U.S. Navy officials are reviewing a proposal by the secretary of the Navy to take the "man" out of "midshipman."
Kyleanne Hunter, a former Marine Corps pilot and founder of Think Broader, an organization that describes itself as trying to eliminate "social bias" in the media, said the change is needed to ensure that women feel as welcome as men in doing the job.
“Having a word like 'infantryman' still there implies that if you want to do that job, you have to become like a man and have to become mannish and you have to do it in a masculine way,” Hunter said, according to WJZ-TV.
“Making a lot of these terms gender-neutral is really going to help women see the military as a road to citizenship and as a way to execute their civic duties as well in ways that they haven’t been able to in the past,” she added.
But based on WJZ's interviews with average people on the street, the public isn't of one mind on the issue.
Amy Woodrum said she agrees with the move to change. "I think it’s a positive change," Woodrum said. "I don’t think we live in a binary world anymore — some people identify with being genderless — and I think having inclusive terms is harmless and it can only bring about a positive change."
But Sarah Mokhiber disagrees, telling WJZ, “Personally, I don’t see why people get so bent out of shape about the ‘gender assignments’ to certain names like midshipmen or firemen or policemen."
Navy officials will review the proposal and have a list of alternative names submitted no later than April 1.