The U.S. Naval Academy students are weighing in online on the Navy’s big, gender neutral revision of its job titles. The consensus is that the Naval Academy should keep the ‘man’ in midshipman and instead focus on promoting more concrete gender equality elsewhere in the military.
A Navy official told Military.com that “it is likely that because of the history and legacy associated with the rank of midshipmen, there will not be a change.” Annapolis newspaper The Capital found in an informal poll that the Navy community is also too attached to the title to consider a change.
As of Wednesday night, more than 90 percent of the over 4,000 participants in The Capital’s informal online poll voted against changing midshipman to a gender-neutral term.
Over 2,000 voted for alternative titles in a separate poll. Over 40 percent said that if the Navy were to change “midshipman,” it should be abbreviated to simply “mid.” About 10 percent voted for “shipmate,” and seven percent voted for “midshiperson.” About 40 percent opted for other alternatives, including “midshipper” and “ensign junior grade.”
Naval Academy students are not allowed to contact the press or offer up their views, so students have instead aired their grievances on anonymous messaging app YikYak.
“I’ll be fine with ‘midshipperson’ once females are upheld to the same physical standard and males can have long hair,” another user posted.
“I vote for midpirates,” someone else commented.
“I wonder when people will realize that the word man is in the word woman,” said one.
“Equality isn’t about changing a name, it’s about the ability to be treated the same as anyone else regardless of our gender and instead based on our actions and character,” another wrote.