In a recent move that has left some eyebrows raised, Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a memo urging State Department employees to steer clear of what he terms as “problematic” language, including terms like “mother,” “father,” and “manpower.”

The memo, obtained by National Review and titled “Modeling DEIA: Gender Identity Best Practices,” delves into the realm of gender identity, arguing that gender is a social construct and that an individual’s gender identity might not necessarily align with their sex assigned at birth.

Encouraging the use of gender-neutral language, Blinken stressed the importance of respecting individuals’ gender identities and avoiding potential misunderstandings. He went further, suggesting that employees disclose their preferred pronouns in emails and meetings, an idea that has sparked varied reactions.

While Blinken cautioned against the inadvertent misgendering of individuals, he stopped short of mandating the declaration of pronouns, recognizing it as a personal choice. He emphasized the need for sensitivity and support, especially in situations where an individual’s pronouns might change over time.

In his quest for inclusivity, Blinken proposed replacing traditional gendered terms with neutral alternatives. “Manpower” could become “labor force,” “mother/father” might transform into “parent,” and “brave men and women” could be reframed as “brave soldiers” or “brave first responders.”

This shift in language aligns with the Biden administration’s broader efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. However, it has sparked debate among conservatives who argue that such measures may go too far in dismantling traditional norms.

Critics have raised concerns about the potential erasure of biological distinctions and the imposition of ideological views on language usage. Some view Blinken’s memo as emblematic of a broader cultural shift that prioritizes individual expression over established societal conventions.

Nevertheless, proponents of gender-neutral language hail it as a step towards greater inclusivity and respect for diverse identities. They argue that language shapes perceptions and attitudes, and adopting more inclusive terminology can help create a more welcoming environment for all.

As the debate rages on, one thing remains clear: the power of words to shape our understanding of the world and our place within it. Whether Blinken’s memo represents progress or political correctness run amok is a matter of perspective, but its impact on discourse within the State Department and beyond is undeniable.