You may have heard the term “manny” used to refer to a male nanny. Sure, it’s kind of cute, it’s kind of clever, but it’s also being used to gender a role/title that really doesn’t need to be gendered. The term “manny” is the masculinized version of “nanny”, which implies that “nanny” is inherently feminine. Nanny, however, is actually a gender-neutral term.
People of ALL genders can be nannies — after all, gender doesn’t determine whether or not someone has what it takes to be a professional caregiver. Using “manny” to refer to male nannies and “nanny” to refer to female nannies creates an unnecessary binary that excludes caregivers who are non-binary, transgender, intersex, or any other marginalized gender.
If this is all sounding a bit too Gender Studies 101, think of it this way… Nurse is not a gendered title. People of all genders are referred to as nurses, provided they have the training and qualifications. The same goes for teachers, chefs, pilots, and so on.
So the next time you go to use the term “manny”, consider using language that is inclusive of all genders by simply referring to them as a “nanny”. It’s really that simple!
To read more about using gender-neutral terminology, take a look at the links below:
Gender-Neutral Pronouns 101
30 Everyday Gender-Neutral Terms to Use
Guidelines for gender-inclusive language in English
An Employer’s Guide to Using Gender-Inclusive Language in the Workplace