Mistresses, language wars, and the Associated Press

Associated Press mocked for declaring term ‘mistress’ is archaic, sexist

Notice, of course, that there has never been a term for “a man in a long-term sexual relationship with, and financially supported by, a woman who is married to someone else.”

This is no slam on women—or men, for that matter. There are certainly some married women who could afford to financially support male lovers on the side.  And heaven knows that there would be no shortage of heterosexual men willing to accept money for such a paid relationship. Men are dogs, after all. 

There is no male equivalent to the word “mistress” for the simple reason that everyone of junior high age or older already knows: Male and female sexuality are different. Men and women respond to different motivations in sexual relationships, and they face different supply-and-demand conditions. (Hint: Men are in supply, and women are in demand.)

And so it is among all mammals. Did you watch Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom as a kid? You may have noticed that the female elk and lions never fought over the males….it was always the other way around. That should tell you something. 

And no—this isn’t a segue into a spiel about “men’s rights” or the Evils of Feminism…anymore than it’s a segue into another tired piece about “toxic masculinity”. (Yawn!)

The problem is not that male and female sexuality are different. The problem (for some people) is that biological differences between the sexes defy the wishful thinking of social engineers. 

And what about the Associated Press?

There is nothing wrong with quietly retiring a term that has become quaint, outmoded, or controversial. Even I long ago started using gender-neutral professional terms like “police officer” and “salesperson”, because these terms reflect new realities, and they’ve become so ubiquitous. You have to pick your battles. And digging in my heels over the word “policeman” or “salesman” is simply not the battle I want to pick. I have better things to do with my time.

Likewise, I will acknowledge that the word “mistress” isn’t very common nowadays. I really can’t remember the last time I encountered it, outside of a movie or a novel. So if the AP doesn’t want to use the word “mistress” anymore….okay, fine.

The problem is the cringeworthy virtue-signaling. The AP wants to let us know how much they disapprove of the word mistress…even though they don’t seem to have much problem with the concept or the practice itself, which many people on Twitter found a lot more offensive. 

Here we see it, yet again: Political correctness is dumb. If you would rather not use a word that you fear might cause offense or misunderstanding, then don’t use it. But don’t ask the world for kudos and back-pats because you’ve decided not to use it, and think others ought not use it, either.