Bill O’Sullivan, the senior editor of the Washingtonian magazine, wrote in an editorial Thursday that the “loathsome” phrase “start a family” should be scrubbed from the vocabulary because it’s offensive to single people and couples without children.
“What this euphemism means is get pregnant—or try to get pregnant, or have a baby, or adopt,” O’Sullivan wrote in the column. “Start a family devalues any couple who doesn’t happen to have kids, for whatever reason.”
The phrase also hurts single people, O’Sullivan wrote.
In addition, he claimed the phrase originated from “heterosexist” ideology, but noted that it has since been adopted by the “everyday lexicon of LGBT people.” However, O’Sullivan still asserts he hears it more often from straight people.
“For the sake of all the ways to be in the world, it’s time to put an end to start a family,” he insisted.
In the final lines of the column, O’Sullivan also wrote about his issue with the word “female,” which he instructed people to avoid saying. He takes issue with the word because, as a reader told him, it “sounds like biology class” and “has overtones of criminality.”
“I admit I hadn’t thought about the criminal connotation. The dehumanizing aspect is reason enough to avoid it,” the Washingtonian editor wrote.
O’Sullivan added in a final push against the “start a family” phrase that people should “let your language reflect, and be sensitive to, the world we live in.”