On Friday, the editorial sages over at the Associated Press decreed that writers should no longer use the term "mistress" to describe a woman in a sexual, long-term relationship with and supported economically by a man who is married to a different individual.
We now say not to use the archaic and sexist term "mistress" for a woman in a long-term sexual relationship with, and financially supported by, a man who is married to someone else.— APStylebook (@APStylebook) May 8, 2020
Instead, use an alternative like companion or lover on first reference. Provide details later.
AP branded the term "archaic," which is the leftist way of saying "traditional values" while spitting. The news agency also called "mistress" "sexist," a charge progressive agitators bandy about when hoping to bully you into thinking a certain way about something that is sex-specific. Note how you will never hear "sexist" applied to masculine insults like "b*stard" or "d*uchebag."
Instead of "mistress," "use an alternative like 'companion' or 'lover' on first reference," AP recommended.
Great idea. Let's use words that have positive connotations to normalize being involved with multiple romantic or sexual partners simultaneously. CBS News estimates that four to five percent of Americans, about the same size as the nation's LGBT population, participate in these relationships. Why doesn't AP just tack a big, glossy masthead to the top of its site reading "help us eviscerate the nuclear family?"
Predictably, the news agency got absolutely body-slammed for this nonsense edict.
Twitter users use the term "ratio" to denote a tweet with a higher number of comments than "likes," a proportion which typically suggests more criticism than support. While AP's tweet received around 2,300 "likes," it also accrued more than 10,000 comments. Some of these comments featured individuals recommending substitutes of their own for "mistress," which received more "likes" than those made by AP. Director and producer Robby Starbuck suggested "homewrecker," whereas trial lawyer Robert Barnes put forth his own humble alternative of "ho."
This isn't the first time AP has gone off the deep-end either. In 2018, the news agency said "except in direct quotes essential to the story, use 'illegal' only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant."
Imagine applying such a rule to any other term. You may say "athletics," but not "athlete!" You may say "left-wing lunacy," but not "left-wing lunatic!"
Like Andrew Breitbart said, "politics is downstream from culture." Language is the foundation for any cultural product, from books to music to film. Don't let self-anointed gatekeepers blunt our most powerful tool in the culture war.
Rob Shimshock is the Commentary Editor at CNSNews.com. He has covered education, culture, media, technology, and politics for a variety of national outlets, hosted the Campus Unmasked YouTube show, and was named to The Washington Examiner's "30 Under 30" list. Shimshock graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Media Studies.