Let us look at the standard opening phrase of a standard business letter:
Well, this is clearly sexist as it precludes the possibility that a woman is reading the letter. We can try to fix this, however, by writing:
This was suggested in a recent posting in a few of the gender-issue related news groups. However, someone pointed out that by putting the masculine title before the feminine one, unacceptable dominance was demonstrated, making this non-PC. So, I tried to fix it:
Well, this is no good since we're showing dominance in the other direction. Of course, since Men are Oppressors and Womyn are Oppressees, that may not be so bad. But it's not really PC, is it? Ok, let's try again:
Dear Sir Madam,
Well, that solves the problem of who goes first. Of course, the Sir is on top now, which is completely unacceptable. Missionary style het-sexist imagery abounds. Very bad news, probably worse than the original. Ok, what about:
Dear Madam Sir,
Well, I was once told that men laying on their back during sex was sexist as they were making women do all the work. Besides, you still have one on top of the other showing dominance. We may not sure who's doing what, but somebody is being oppressed here. Next:
Put the Sir inside the Madam, ok, neither is going first and neither is above the other one. Ok? NO! This is terrible! The Sir has inserted himself inside the Madam! Practically splitting her in two with himself! How pornographic!! A man writing a letter addressed like this to a woman is obviously making an (unwanted) sexual advance. If he were at Antioch college, he'd be suspended for a year and have to go through rehabilitation. Catherine MacKinnon would have a fit!
Now we put the Madam inside the Sir. Oh, now the Sir has enveloped the Madam! Horrors, she has lost her identity, her sense of self! This is imprisonment! Ugh, how could I have even thought of this one?? I'm so ashamed!
Well, there's only one answer left:
To Whom it May Concern
There. Simple, no reference to sex or sexuality, no problems. Not very friendly, but then again unwanted intimacy is a sin. And getting rid of friendliness is a small price to pay to make sure that absolutely no-one is ever, ever offended.
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