The Associated Press, which holds the dubious honor of upholding the all-but-nonexistent standards of print journalism with its AP Stylebook, is now the object of ridicule for sticking up for an odd group of “marginalized” individuals.
That group being … mistresses?
The style guide recently eliminated the term “mistress” as acceptable English because the word “implies that the woman was solely responsible for the affair,” according to a story at DailyMail.com.
One wonders which particular AP stylebook editor(s) felt triggered by that concept, and why.
Instead of the toxic word, the stylebook now recommends that the term be replaced by non-gender-specific terms like “companion,” “friend,” or “lover.”
The AP initially recommended eliminating the term “mistress” last year, but a tweet to remind the sexist, old-fashioned public of the change went viral on April 14.
“Don’t use the term mistress for a woman who is in a long-term sexual relationship with, and is financially supported by, a man who is married to someone else,” the AP scolded in its tweet.
“Instead, use an alternative like companion, friend or lover on first reference and provide additional details later.”
No doubt experiencing some well-deserved pushback, the news service followed up with: “We understand it’s problematic that the alternative terms fall short. But we felt that was better than having one word for a woman and none for the man, and implying that the woman was solely responsible for the affair.”
Social media users mocked the AP. One New Yorker sniped: “Yeah, definitely use ‘friend,’ the term the husband uses to explain himself. That’s much less sexist.”
Another suggested that a better synonym for mistress would be “homewrecker,” while someone else pointed out that “The preferred gender-neutral phrasing is “Sugar Baby.”
“The word for the man is “adulterer,” said another Twitter user.