FR: gender of professions, feminization of job titles

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In English, specific feninine forms are going out; one form is used for both genders - eg no-one says poetess any more (both men and women are poets) and, increasingly, actor is used for women instead of actress.
Other words, like engineer or doctor, have referred to both genders ever since women have been able to practice those professions - (though they are often still assumed to be male, so people will say 'a lady doctor').
The decreasing use of special forms for women is felt to be more 'feminist' - not to suggest that women are somehow a special case.

Now, in French, it seems that the opposite is true. More and more feminine forms are used - eg la ministre, whereas it used to be le ministre even if a woman, or une auteure. (My friend here talks about the 'doctoresse' but I think that's old fashioned.) It seems that here, not using a masculine form for a woman is seen to be more 'feminist'.
Have I got this right ? And if so - isn't it wierd ?

Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one. Please note that this thread is closed, as we cannot discuss a long list of different job titles. Please refer to our Resources post on the topic. You will find a number of helpful links in the last post.
 
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  • carolineR

    Senior Member
    France
    yes you've got it right
    and yes it's weird :)
    However I heard Hélène Carrère d'Encausses (one of our Académiciennes) say yesterday : "ce que nous avons féminisé, ce sont les noms de métiers, et pas les fonctions". Which complicates things further : what is a job, what is a function ?
     
    : what is a job, what is a function ?

    Yes indeed
    One of my past job titles was conducteur de travaux, but I never felt like being a conductrice de travaux – sounded silly, I thought. And I’m never sure I want to be a grimpeuse or a lectrice or a citoyenne or an ingenieure (does that exist?). It seems to make too much of my female specificity. But then, I think I'd rather be a directrice than a directeur ... Not logical, i know
     

    ascoltate

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. & Canada, English
    I've spent so much time in Québec now where every profession has a feminine form that I can't remember which ones have feminines in France.
    Remind me if you can say (and write) "une juge", "une pilote", "une dentiste", and "une ministre" (and maybe others...) in France... Thanks!
     

    Punky Zoé

    Senior Member
    Pau
    France - français
    I've spent so much time in Québec now where every profession has a feminine form that I can't remember which ones have feminines in France.
    Remind me if you can say (and write) "une juge", "une pilote", "une dentiste", and "une ministre" (and maybe others...) in France... Thanks!
    In fact there is a gap in France between the rule, I mean the feminization of professions, and the every day use. In conséquence you may say all this words but some won't use them. (for example our madame le ministre de l'intérieur)
     

    jann

    co-mod'
    English - USA
    Hello ascoltate :)

    I'm sorry, but we can't accept list requests. Since our forums are organized like a dictionary, each thread needs to be about a single word or phrase (rule 10). Please open a separate thread for each profession you wish to discuss.

    Perhaps once we get the Themed Lists sub-forum renovated and open for posting, you could submit a "feminized profession names" as a possible topic for discussion there. :)

    Thanks for understanding!

    Jann
    Moderator


    EDIT:
    You'll find the Québécois masculine and feminine forms here in the BDL, along with related articles of interest.

    For the French side of things, see here, here, or here (all from the "réponses académiques" link in this Resources post).
    Also French: type in the masculine and the search engine returns the feminine here (Merci, Lezert !)

    Also, from the BDL bibliography, I found this reference, available online:
    BECQUER, Annie, et autres. Femme, j’écris ton nom… : guide d’aide à la féminisation des noms de métiers, titres, grades et fonctions, Paris, La documentation française, 1999, 124 p.
    http://lesrapports.ladocumentationfrancaise.fr/BRP/994001174/0000.pdf (page 63 as printed in the document, shows as page 58 in Acrobat's numbering)
     
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