Is the "Men at Work" Sign Sexist?

After PINK magazine editor Cynthia Good complained that its "Men at Work" and "Men Working" signs are sexist, the city of Atlanta is going to change them - at a tune of $1,000 - to "Workers Ahead."

The project, which involves painting over the existing 50 "Men at Work" and "Men Working" signs with those that say simply "Workers Ahead" or "Workers," will cost a total of $1,000, Atlanta Public Works Commissioner Joe Basista told

About half of the city's 100 Public Works employees are women, said Basista, so he complied with PINK magazine editor Cynthia Good's request to stop warning passersby of men at work when women were right there alongside them.

Now, she's going national:

"We're calling on the rest of the nation to follow suit and make a statement that we will not accept these subtle forms of discrimination," she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A sensible correction or political correctness gone mad? What do you think? Link - Thanks Chris Ayres!

The fact that feminists are dealing with this level of sexism means they've come a long way.

I remember reading about a court case where a woman was acquitted because text of the law in question used male pronouns.
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I suppose Ill start seeing about 100% more women out digging holes and patching roads vs taking my money when I visit the office to pay my bills or answering the phone.
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Considering how little it costs compared to other government expenses I think we should agree to not complain about it's possible 'super-PCness'. Also that it seems to be one of the last industries that's slow to recognize that women work for them..even if they're mostly given the flag work that's represented on the signs.
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Hey cool, you posted it!

I was blown away when I heard this story on the local news station. What else are we going to make gender neutral because of a couple of people who have nothing better to do than to cause problems?

"subtle forms of discrimination"... back when these signs were printed, probably only about 2% of workers were even women.. Thats not discrimination, thats just proper description. Do any of the women who work on the roads complain about it? I'd like to hear their thoughts.
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Looks like it'd be a hell of a lot easier to just put tape over the "men" on the sign. These feminazis aren't complaining about only men being required to register for the Selective Service.
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I just find it funny that I've never actually seen a woman out in the streets in full construction worker attire, patching the public sewage system, handling a jackhammer or driving an asphalt truck.

Actually, the street where I live has just recently been recapped, and it was actually the first time I took notice of how all 15 workers or so were men. Some quite young, some in the verge of retirement. But all men. And only then I realized I had never seen a woman doing that kind of job.

I'm not saying that women are not capable of doing stuff like that, and I concede that it's possible that they aren't out there doing heavy work on the streets exactly because of sexism ("this is a man's job" - like in the army, the coal mines, etc). But

With that said, a "workers ahead" sign is just as accurate and informative, and might also signal the path to a more egalitarian society in the future. So I'm not opposed to this specific request, as it makes sense.

However, there's no doubt that this request was rooted in acute political correctness gone overboard, what with the bitchiness of the "we will not accept these subtle forms of discrimination" statement (when it's actually more of a cultural staple and relics of a different era) and the immediate lawsuit.

There are nicer ways to go about it and raise awareness without being an asshole and shoving your point down everyone's throats.

And that's the kind of motivation and attitude that we have to watch out for.
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"These feminazis aren’t complaining about only men being required to register for the Selective Service."

ha! now we're talking about some serious sexism. Or or, what about ladies night at bars? I guess those have to go too.
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Ive seen and know several women that work for the city and not just flaggers. I doubt they care. Second definition of man - a human being of either sex. I think that definition is what the term men on the sign refers to. I dont think men working means males working.

ok Ill share my horrible sexist joke now

- How many women does it take to wallpaper a room?
~ Just one if you slice her thin enough
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"ha! now we’re talking about some serious sexism. Or or, what about ladies night at bars? I guess those have to go too."

Yeah, because sexist ladies' nights at clubs meant to draw in women so they can be ogled at by any given bar's unbalanced male population is *totally* a feminist scene.

I knew I shouldn't have clicked on the comments for this one.

And just so you know, some feminists are pushing for selective service registration, but I'm personally against that as long as *women are still restricted in how they can serve in the military*!

I don't think it's time for Selective Service until women are actual of equal status and can serve on front lines.
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I think it's wrong to frame the question as, are the signs sexist? It's not a question of sexism versus the lack of it. It's a question of whether the gendered language, while admittedly inaccurate at least for most definitions of 'men,' is necessary or preferable to nongendered language. Serious, sensitive writers know to avoid gendered language when speaking about individuals whose gender is not known or not determined. If they can convey the same basic meaning without betraying some gender judgment, they do so. In this case, 'Workers Ahead' sounds like a perfectly reasonable, effective alternative to me. It even includes the bonus 'ahead' that strikes me as a more descriptive warning. It's certainly much better than the awkward 'personhole' from 25 years ago.
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'bean' is quite possibly Neatorama's biggest source of shame..give it a scarlet letter A for asshattery to let visitors know this isn't normally a place for idiocy.

Also, notice how these things don't make news until someone complains about how PC it is..which means it's when the government wakes up and realizes that moving progressively should have happened a while ago before they were screamed at by gender-neutral enthusiasts. Of course it would be great if all this happened subtly without the need for grandiose campaigns but guess what, we still have a long way to go obviously so stop complaining about the protesters and start complaining why people still need to protest.
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When I myself am driving through a construction area and see one of those "MEN WORKING" signs, the last thing on my mind is only watch out for MEN! This lady obviously has control issue. My opinion: preposterous!
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Are they going to get angry at the Constitution too? Or any other legal documents for that matter.

Ive never seen a woman working out there, now that I think about it.
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"Subtle forms of discrimination" *shrug* she's right. Why should we accept all the subtle forms of discrimination too. Black people had to endure all that bullshit for a long time as well.
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This surprises me in two ways:

1) That anybody would take offense at this
2) That Atlanta didn't anticipate this years ago and switch the signs the cheap and easy way, as most places have done. (Washington State, for example, has been "Construction Ahead" as long as I can remember. But then again, we're not in the South.)
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I agree. Where are the women construction workers? I bet they have an opinion on this one way or another. Let's see what they have to say and decide on changing the signs. Regardless of what the signs say we should be careful on the road at all times.
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It's so good to see that things like prostitution, spousal abuse, and other exploitations of women have been completely iradicated, since we now have the time to focus on such trivial things.
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As peeves said earlier, it's not that expensive (as far as government spending goes) so I think I'd let this one slide even if it is stupid.

Guys we gotta pick our battles. Let the feminists have their stupid gender neutral signs.
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Wow.... what a waste of time. Women likes those make me want to crawl into the kitchen. If this is all they have to complain about, what's wrong? Aren't there people starving in the world? What about homelessness? How about inequality of education? War? Why not focus on real issues in which people are really suffering?

I'm embarrassed to be a woman with women like those defining our issues.
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Etymologically speaking, I understand that the original german word "man" is not gender specific, and applies equally to male and female humans.

Try looking up "man (word)" on wikepedia, sweetie.
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Zombie79, I'm sure women of the world wouldn't mind if you disappeared into the kitchen either. As far as everyone complaining about 'other issues of the world'..what the hell are YOU all doing about it and how do you know 'these women' aren't working on other stuff as well?
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If they really want to make the signs correct they need to change it to..."1 man working, 1 man and 1 woman holding stop/slow signs, 1 guy eating a sandwich, 2 guys leaning on shovels, 1 foreman sitting on the tailgate and...where the hell did the new guy go"
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"Forget the whole “people starving” thing, let’s focus on proper PC verbiage."

Yes, I'm sure they were planning on using the $1000 from the Atlanta Public Works budget to solve world hunger.

All the signs here just say "Construction ahead" or "SLOW Construction Zone". But yeah, if HALF the people working there are women (like it says in the article), they should probably go gender neutral.
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I've seen gender-neutral signs here and there for years. I think in most states, they just replace them with the new language when the signs need to be replaced.

As far as the jobs go, this is a door that swings both ways. There was a hue and cry a couple of years ago about how the majority of college students are now women. People wondered if there was some discrimination toward men in admissions. When they looked at the situation up close, it turns out that men are less likely to go to college because they can get a decent-paying job without a degree. It's still hard for a woman to get someone to teach her how to run a backhoe. I told my daughters if they ever get the opportunity, go for it.
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Miss Cellania - "just replace them with the new language when the signs need to be replaced"
This is exactly what I want in tax funded organizations (especially during an economic downturn). But instead they spend $1000 to update the 50 existing signs, and an additional $144 per new sign ordered. I'm not saying they need to fix the world's ills with it. Just fix a pothole or two.

Also, wouldn't it be a lot cheaper to buy 50 of the old signs and repaint them, than to order the new ones at $144 extra?
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I think the US has more important things to worry about...

these kinds of things are literally such a waste of time and money...
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This is silly. The whole changing the language to be gender neutral thing is silly, and replacing the signs because a few radical feminists get offended is a waste of money that could go into more useful things. As a woman, I would rather see real changes to combat discrimination than symbolic (ie meaningless) changes.
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alright, i'm female. here's what i think-- ralph woods had the most non-abrasive, fair assessment of this situation. well stated, honest, and not offensive to even the most sensitive feminist. and ralph-- i've seen almost all-female roadside crews spreading tar and ripping up roads. they're out there, i promise you. maybe it's just the region you live in or something.

i'm not a sensitive feminist and i think this is an overreaction. being politically correct anymore is taboo and now that women DO have equal rights to men they're taking every opportunity to nit-pick at the "men" terms that still exist. and they exist not because the system is still sexist, but because it is IMPOSSIBLE to change absolutely every single sign, poster, book, policy, sticker, and proper name to accomodate all the feminists' social needs. this chick could have EASILY mentioned that "hey! times have changed and these signs need to as well." but also, as someone else mentioned above, that "man" is short for "mankind" and is a universal term for all human beings. when you say "man-power" it doesn't imply that the only people participating are men. it implies that HUMANS are participating. if we want to be COMPLETELY policitally correct, we would say "human power." or "humans at work."

i hate feminists. they overreact about everything having to do with gender equality and are severely harming their own cause. they think that women deserve BETTER treatment than men because we've been oppressed for the last how many years and we have to "make up" for lost time by overcompensating. hence all those dumb-husband commercials-- you know the ones. i can't STAND them. women are not superior to men, and vise-versa. they each have elements that contribute to healthy diversification because yes, we're different from each other. but think of our differences like puzzle pieces. we all have our own specializations and niches, and when placed alongside complementary pieces, we fit together quite nicely to form a pretty picture.
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This is a waste of money. All those millions of dollars spent changing something that doesn't really offend ANYONE could be used to make roads SAFER or CLEANER.

i'm female. i can't stand feminists.
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How about a sign for Rhode Island construction zone

It would have to say something like,

"Guys working while a cop gets paid overtime just to watch and some state senator's wife gets paid $40 an hour to hold the slow/stop sign."
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As a woman working in a predominately man's field, all I gotta say is - make the bitch pay for the changes of the signs, and leave the rest of us taxpayers out of her little feminist-without-a-cause BS.

Does she have NOTHING better to protest?!

Damn nut job.
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You have this woman to thank for the $1000 of unfixed potholes in the area.

Also, maybe this woman should be fighting to be a part of the selective service enrollment – oh wait, feminists only care about things that will BENEFIT THEMSELVES. (even if it's just adding to their smug level)

I'm all for treating women equally, but this woman is an idiot.
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Yeah I bet they wasted a lot of money paying to take all those "Whites Only" signs down from bathrooms, drinking fountains and lunch counters, too. Stupid PC bastards! I mean, once they changed the law it didn't matter that the signs were still there, right? And I bet a lot of places remained white only anyway, right? Poor taxpayer dollars at waste, I tell ya. Remember when gay used to be our word? Remember when women couldn't vote?
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Proof that "political correctness" is doing more damage than good.
O.K. They have a point. But, it seems that someone has far to much time to fritter on this rather than making a ground breaking change for humanity.

Bah on the Victorian bullshit in American society.
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We should strive for accuracy and efficient communication in all of our publicly funded endeavors, whether or not they are controversial. The outrage may be unjustified, but perhaps the sign change is not?
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I can't believe how intolerant both the male and female posters have been. It's a tiny expenditure to correct an inaccuracy. How could you possibly have a problem with that?

But instead of recognizing this as a simple adjustment, people are coming out of the woodwork to insult "feminazis" and generally get their primitive, ignorant knee-jerk reactions on. Nice work. Oh and also, the female commenters are rushing to support the opinions of their idiot colleagues, lest they seem weak, lest they appear to actually care about their own gender and issues around equality. The horror!

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As a female, and one who is proud of who and what she is, I take exception to those that feel I am trying to act tough or otherwise uncaring about my own gender. This is such a petty issue that has utterly zero meaning. Changing language does not change reality. It's a little band-aid to please those who choose to find offense in everything around them, nothing more. A change in the sign is nothing but frivolous spending. After all, most people drive by these signs not thinking, "Gee, there might be a woman on the road crew..." They drive through slowing down and muttering about the hold up. I don't even look at the road crews to see if there are men or women out there unless they are in the direct path of my vehicle. This isn't about equality. It would be if women were forbidden from working on said road crew. This is about nit-picking.

To complain about this rather than the real issues that affect women on a daily basis that need change is ignorance, complaining just to be controversial, and makes all women look bad.

As for "supporting idiot colleagues", that's a statement that could easily be taken as man hating. Not all men are chauvinistic, just as not all feminists are harpies.
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My point, Evilbeagle, is that it apparently is an issue for some people, and it makes very little sense to castigate those people for having their opinion on the matter. And in this case, making the sign reflect the present day is easy and cheap. Getting offended at people for being offended is dumb. It's popular to pick on people who seem to be "oversensitive" but it actually makes no sense. It's a non-starter.

It hurts you not at all if people want these signs changed. If this were a post about some other tiny expenditure in public works, you would not have commented. So I find it telling that the fact that somebody wants outdated signage changed compels you and others to get up in arms.

And I didn't say all men are chauvinistic; I said that the people crying foul over somebody wanting a piddly sign changed are idiots, and the fact that the issue has a gender component is obviously the operative factor in their overblown responses. To pretend otherwise is a joke.

And as for language not changing reality, well, that's wrong on about a thousand levels.

My main point, though, is that the almost violent reaction people have to other people's sensitivities is absurd. If someone feels offended by something, why does that offend you? It's common sense to say "Well, I may not be personally offended by such-and-such issue, but if it bothers somebody else, who am I to say their feelings are wrong?" Instead of taking that tack, people start flipping out and attacking.

I guess it's just easy to attack people for their opinions on what bothers them and requires less intellectual work than considering where they may be coming from, considering the power of symbols and language in culture, and considering the possibility that stale complaints about an "overly PC" environment are cliched and dense at best, and covers for prejudice at worst.
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It says a lot about the degree of sexism in this country when women proudly state that they hate feminists... How can a WOMAN hate someone for being for equal rights for women? How can anyone hate someone for being against discrimination of women, for that matter?

I will never understand why it is so controversial to be a feminist, when it's not controversial to be, say, anti-racist.
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I went to school in Atlanta for 4 years, drove all over the city, and can't remember ever seeing any of these signs. I can remember all the potholes and horrible roads. Does it surprise anyone that the whole city only has 50 signs? It doesn't seem like a lot.
Everyone mentions that $1000 isn't a lot of money, but I think Atlanta could use it for something better than re-labeling signs.

And finally, I'm not at all surprised that this started in Atlanta. We are the crown jewel of political correctness. I've lived many places, but here everything has to do with whether you're black, white, young, old, male, female, etc. Yes we're from the south. We have a history that isn't the most understanding of others differences (to say the very least) but to go overboard in political correctness (especially when common sense goes out the window) is unnecessary and counterproductive.
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Violet: "If someone feels offended by something, why does that offend you? It’s common sense to say “Well, I may not be personally offended by such-and-such issue, but if it bothers somebody else, who am I to say their feelings are wrong?” Instead of taking that tack, people start flipping out and attacking."

Because if the idiots don't start flipping out, how will the rest of us know how cool and jaded and above-it-all they are?

Toss in some sexist jokes and gratuitous use of the word "feminazi" and you have the gold standard Trifecta Of Moron that always comes up around issues like these. Thanks for keeping standards low, commenters!
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@ gryt

As a women who is offended by these "equal rights" arguments from the feminist camp, I can answer your inquiry. A sign that reads "men at work" in no way offends me, OR limits my right as a woman. What am I no longer allowed to do because of the words on that sign? Am I forbidden from driving? Can I not vote anymore? Must I give up my job? Should I instantly become pregnant and slave away for my husband after reading that?

Women who do choose to be offended by verbiage on a sign they'll MAYBE see for a total of thirty minutes in an entire year, are wasting time and money. There are so many other real trespasses against women that such petty complaints from a group of women who have never known true discrimination is an embarrassment to our gender.

In a world where women are still subjected horrors like female circumcision, anyone who bitches the words printed on a sign is a crime against their rights - should be ashamed.
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@Tim, thanks!

@violet - Let me just address a few points. I am against any costly public works project that wastes money. You obviously missed where I am coming from, and I feel that this is a waste of money. So, you're wrong about me, which is unsurprising.

I also don't believe in being wasteful because a few people are offended by something. I don't care about pleasing a few people who are overly sensitive, as this woman is. If you do not see that, then, sorry, but you are overly sensitive as this is utterly meaningless.

Political correctness breeds hypocrisy and resentment. I find that when people couch their words in PC terms, they are doing so because it's not really what they mean. I would prefer to have someone call me what's really on their mind so I know where I stand with them. And that is what I mean when I say language changes nothing about reality. The reality doesn't change, the language merely takes on a connotation that is both insincere and ultimately more insulting.

Your comment was certainly degrading to men. Am I offended? No. I am not a man nor do I take up causes. I have better things to do with my world. If someone comes out and says the same thing referring to women, then it would immediately equate to insisting that women stay home and breed.

The only point radical feminism has, or any form of radical thought for that matter, is to bring about sensible moderation. Quite frankly, I don't care if the sign says "men at work", "people at work", or whatever. However, when it comes at a cost to the taxpayer in a world where there are issues that should take precedence, then there is a problem. Because one woman whines about a road sign and gets a bunch of radicals wound up is no reason to waste money, no matter how cheap the sign.

Gender neutrality in all things might seem all pretty and equal, but in the end, it promotes a cultural androgyny that is quite frankly, sad. A road sign, again, is meaningless, but the fact that some wing nut wants to waste money on the matter that might be better spent on actually, you know, doing something good and useful, is simply ridiculous and makes all women look like radical bra burners that no one truly respects.
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If you don't think language changes reality, you're not paying attention. Our entire existence is colored by language. The first step in understanding something is applying language to it, and the words we choose have a fundamental effect on perception.
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Tell that to African Americans who still deal with racism on a daily basis, or to the mentally challenged, who are still getting stared and snickered at by the insensitive, c-dub. Really, it's all just a way to find sneakier ways to be racist, insensitive, sexist, or otherwise underhanded. It's only breeding a hypocritical culture. But, whatever, you are allowed to fool yourself. I prefer reality myself, thank you.
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Token gestures like these do nothing to halt real sexism, racism, or prejudice that exists in society, and only serve to inflame and give sexist, racist, and prejudiced people more to grind their axes about.

The only females I've ever seen working at the side of the road were doing the easy job of turning the STOP sign every two minutes.

That being said, it's surprising - no, ludicrous - that Atlanta still has Men at Work signs.
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Are you actually responding to my comment? Because I don't see how your points (that discrimination exists, that culture is hypocritical, and that I am somehow fooling myself) have anything to do with my point (that language affects reality).

Goodness knows we don't want to upset sexist, racist, and prejudiced people. It's probably best just to let them go unchallenged. Excellent idea.
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Yes, c-dub, you just didn't like my response. You say language affects reality. Well, I've given some examples where it hasn't. Because that's what things like this sign are all about. Changing the language to give some nit picker a sense of satisfaction even though it isn't changing anyone's attitude. So, no language doesn't change reality, and those who just run around wanting to change the language and get bent out of shape because people are saying "mankind", "manhole cover", and "men at work" are too lazy and too deluded to try and make real changes, making all women look like idiots in the process.

I believe in equality, but I earn my respect as an individual, not by strong arming people into using gender neutral words, which to me, merits no respect.
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Umm, this article isn't about anything more than white washing prejudices. Nothing wrong with a label, since everyone labels everything they see. If you're afraid of calling the kettle black, dealing with it, and then moving on, Then nothing will ever change other than the terminology for it.

c dub, get a grip. Me, being a child of the 60s, seeing the bullshit it brought, and then the changes that have come with time, no PC naming of the problem changed anything.

If you haven't lived long enough to have witnessed the riots, police brutalities, fancy names for war, and the political hedging used to go around the problem, then go back to you xbox360 and spout crap to the other 13 year olds you play with.
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c-dub, I didn't say "let's pander to bigots". Simply, concentrating on silly issues like this simply gives them more ammo, because rational people object to silly stuff, too.
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Those were "examples" of language not effecting reality? Honestly, I don't see any connection whatsoever.

@Tim Giachetti:
So we should still be calling African-Americans "n******" (there's one example) because words and labels are meaningless? The fact is, Tim, that the language we use DOES change our attitudes in a fundamental way.

If someone, bigoted or not, has a problem with equality, they have to deal with it: don't expect me to change my behavior to accommodate them.
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I am incredibly disappointed at the response to this story.

The signs ARE sexist. So much of our language and culture disappears women and the work that we do. I have, in fact, worked for road crews, and I did a damn good job, better than some of the men, but that wasn't good enough to prevent the name-calling, the sexual harassment, the belittlement--all because I had the audacity to have a vagina and do manual labor at the same time.

These road signs add insult to injury to women all over the country who bust their butts doing the best job they can to get the job done and go home. Their contribution shouldn't be erased or silenced by state-funded signs, and they certainly shouldn't be called bitches and feminazis because they're trying to be treated like a human being.
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@c-dub then you obviously misunderstand the whole idea behind language affecting reality and political correctness. That, or you are being purposely dense in order to try and get a rise out of me, which won't happen. Nice try, though.

Your comment to Tim also show your insistence in being dramatic and purposely thick.
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What do you want from a kid who has only known P.C. bullshit Beagle.

He hasn't lived through any real problems yet except the lies he's told about Iraq.

Move along and don't feed this troll.

Buh Bye c-nub
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Actually, I think all of your examples are proof of language affecting reality. Think of the prevalent use of the n-word, and then other terms used against African Americans. As their place in society has become more secure and their opportunities to succeed have increased, the usage of these words has been condemned. That's language reflecting a change in culture and helping to facilitate it.

Look at the condemnation of the term "retard" and it's counterpart, Mentally Challenged, today. I mean, the fact that these PC terms have even become the norm show that language reflects societal change on a fundamental level, and helps to facilitate that change in the real, everyday world.

I think that it's not so much for the passers-by that are women, it's the workers that matter. And, if you read the article, you'll notice that 50% of the crews that actually work on the roads are women. I think that's an important 50% to be acknowledged, don't you?
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I have to disagree. The use of language has not affected the way people are treated. I'm not talking about use of the N-word. That's not a word that has ever been truly acceptable, but if you take the term African American (here goes a tangent), first of all, black is not a bad or negative word any more than white is. Secondly, African American suggests division (thought I don't feel it creates it) and is inaccurate. Division because it separates people from being simply American, inaccurate because most AA's in the US don't have a relative in living memory that has ever even set foot in Africa. Seriously, my parents were born in Cuba, but that doesn't make me Cuban-American. Secondly, as a person married to a white man from Africa, if we were to move to the States, he would have more of a right to be referred to as an AA than any black person out there, but that would never happen because everyone wants to hang onto this facade of being multicultural by using all the right phrases.

Society doesn't need a sanitization of language to "change" anything, because it doesn't. That change has come gradually through the different movements that concentrated on equality through realistic and intelligent means. Language that is sanitized and changed to please some perverse need create a new word for everything is as I have said before, breeding hypocrisy. It is much easier to hide behind PC terms and act in racist/sexist ways. I've been there/done that working in the construction industry. To be offended by a "men at work" sign is just looking to be offended and chomping at the bit for drama.

Furthermore, I could care less about acknowledgement so long as I am getting the pay check and the respect on the job that I deserve. I don't deserve it for the mere fact that I am a woman, but because I do my job well and treat everyone fairly. That is why when I was working, I did very well in the corporate, male dominated environment. I don't see men and women, I see people, and I don't stick to my kind when they don't deserve it. Having a set of ovaries doesn't make a person more deserving, as many feminists seem to think because they are in a mindset that the oppressed should become the oppressor. If the sign says "men at work" and I am on that road crew, who cares? I am not out to prove anything to anyone that's driving by. I really don't care about the perceptions of others, nor do I need a pat on the back. That's asking not for equality, but for superiority.

Gender neutrality is a silly notion created by silly people who found that after the womens' movement began to make serious strides, they were losing their relevance. Therefore, they started to get more vocal about changing the language, which again, means nothing. Rather than doing productive things for women, they sit around looking for things to complain and whine about. No one in their right mind respects a whiner, and I have zero respect for this woman who is out to change road signs, nor do I have any respect for the City of Atlanta for complying. There are better, more useful things to do.
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I'd like to point out exactly how little money we're talking about. If every citizen in Atlanta city limits paid equally for this, we're only talking about just under 1/5 of a penny per person. If you include everyone who's in the greater metro area, the number goes down to just under 1/50 of a penny per person. I found enough pennies in my couch to pay for everyone who's posted here, so don't worry, I've got you covered if you can't float the cost.

To those who say that Atlanta should use the money to fill potholes, or whatever, I'd like to point out that Georgia has some of the best roads in the country. We may be 49th in education, but dammit, we've got great roads.

To those who use this comment section to accuse anyone who's for womens' rights and equality of being a feminazi or whatever (regardless of how senseless this particular issue is), eat a dick.
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I honestly don't see any "examples" in any of your comments of where language hasn't affected reality -- I'm not trying to get a rise out of you, I just can't find them. Maybe I actually am missing something. And my comment about the N-word was a perfectly rational response to anyone who argues that words and labels don't matter. It doesn't suit your argument, though, so you disparage it (and me). Let's just say that I'm not crushed.

I do agree with some of your points: I think "African American" is often inaccurate (although I won't argue with anyone who wants to be identified that way). But your contention that the words we use to describe things have no bearing on our attitudes towards them is patently and demonstrably false. If I were to call my wife "Bitch" every day rather than "Sweetheart," you don't think that would color my attitude towards her? Words carry weight, and to deny that is to deny the entire history of human discourse. Yes, I understand that no one is talking about the difference between the words "bitch" and "sweetheart," but you (and other commenters) have taken this opportunity to make blanket statements about the effects of language -- so I'll respond in kind. Frankly, I don't think these road signs would bother me much if I were a woman on the crew, but we seem to be debating much larger issues.

From there, your last comment goes off the rails entirely. You don't want acknowledgment, only respect, but simple acknowledgment is the most fundamental form of respect. No one in this story is asking for special treatment -- only equal treatment. No one is asking for a pat on the back, or to be considered more deserving -- only equally deserving. No one is trying to become "the oppressor" (and you thought my earlier comment was prone to drama). Reading your comment makes it clear that, at some point, you decided to describe accuracy and equality as "special treatment" -- a term that creates the specific reality of your argument. How odd, and how ironic.
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@c-dub, actually, I do see where you are misunderstanding the point. A word like "bitch" is a vulgarity, as is the N word. Those are words not used in polite company anyway. Big difference from saying "broad" and "lady". If a person is forced to say "lady" when they mean "broad", the only change is in the language, not the attitude, and that's where the hypocrisy comes in. Say what you mean or don't say it at all. PC takes honesty out of the equation. And at the very least, be accurate. Do you think a "mentally challenged" child chose that "challenge"? I'm not saying that we should point and laugh and say, "Look at the little 'tard." I'm just saying that sugarcoating language doesn't change reality, and it certainly doesn't change attitude. If that were the case, we could just solve every wrong that people do one another with language. I don't believe that women and black people claiming the N or C words to change the connotation by using it are doing themselves any favors either. They just look stupid.

Acknowledgement and respect are two very different things. And if those women on the road crew don't care what the sign says, aren't they really the only ones that matter?

A sign does not equate to equal treatment just as words don't, neither does language. If one is asking for acknowledgement, they are asking for a pat on the back. Is anyone patting those guys on the back? A sign surely isn't. They don't care what it says either, no doubt.

The radical feminist that is so overly sensitive that she can't drive by a "men at work" sign without getting bent out of shape over it is looking for the drama. She is the radical that seeks to oppress the oppressor. Having taken tedious classes during my uni years on Feminist Philosophy, I do know what I am talking about. The changing of language is a misguided attempt to gain an upper hand.

Personally, I don't care what the sign says, but when it costs even 1/5 of a penny to change it for the taxpayer because one small radical, man hating group has issues with it, then I have a problem. And trust me, this is the type of feminist that thinks all forms of sex between men and women equate to rape and a power struggle. I don't have a problem with feminism until it becomes radical in this manner. I hate radicals of any kind, and I will say that at the risk of sounding radical myself.

A bigot is going to say one thing and think another no matter how much you drum language into them. That's the bottom line about language. It's not changing what was changing just fine on its own.
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How about that grand is put towards improving shelters, for both women and men, or perhaps education and lobbying costs for the legalization of abortion, or any one of a hundred things that would improve equality on a far greater scale than a road sign that people rarely read, most likely don't care about and has no misogynistic or sexist intent.

It's a SIGN.

And if I'm working on a road, whether I've got a vagina or a penis, I'd like drivers to know it.

Call me a man if you like-- just don't run me over.

Seriously. PINK needs to focus its priorities. Because unless we've solved every other issue of gender (not female) equality, this is a ridiculous waste of time, money and resources.

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Evilbeagle, why do you get to decide how taxpayer money is spent while feminists who disagree with the sign is not?

I reiterate that I once worked on a road crew, and most of the women I worked with disliked the signs because it was yet another way their contribution was ignored or belittled, even though it was always at least equal to the work the men were doing.

It is disheartening to go to work every day and have your petty, mean-spirited co-workers not only dehumanize you and silence your contributions, but to also be the only ones whose work is recognized and respected.

Look at the number of posters here who have said, in effect, that the signs shouldn't be changed because there aren't many women on road crews. We are there.

Take a reality check on your male privilege, or if you're female, ask yourself why you want that patriarchal pat on the head so badly. It's certainly not doing much to further the condition of women.
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Jesus, I go out for a Doctors appointment telling you to not feed the Troll. What happens? I get back and check in here after a few hours and more Trolls come to be fed.

In my best un-politically correctness, if all you douche bags want the change, fucking pay for it out of your own pocket. Get a fucking life with what's left. Move the fuck on.

It's useless to try to reason with the unreasonable.
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Well, Iggy, it's like this. Those feminists are the only ones that care. They are in the minority. Ta da. If the women on the road crews want it so badly, they can pay for the signs. Not that many people care.It's not a step toward equality. It's not helping anyone's cause. In fact, it's just going to breed resentment among those that would rather see that money go toward something that actually improves the community rather than stroke the ego of a small bunch of women with nothing better to do with their time and who think they are still in college and that the world can be changed if someone throws a war and no one shows up.

Acknowledgement comes in a pay check, a promotion, a pension, not a stupid sign that no one really notices. Respect comes with the individual that earns it through action. They are very different things. I can acknowledge a terrorist, but that doesn't mean that I respect them.
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I'm female, by the way, Iggy. I have worked with men, and actually prefer to work with men, and found that you are treated as an equal if you deserve it. And guess what? I am a housewife now. A housewife with a degree that thinks terms like homemaker and domestic administrator are pompous BS terms. Call me what you want but I scrub that toilet and iron those shirts all the same. My husband and I are a team effort and have all the respect in the world for one another because neither of us feel that what the other does is more or less and we aren't in a competition. And when we take that little sports car out on the track, I still win, and not because he lets me. I am more empowered than any fluffed up radical feminist that feels she needs to act like an alpha male bully to get her way.
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@ Evilbeagle

Fantastic, we agree on the use of the term African American. You used it, so I used it. Get over it.

If you don't think the n-word was acceptable at one time, you really need to research. Not only was it used throughout America until the 1800's, but it continues to be used in many areas today.

As I stated, the language is a sign that change is happening first. The fact that people switched to the term "Negro", and then to "Black" was just evidence that attitudes were changing. However, when people used those terms, their children learned that the old terms were offensive. I, as a child, was told never to use the words N***** or Negro to describe a person, I was told to use Black or African American. I was told why. I'm not going to say that my parents telling me not to call Black people an abominable name caused me to be more accepting of people of a different race, but it definitely had an impact on me (and generations of children with parents like mine).

That whole third paragraph is you. Fantastic. Glad you feel that way. Not everyone does. I don't care that all the literature about my place of work refers to the tutors as "he" and uses male pronouns, but if another girl did I wouldn't call her a whiner or feminazi for it. The fact is, if we change language, people don't associate those jobs with a specific sex. It's psychological, and it happens.

I don't care one way or the other, but saying "This woman is crazy" or the equivalent is just as useless as changing the signs. If you're going to continue complaining about those who whine, you're not getting out and doing something productive. Why don't you?
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Oh man, throwing around terms like "patriarchal" and "male privilege", as if a woman who really doesn't care if the sign says "Men" are just lap dog trophy wife bimbos.

"It is disheartening to go to work every day and have your petty, mean-spirited co-workers not only dehumanize you and silence your contributions, but to also be the only ones whose work is recognized and respected."

I've worked in a few places where women were the ones doing this. Guess what? It goes both ways, regardless of sex.
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Evil, you have stopped making any sense at all.

"If the women on the road crews want it so badly, they can pay for the signs."

That is the stupidest thing I have ever read. If you had a job (not that being a housewife isn't a job, it is, I just mean a job back in the corporate world), and your office decides to upgrade computers, how bout they make you pay for it? Or, here's an idea, if the city decides that you need to use extra special envelopes, how about- instead of your company- YOU pay for it? Your comment was completely idiotic.

Women want to be recognized for doing their job, and ask for 1/50th of a cent of the people in the area, and they should just shut up and get over themselves? I think not.
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@ ted

Great for you, you were treated unfairly. What she said was true, regardless of what gender you are, and if you feel that way you should take action.
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I know the history of the N word. It was acceptable at one time, but always offensive. It was not meant to make a slave feel proud of himself. So, in reality, it was never a nice word. As for Negro, in Spanish, that is the term used and it was never offensive. I don't use it because in English, it's like saying "groovy" or "the cat's pajamas" and "square" and doesn't come to me naturally, but it's not that alien or offensive. And by the way, one of my grandparents is black.

And it comes down to the majority. The majority never even noticed, cared, or cares now about that sign. It's just someone out to make a public point in the worst way possible and it's insulting to all women if they just look at it without feeling like they have to band together and fight the man. Seriously, why hide behind other women and not just be an individual?

As for my doing something productive? I do, actually, but I would rather do for animals in need than people. They are more appreciative. They don't talk. They don't care if someone messes up on their gender. I have all sorts of time to take up pet causes, and I do that. Radical feminists are not one of them.
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Speaking of the majority, the majority of people in the US don't speak Spanish, they speak English, so you're "Negro" point is moot. I don't care what your ethnicity is or how Black people in your family are, my point still stands. The fact that its use has faded is evidence of a different way of looking at people with different skin colors. I never said it was used nicely, I said it promoted and was a sign of changing attitudes.

So by your reasoning, as long as the majority doesn't care, social injustice is just fine. Brings to mind the majority's attitude during the Holocaust, Jim Crow laws, and women's suffrage.

Oh well, as long as the majority's cool with it...
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Lenore, I just read your first response. No, it's not stupid. It's not the same as upgrading a computer because it doesn't equate to the same amount of productivity. The sign itself is useful for drivers approaching the site, but whether it says men or people are at work doesn't change the function of the sign. So, call it stupid if you will, but in the end, that sign isn't doing anything for the job. If you want a worker to take pride in their work, hire someone who's going to do that regardless, not someone that's going to pout because the sign doesn't validate them. What they do is what validates them as employees regardless of gender. So, yeah, they should get over it. That 1/50 of a cent doesn't need to go into anyone's ego trip.

This sign issue is maybe the stupidest thing I've ever heard. If that's what these so called women feel they need to feel equal or valid, then they are pathetic individuals in need of some real meaning in their lives.
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It doesn't change anything, Lenore. Point is, Spanish, English, whatever, prejudices exist no matter what you dress it up ass word wise.

And really, what a cheap shot, Lenore. A sign, the use of language, hardly compare to the Holocaust. You really shouldn't cheapen atrocities that way.
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Whatever, I've given up on that point.

I'm not comparing the two events, that would be completely stupid. I'm saying what you said, your exact words, actually, apply to much more than the sign argument.

"And it comes down to the majority. The majority never even noticed, cared, or cares now about that sign."

The majority fails to notice or care about many things. That doesn't mean they should be ignored.
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