I’ve been meaning to work on my writing for while now, so stumbling on this high recommendation of William Zinsser’s guide to writing non-fiction gave me the push to actually find time and – you know – improve my writing. Zinsser’s guide which is titled ‘On Writing Well’ is an absolute pleasure to read and full of great writing anecdotes and practical advice. The only tiny, little problem is that is appears to be full of sexist examples and language.
It may be that I’m not used to reading books published in 1976 but I was quite perplexed at the lack of gender neutrality in his writing. After a while, my eyes and brain seemed to ignore his constant referral to the male species as a sort of typing error or an effort on the author’s behalf to remain consistent. However the following paragraph where he talks of a male dentist and then a female air stewardess stood out for its gender bias (and assumptions about the need to reproduce):