Small-Town Woman Expresses Outrage Over Sexist Postal System

Bucksnort, TN – What started as a grassroots effort in a small, never-heard-of town known for its sprawling fields, silos, tumbleweeds, low IQs, exceptional high-school drop out rates, mobile homes and tumbleweeds–and boasting one of the largest bootleg moonshine businesses, pawn shops, and honky tonks per capita–has grown to, what some call, “hideously rabid proportions.”

Bucksnort resident Karla Delaney vividly remembers the sunny afternoon when she and a handful of local residents gathered on her porch for a few PBRs, homemade beef jerky, and a discussion about current affairs.

When Karla Delaney brought up the notion at a town meeting that using the term “mail” to describe the parcels delivered to our inbox is sexist, out-dated, and “really freaking offensive”, she was admittedly surprised to find that 100% of those in attendance agreed. “Even though it was really obvious that [the term] is offensive to me, I really didn’t expect everyone to agree,” Karla beams. “I actually thought that everyone would think I was just crazy.” Delaney was pleasantly surprised to find that all the local residents were on board, citing that at the time she was “beyond cloud nine”.

The attendees have since, forming a small yet powerful coalition, decided to try to pass a measure making it illegal to verbally use the term “mail”. Delaney reports little hesitation in everyone going home and raiding their couch cushions and young children’s piggy banks in order to scrounge up enough money to hire a yellow-pages attorney to help in their mission. While they were not able to gather enough to make this happen, it is a dream that survives in all of the supporters’ minds. “I won’t rest ’til this gets done,” says one local scraggly neighbor, Harley Coker.

Spokeswoman-elect Delaney believes a more gender-neutral term needs to be applied to the envelopes and parcels, as well as the mail-boxes, and anything having to do with mail in general. “At this day and age, using the term ‘mail’ is real unappropriate [sic].” She finds it even more disturbing to think that her own children will grow up using the world, “like it’s a totally OK thing”.

Delaney’s husband, Rick, is also fully behind his wife’s cause, and backs her up in all that she is doing. “There’s so much wrong with America these days-we don’t need things getting worse. The USPS is a government-run agency, you know… Of all people you’d think they’d be the first ones to want to take care of this problem, but they’re not. Plus,” he adds, “I’m real proud of my wife too. I thought she was kind of down for a while but now there’s like new life in her eyes. The Farmville thing was starting to worry me a bit so now I’m glad she has something to do.”

When asked what the group proposes that “mail” be called instead, Delaney admits that they haven’t reached a full consensus, but insists that it needs to change. “It can’t be ‘mail’ and it can’t be ‘femail’. All we really know is that it’s a serious issue that needs to be fixed.” Currently, the advocates are leaning toward calling the stuff you get in your mailbox, simply, ‘person’. The idea came from Karla’s oldest daughter, Becca, who explains that “the word ‘person’ has nothing to do with gender. So to me that just seems the most fair.”

Another vocal supporter of the cause, Ben Murray, adds that, should the measure pass, very severe penalties should be applied. “We want real harsh penalties to be [imposed] on people who are caught [in violation]. The worse the better, because what it’s gonna do is really show people that it’s not OK to be openly sexist, not at this day in age [sic]. We want to send a message across, loud and clear, even if we have to put on weird outfits and light things on fire.”

Word about the proposed measure has spread rapidly to neighboring towns to as few folks as far as Nashville. While some have expressed interest in joining the movement, there are just as many others that have called the issue “frivolous”, and an “absurd waste of government resources,” among other things Delaney deems “unflattering”.

Yet Delaney says that despite the opposition, she isn’t backing down. “This isn’t Communist England,” she pips, and says that referring to our bills and things as ‘mail’ is deeply offensive to her as a woman. “We didn’t fight so hard to get the right to be stay-at-home moms and vote only to end up here, now.”

Delaney concedes that supporters are not going to rest until the measure is passed, and that they hope to eventually bring the bill proposal all the way to Capitol Hill. When asked how they plan to get this far without any ‘larger’ support system, Delaney quips, “that’s the government for ya.” But she explains that they do have a clear plan of action. “We’re learning each step of the way” and cites a neighboring child’s ‘SchoolHouse Rock’ videos as a clear source of both inspiration and education.

” We work with what we have,” says husband Rick. “Just like real American folk do. And that’s what we are-is just real American folk.” He adds that “the founding fathers didn’t even have pens and what’d they do-they dipped a feather into a wad of ink. That’s just what we’re doing here. If them big-wig politicians wanna see it or not, history’s happenin’ right now as we speak.”

Nashville politician Lisa Lawliss has become a sort-of spokesperson/ringleader of the opposition, and has released a handful of public statements regarding what she deems as being “insanely absurd, and a prime example of why Americans are behind other countries in intellectual and academic arenas”.

” This is not a gender-based issue and the notion that it’s ‘sexist’ is just plainly flawed,” Lawliss says. “I hate to point out the obvious but ‘mail’ is not spelled ‘m-a-l-e’ and thus there is no connotation between the mail we receive in our mailboxes and gender equality issues.”

Linguistics professor Joe Connelly also finds the issue “laughable,” stating that, “It’s a humorous tragedy that I’m finding myself in a spot where I even have to sit here and explain this to people, but ‘mail’ and ‘male’ are two different words, with two completely different definitions. The former, the postal version, doesn’t refer to men, males, masculinity, or anything of the sort.”

When confronted with this argument, Delaney says she feels deep outrage. “What this is is just another example of how the government and all those folks in power are still trying to keep us [women] down. It’s not about how a word be spelled ,” she insists. “When you’re talking to your husband or your friends, and you say you’re going to go pick up the ‘mail’, or that some kid smashed in your ‘mail’box, are you spelling the word out, or are you seeing how it’s spelled? No, you’re not.” Thus, she counters, that the spelling of the word is irrelevant, adding that, “a lot of us ’round here don’t learn how to read or write anyways so there they are again just trying to pretend like we real Americans that ain’t got a million bucks ain’t exist.”

As Delaney takes slow sips of Pabst on her porch, she candidly describes the way she feels about the backlash she has received ever since embarking on her cause. “When I have to go to my mail box and pick up my mail… When I have to sort through the mail,open the mail, shred the junk mail […] I get so mad my blood gets boilin’. I can feel it just seething in me because I know it just ain’t right.” Yet she adds that, “that’s ‘course gonna be ‘xpected when you get into politics [laughs]. If one thing I know, it’s that this politics shoot sure ain’t no cakewalk!”

While this issue has certainly managed to ruffle a number of feathers on both sides, others remain neutral, or are quick to dismiss the issue as being anything other than a joke. Ordinary citizen Craig Beechman says he laughed about the measure when he first read about it, and he even posted a comment to his Facebook page. “All my friends thought it was just hilarious,” he said. “We all had a hearty laugh and then just forgot about it the next day.”

Blogger Rupa Mendez shares Beechman’s opinion. “For people in my industry, this is ultimately a piece of entertainment. The fact that it’s news makes it even more so. We all know there are gonna be whackjobs out there-there always have been and always will be. In my opinion, it’s just another one of those frivolous things that’s gonna come and pass. Just like that woman that got stuck on her toilet for two years-no one ever hears or talks about her now. It’s not exactly dinner conversation.”

Despite that, she is quick to admit that in all her years of work, it still never fails to surprise her how bothered people get over things that, to her and her collegues and readers, are nothing but “pure entertainment.” She personally does not expect to see the issue reach farther than it already has.

Karla Delaney passionately disagrees. “I’m sure people laughed when they first heard of the notion of women voting, or the coloreds owning land. I’m just proud to be a part of a movement so important. I’m helping change the world.”

The USPS has not yet responded to a request for comment. Delaney reports she has recently branched out to other women’s causes, has begun to teach herself to use PowerPoint, and dreams of one day presenting some of her ideas to the UN, in her words, “hopefully real quick”.

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