Who knew that a hole in the road could have a gender? Apparently they do, they’ve been identified as male all this time, and they’re not very happy about it. Fortunately, for them, the Berkeley, CA City Council recently voted to liberate these holes from the gender-specific term “manhole” and replaced it with the gender-neutral identifying “maintenance hole.” It’s definitely a win for the public who no longer face those potentially embarrassing situations that arise from inadvertently misgendering a hole in the road.
But if you thought the problem of misgendering holes had been solved by a simple vote and the stroke of a pen, think again. Citizens are outraged that the Berkeley City Council failed to include “Chuckholes” in their list of gendered words to be replaced. To be clear, “Chuck” is not a noun that describes a specific gender, but it is a proper name that’s applied almost exclusively to males, and since not all holes are male as we’ve recently learned, then we shouldn’t go around attaching male names to them. The council is expected to designate “potholes” as the official term used to describe those other irritating holes in the road, and “chuckholes” will be permanently banned.
Still on the subject of names, there have been rumblings among some council members over the city’s annual recognition of former South African President and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. Officials are worried “Mandela” violates the city’s new policy of gender-neutrality. Possible solutions would include either scrapping the annual recognition altogether, or replacing “Mandela” with the more gender-neutral sounding “Themdela.” A decision is expected to be announced at next week’s meeting.