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Hi,

I'm a college student graduating in May with a Bachelor's of Arts. But there's a problem - I'm not a bachelor. I was wondering if you knew any institutions which award degrees that are more equality specific. Such as a "Mistress of Arts", etc.

Thank you for your time,

Laurie

Dear Laurie,

You certainly aren't the first to point out the inaccuracy of the label "bachelor", which isn't unlike the use of chairman, mailman, etc..... Language isn't the biggest feminist battle, but it is reflective of other issues. I learned a great lesson from Gloria Steinem--the act of reversals. For instance, the absurdity of "Bachelor of Arts" becomes clear when you even propose "Bachlorette of Arts" to apply to both men and women. Men and women would think that this was totally ridiculous - but the reverse doesn't set them off.

While I think that you are entirely right to point out the unfairness of this, I'm not sure there is anything that you can do. Maybe you can set something in motion for others to follow. For instance, how about allowing people to define themselves? I would certainly take your proposal to your school's administration with a range of possible solutions and see what comes of it. Your example would certainly benefit other people, too. I hope that helps - and congrats on your graduation!

- Amy

 

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