Thursday, 10 December 2015

A remnant of sexist language?

In this article profiling Tom Stoppard and the revival of his spy thriller play Hapgood, one sentence brought me up short. In previous times, "he has four sons by his two previous wives, Josie Ingle and Miriam Stern" would have been unexceptionable. Now that simple preposition "by" rather than "with", jars. There is a faint implication of women as carriers of the blood-line - almost like the horse-breeding usage "out of".

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