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Washingtonian Mag: Stop Saying ‘Start A Family.’ It’s Offensive

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Washingtonian magazine senior editor Bill O’Sullivan wants people to stop using the phrase “start a family” because it’s offensive to both single people and couples without children.

[dcquiz] In a piece published Thursday morning, O’Sullivan argues that the phrase “start a family” is “loathsome” because of its implication: children. “What this euphemism means is get pregnant — or try to get pregnant, or have a baby, or adopt,” Sullivan claims. And that’s offensive.

Start a family devalues any couple who doesn’t happen to have kids, for whatever reason. It even sells single people short, who may not have children but do have ‘chosen’ families of friends,” he argues.

O’Sullivan also points out that the phrase has “heterosexist” roots. He notes that LGBT people now use the phrase as well (implying it might not be “heterosexist” to say “start a family”) but he still hears it “more often from straight people.”

Either way, he says, “For the sake of all the ways to be in the world, it’s time to put an end to start a family.”

Also on O’Sullivan’s list of words to stop saying: “female.” He quotes a reader who told him that the word sounds “sounds like biology class.” For this reason, O’Sullivan agrees, the word should be avoided because it’s “dehumunazing.”

He closes by again urging his readers to stop saying “start a family” because their language should “reflect, and be sensitive to, the world we live in.”

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