Takin’ our jerbs.

Outspoken media personality Sir Robert Jones said he believed a “lesbian takeover” was behind a new law requiring a court jury foreman to instead be called a foreperson.

That’s interesting.

And by “interesting” I mean, “At best misogynistic, and at worst batshit insane.”

It’s very obvious that the female gender gets the short end of the stick with regards to language use in contemporary NZ culture. Men say things like “That’s a bit of a girly drink”. People are told to “Quit your bitching.”. Sports figures “Throw like a girl”. And so on, and so on.

“Foreman” isn’t as bad as the explicitly negative comparisons I’ve just listed, but it does still clearly contain an inherent bias. Of COURSE the person fronting for the jury is a MAN! One could hardly trust a woman to do the job!

I’m not excluding myself from this gripe, by the way. I’m as bad as anyone at using language in this manner, but at least I’m aware of it, and I try my best not to be a complete pillock with regards to matters of gender bias.

I’m certainly rather shocked that anyone in the 21st century could seriously see an attempt to neutralize this kind of male skew, especially in the language of law, as a “lesbian takeover”.


  1. “It’s a neutralisation of sex instead of saying foreman or forewoman.”

    How is that even REMOTELY defensible? He’s acting as if he seriously believes we already had a perfectly good word for a female head juror (and, while we’re at it, I personally think “head juror” is a damn sight more agreeable than “foreperson”) that everybody was using with the utmost fairness and facility until those damned LESBIANS went and ruined everything. Also:

    “There’s hardly a Government head that’s not a lesbian…”


  2. Sometimes I wonder what would happen to these ‘lesbian cabal’ guys if the lesbians actually DID take over.

  3. However, “foreperson” just sounds silly (let alone “foreperchild”…). I’d much rather see ‘s “head juror” if a formal change is needed. “forejuror” maybe, undertaking the act of “forejury”

    I’m curious as to how long it might take (if ever) for “person” to become a masculine reference in the same way that “man” did — it was originally gender-neutral in Old English.

  4. Bob Jones is a twit who likes his women slim and submissive.

    OTOH I HATE clunky inclusive language and fore-person is about as clunky as anvil on the head. Head Juror is fine. I’d happily be called a foreman, because hey, if you can’t work out I’m a woman, then the jokes on you.

    • I’m entirely used to using “Madam chairman” to address the Chair. “Madam foreman” works quite nicely too, though admittedly there’s not really the option of referring to the office in general as “the Fore”.

    • I don’t think the issue is whether you can work out whether any particular fore-entity is male or female (or even if that matters) but that the term when used in an abstract/hypothetical situation shouldn’t call just one sex to mind – saying “foreman” pretty much instructs one’s brain to picture a bloke.

      • To me, ‘foreman’ is gender neutral. I find inclusive language to be a bit patronizing, as though we need to play games with the language to make women included. I just assume inclusion.

        So for example, ‘mankind’ is a synonym to ‘humanity’ and I have no problem with it. Same for chairman, manhole etc.

  5. Love the way he says “lesbians don’t want to acknowledge any sex”. Unless I’m very much mistaken lesbians are as particular about sex as het people are.

    I agree that “head juror” would be a better term than foreperson as both more mellifluous and more descriptive but I’ll take the clunky and inclusive over the exlusive term any day.

  6. I, for one, welcome our new lesbian overlords.

  7. I should think heterosexual ladies ought to be more pissed off about the accusation, which after all is suggesting they don’t have the balls to make such changes themselves and they are therefore are reliant on the lesbians to do it for them.

  8. This, after all, is the same guy who recently said that Nelson Mandela is lionised as a hero when all he did is sit in jail like most black people. He just likes seeing his name in the paper, and unfortunately the media are all too happy to assist him to achieve this.

    • I suspect Bob Jones is just deliberately saying whatever will raise the blood pressure of anyone who doesn’t think like Bob Jones. As you point out, the media is typically irresponsible in quoting him on this issue.

  9. Personally I don’t care what the word man is replaced by to create a gender neutral alternative as long as it’s one sylable, the less sylables the more likely it is that people will actually use it.

    Personally though, I think it’s more important to change the way people think about women, than change the language, it should be perfectly acceptable to call the jury foreman, foreman, provided you don’t so much as blink when this role is being filled by a woman.

    But like most things, the people yelling loudest that something should be changed or stopped don’t seem to think they are responsible for providing a “just as effective” alternative.

    • I think the two things have to go hand-in-hand. It’s very hard to have a thought that you don’t have the language for (think about how hard grasping the full concept of mana is for a non-maori – we only really ever manage an approximation) so changing the language kind of is part of changing the thinking.

  10. “Bob Jones and the Lesbian Takeover” would be a great name for a band. Especially if they were a cross-dressing punk band. Yeah.