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concertmaster/concertmistress


Rosie
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Point of clarification: Concertmistress is not a feminist term. Just the opposite, in fact, since most feminists distinctly favor gender-neutral terms and are usually the ones who avoid gender-specific professions. (As an example: they prefer "author" and "poet" for both sexes over the terms -- "authoress" and "poetess" -- that were common in older times.) I suspect that concertmistress is either an older term or one that people simply assumed was in use. The few female concertmasters that I know of, including the one in my hometown of DC (Nurit Bar-Joseph), all go by concermaster, as it is acceptable for both.

Regards,

Zoey

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Strungup: it didn't use to be neutral, but is used as such now. The same was true of "actor" and the like, though. They used to specifically mean male (vs. actress, which was specifically female), but now both men and women say "actor." Same is true of master. You can easily say, when referring to a woman, that "she is a master of her domain" without raising questions. Ditto for concertmaster. Much like "actor," people now accept it as gender-neutral, even though, historically, neither used to be.

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The term "concertmistress" strikes fear into my heart. I'm usually more respectful of the ladies, so I call her what she wants to be called. Usually they don't care what they're called. True musicians don't care what chair or title they are given. They care more about making music with the group. This kinda irritates me, this whole term thing. Most people don't mean to offend when they use a gender speficic title. People just need to get over it. Its like politics, everyone thinks he or she right, and everyone else is wrong. Y

You can't please everyone all of the time.

How about "Concertmaestra"?

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See, I would think that when everyone thinks "concertmistress" somehow undermines ability that is what makes it a less desirable term. If everyone just thought of it as a term to differentiate between the sexes and that's it,then it would be completely acceptable. Until EVERYONE begins to think that females are just as capable as males, and vice versa, then gender specific titles are going to be frowned upon. Personally, I would advice a female to embrace the term as it shows they have shown themself more capable for that position than the others; male or female.

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SHE can be a concertmaster, a fireman, a policeman, or a foreman! And the waitress should be a waiter. All this "person" nonsense sends me up a wall. I guess we now have waitpeople in restaurants. I still use HE to modify singular pronouns--everybody, anyone, etc., and I don't use he/she, either!

Strad

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