I was thinking the other day about how we add -ess to many profession words to indicate it is a woman: waitress*, actress, stewardess. I think I have even heard authoress. There are some jobs, though, that do not get this: teacher, dancer, painter. Yet, I do not feel that those women in those professions are insulted by this lack. So why do we need it at all? Why does it matter if we differentiate in those circumstances? Do you think that the knowledge that your will be waited on by a woman rather than a man is going to affect your choice in restaurant, but not the paintings you buy?
It just seems a bit silly, especially when you take into consideration that it is not done consistently. What do you guys think?
*I know it is becoming politically correct to say “server”, but to me that sounds like a robot.