No More ‘Joe Public’: EU Agency Promotes ‘Gender-Sensitive Communication’

A number of prominent U.S. institutions, including in the realms of the military and higher education, have been pushing for the implementation of so-called “inclusive” language in recent years by discouraging the use of any words or phrases that imply gender.

Similar efforts are also underway across much of the West, including in the European Union, where an in-depth document outlines forms of expression now deemed worthy of replacement.

According to the European Institute for Gender Equality, a host of gendered phrases and traditions should be updated to reflect the sensibilities of modern progressives. The EU agency released its “Toolkit on Gender-Sensitive Communication” to highlight a broad array of common words it asserts are no longer appropriate for use.

Among the notable inclusions is “Joe Public,” a colloquial term used to reference ordinary individuals that the EU advises should be replaced by “an average citizen.”

Other masculine terms deemed off-limits are “Englishman,” “countryman” and “brotherhood,” which, according to the guidelines, should be replaced with generic words like “community.”

The document also takes issue with the traditional order of gendered word pairs like “husband and wife” or “ladies and gentlemen,” advising dutiful citizens to “try swapping the order of these phrases sometimes.”

Of course, the demand for removing gendered language also impacts traditionally feminine language, such as using “her” in reference to nations and ships as well as referring to a person’s native language as a “mother tongue.”

As Fox News reported in 2022, a similar re-education effort had been implemented in the U.S. Air Force Academy, where cadets were instructed to eschew gendered terms — including “mom and dad.”

One such presentation advised: “Some families are headed by single parents, grandparents, foster parents, two moms, two dads, etc.: consider ‘parent or caregiver’ instead of ‘mom and dad.’ Use words that include all genders: ‘Folks’ or ‘Y’all’ instead of ‘guys;’ partner’ vs. ‘boyfriend or girlfriend.’”

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) sent a letter to Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark expressing his opposition to the new instruction.

“These divisive and un-American training exercises have no place in our military and demonstrate an alarming lack of focus at the Airforce Academy,” he wrote. “The Airforce Academy ought to teach future airmen to revere our nation’s traditions and values, not to have contempt for them.”