Feminism | Posted by Talia on 06/7/2013

In Defense of “Freshperson”

Next Fall, I’ll be enrolling in my first year of college. I’ll be a freshman – a concept that’s giving me pause not just because I’m questioning the existentialist quality of being a freshman, but because of the word itself. Why must I be a freshman?

According to dictionary.com, the word “freshman” comes from the words fresh (as in new) and man (as in not woman), and has been used to refer to first year university students since the 1590s. This term is clearly a relic of ye olden dayes (or, for some schools, a few decades ago) when higher education was a realm solely accessibly to (usually rich, upper class, white, able-bodied) men. Although we have abolished or significantly limited the usage of numerous gender-insensitive …

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