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Soldiers, Sailors and ...?

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Soldiers, Sailors and ...?

Old 7th Aug 2020, 11:03
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Soldiers, Sailors and ...?

So a lot of discussion ongoing about finding a collective noun to equate to soldiers and sailors. I agree that ‘officers, airmen and airwomen’ is somewhat clunky but what to use instead?

‘Aviator’ seems the favourite at the moment, but before you all start quoting dictionaries, you do have to then accept an interpretation of the word that is:

a. Gender neutral by discounting the word aviatrix (in the same way the term actor now applies to women rather than actress).

b. Applicable to all those involved in the business of aviation (ie in the RAF), rather than just those who actually fly.

Or is there a better term?


The second issue revolves about the rank of Aircraftman (and LAC and SAC) which officially applies to women too - I believe their rank is not, bizarrely Aircraftwoman. It’s the only rank we have that is gendered, so how about changing that too, in the same way that the RN moved away from Able Seaman to Able Rate. One proposal is to change the term to ‘Specialist’ (or for the techies, ‘Technician’)

Now this is PPRuNe, so I fully expect the usual suspects to tell me that this is Political Correctness gone mad and how in the 80’s even the women were real men, but FWIW, my view is that it is both an easy thing to change and something that we ought to do. The test to me is that, as a bloke, would you want your rank to be ‘Aircraftwoman’?
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 11:51
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Originally Posted by Red Line Entry View Post
So a lot of discussion ongoing about finding a collective noun to equate to soldiers and sailors. I agree that ‘officers, airmen and airwomen’ is somewhat clunky but what to use instead?

‘Aviator’ seems the favourite at the moment, but before you all start quoting dictionaries, you do have to then accept an interpretation of the word that is:

a. Gender neutral by discounting the word aviatrix (in the same way the term actor now applies to women rather than actress).

b. Applicable to all those involved in the business of aviation (ie in the RAF), rather than just those who actually fly.

Or is there a better term?


The second issue revolves about the rank of Aircraftman (and LAC and SAC) which officially applies to women too - I believe their rank is not, bizarrely Aircraftwoman. It’s the only rank we have that is gendered, so how about changing that too, in the same way that the RN moved away from Able Seaman to Able Rate. One proposal is to change the term to ‘Specialist’ (or for the techies, ‘Technician’)

Now this is PPRuNe, so I fully expect the usual suspects to tell me that this is Political Correctness gone mad and how in the 80’s even the women were real men, but FWIW, my view is that it is both an easy thing to change and something that we ought to do. The test to me is that, as a bloke, would you want your rank to be ‘Aircraftwoman’?
Personally I think "aircraft specialist" is the best bet. Aviator implies too heavily in modern English that one flies.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 12:14
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... civilians.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 12:16
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Soldiers, Sailors and Airforce. It describes exactly whats on the tin.

You could then retain the rank structure as well Leading Airforce Colleague, Senior Airforce Colleague etc

Soldiers, Sailors and Aeronauts

Soldiers Sailors and a Higher Force..
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 12:19
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The second issue revolves about the rank of Aircraftman (and LAC and SAC) which officially applies to women too - I believe their rank is not, bizarrely Aircraftwoman. It’s the only rank we have that is gendered, so how about changing that too, in the same way that the RN moved away from Able Seaman to Able Rate. One proposal is to change the term to ‘Specialist’ (or for the techies, ‘Technician’)
They used to be, but they were binned with the WRAF, but then knowing the RAF and all their Gender cr*p they seem to foist upon themselves, you would need several variants these days.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 12:29
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The second issue revolves about the rank of Aircraftman (and LAC and SAC) which officially applies to women too - I believe their rank is not, bizarrely Aircraftwoman
The term man is not gender specific - “What a piece of work is man!” In Hamlet applies equally, as does mankind and manslaughter.

I always thought the trend to use terms such as chairperson was manifestly silly, as with attempts to eliminate the use of term as a prefix or suffix b6 those ignorant of the etymology.

https://www.etymonline.com/word/man

"a featherless plantigrade biped mammal of the genus Homo" [Century Dictionary], Old English man, mann "human being, person (male or female).
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 12:30
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Aeronaut is a good one.

Or perhaps we could bin all of them and refer to everyone collectively with that horrible Americanism 'Warfighter'.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 12:33
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The RCAF now use Aviator. I think it works and I can’t think of any other options that aren’t clumsy. Yes, you’d have to apply your assumptions but the outside world isn’t going to care, nor are those joining after any change of title.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 13:13
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
The term man is not gender specific - “What a piece of work is man!” In Hamlet applies equally, as does mankind and manslaughter.

I always thought the trend to use terms such as chairperson was manifestly silly, as with attempts to eliminate the use of term as a prefix or suffix b6 those ignorant of the etymology.

https://www.etymonline.com/word/man

"a featherless plantigrade biped mammal of the genus Homo" [Century Dictionary], Old English man, mann "human being, person (male or female).

Going out on a limb ORAC, I'd guess that you, like I, are male. I can assure that as far as a significant number of females are concerned, "man" is very gender specific and they do not wish to be described as such. Whilst males might not see the issue, it doesn't mean there is one.

In this case an issue exists that does everything from gently rubbing someone up the wrong way that they won't feel the need to say anything about, all the way to an issue big enough to stop people from joining. Indeed there are some women who genuinely don't give a crap, but that doesn't mean the organisation shouldn't change to bring the rest on board. Especially when that change costs literally nothing, why would one not?
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 13:18
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Soldiers, sailors and 'betters'. If adopted, Rocks will have to be 'soldiers', obvs!

It should be 'airmen' IMO. It's utilitarian, it will do fine.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 13:23
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New no2's to come as well....

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Old 7th Aug 2020, 13:26
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Going out on a limb ORAC, I'd guess that you, like I, are male.
In which case you are mistaken.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 13:29
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Originally Posted by ORAC View Post
In which case you are mistaken.
Legitimate, care to comment on the rest?
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 13:33
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'Airman, plural Airmen'.

'As in Man, plural Men' and 'Woman, plural Women' before anyone bangs the gender or LGB-GT drum....

Surprised our fishy friends haven't suggested 'Crabs'....
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 13:38
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Surely it should be Air'they' to avoid offending all those poor angst ridden souls who can't 'identify' with any gender at all? ;-)
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 13:45
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The Military,it covers everything
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 14:20
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Legitimate, care to comment on the rest?
I thought I did.

Even during the period when the WRAF was a separate service and had separate officer ranks - Section Officer etc - the names of the other ranks were the same as in the RAF and non-gender specific.

If the need is just to assuage perceived rather than actual slights or injustices to aid recruitment, then where does one draw the line? There will always be those who wish to feel offended.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 14:33
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Soldiers, Sailors and Evolution.... Just to show how far we have moved on.

Soldiers, Sailors and Xboxers...... The future of Aviation..

Soldiers, Sailors and Airwarriors
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 14:34
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Aviator means someone who flies, as a pilot. It's been the dictionary for longer than the RAF has existed. 'Specialist' doesn't work as the collective noun as it isn't exclusive to the air force, or even air power. 'Leading Specialist' and 'Senior Specialist' (but not Senior Air Specialist because of the abbreviation...) might work for ranks, but not the collective term.

While an abuse of the original etymology behind its creation, 'Ardian' might work, albeit it was originally proposed for officer ranks in the list which was drawn up when the Admiralty (and to a lesser extent the War Office) objected to the use of their ranks for the new service, but which wasn't implemented.

It is gender neutral, has some heritage and tradition behind it, although it is, of course, obscure and as the word (a combination of two Gaellic words) loosely means 'Chief Bird', it is clearly aviation-related, but doesn't suggest one who flies an aircraft. And using the 'primary provider of the UK's air power' mantra which was fashionable a few years ago, it fits with that, too. Finally, humans are higher in the pecking order (sorry....) than birds when it comes to the food chain, so 'chief bird' might work, just about, in that sense as well.
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Old 7th Aug 2020, 14:48
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If you’re getting silly call them collectively Angels (ranks Cherubim, Seraphim etc) with NCOs obviously being Archangels......

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