandra. Sandra was interviewed for the instructor job and was offered a position. She accepted and was scheduled to teach her first class some weeks later. So far, so good.
Fast-forward to the first day of class. Sandra doesn’t show up. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth, much glee among the apprentices who were, temporarily, being paid to do nothing. Finally someone reached her husband. No, he said, she wasn’t home. She was in Vegas for the Credit Union Convention, which is a big deal at Major Industrial Facilities. Sure enough, she had long ago requested vacation to go to the convention but hadn’t mentioned the conflict after she got the promotion because she didn’t want her vacation cancelled. Technically she was on approved vacation but she was AWOL from her teaching assignment.
This is the instance which gave rise to a lengthy debate among the finest minds in the Management Engineering Office on the question: Can you properly refer to a woman as an asshole?
I took the affirmative . Bobby Tamura took the negative. The whole office took sides. When the dust settled, the consensus was YES because “asshole” is a gender-neutral term. Both men and women have assholes, and by extension both men and women can BE assholes.
A distinction should be made between “assholes” and “bitches”, which is also a gender -neutral term. I know more male bitches than female, for the record. A bitch has to DO something or SAY something to be a bitch. Assholes just have to BE.
Okay. Discuss among yourselves.