Living as we do in the ‘Age of the Offended’, it was only a matter of time before estate agents became a target for ‘correctness’.
Several national newspapers have reported that the term ‘master bedroom’ will no longer be used by ‘dozens of estate agents’ in England due to its allusions to sexism and slavery.
Instead they will use the terms ‘primary’ or ‘principal’ bedroom, reported The Times.
The movement to remove the use of the word apparently began when a black programmer at Twitter in America complained about the use of the terms ‘master’ and ‘slave’ in relation to computer programming, as well as the process known as an ‘automatic slave rekick’.
Pre-dating the appearance of Black Lives Matter, a petition by employees led to Twitter starting to phase out insensitive programming terms.
Last week in Texas, the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR) said it will stop allowing the term “master bedroom” or “master bathroom” to be used in descriptions.
The decision to remove the term comes after a group of real estate professionals said the term “master” on property descriptions represents a potential stigma.
HAR has updated the phrase to “primary bedroom” and “primary bath” on listings.
“‘Master’ represents a stigma and place in time that we need to move forward from,” said Tiffany Curry, a Houston real estate broker.
Some U.S. home builders are dropping the term, too, referring to the bedroom as the “owner’s retreat” instead.
The National Association of Realtors asked the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) about the term, and HUD advised the association that the term “master bedroom” isn’t discriminatory and doesn’t violate any fair housing laws.
“NAR sees no reason that real estate professionals cannot use the term, as there is also no evidence that it has any historical connection to slavery or any other kind of discrimination,” said NAR President Vince Malta.
Peter Wetherell, executive chairman of Wetherell in Mayfair, is reported as saying that the term would be changed on all his listings.
He told The Times:
“These changes are being driven by political correctness and dramatic transformations in the buyer demographic across prime central London.
“The typical buyers are now aged from their early twenties to their mid-forties and from all over the world.
“This young demographic tends to be very broad-minded and find any form of racism or sexism deeply offensive.”
Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham and Reeves, was quoted by the Evening Standard as saying:
“We are used to dealing with sensitivities concerning different races and cultures.
“The word master does carry historically racist undertones.
“If it were to cause offence to any buyer, seller or tenant, we wouldn’t have a second thought in amending our advertising material to remove it.
“It is something we are considering doing to prevent such offences occurring.”
Not everyone agrees.
The Breitbart.com site unequivocally and inaccurately reported that, “Estate agents across England will be banned from using the term ‘Master Bedroom’” and quoted Trevor Abrahmson, the managing director of Glentree International, as saying:
“The phrase master bedroom wasn’t used until the early 20th century. If the woke liberal elite want to equate that with slaves and masters, that is ridiculous.”
Elsewhere Edward Heaton, who founded buying agency, Heaton and Partners was reported as saying:
“It is ludicrous that we should be expected to ignore our history and heritage to placate a vociferous minority.”
NAEA/ARLA propertymark gave EYE this statement:
“We are aware that some members are already using terms such as principal bedroom or main bedroom or alternatively numbering rooms in order of size.
“It is down to individual firms to make their own judgement on this, but given alternative phrases work just as well and there is growing awareness that the term master bedroom may be considered offensive, agents should be sensitive to consumer sentiment.”
While EYE would not wish for anyone to be demeaned or denigrated by the use of certain words we do wonder where all this is heading.
Will Mastermind disappear from our screens?
Will we no longer be able to gaze in wonder at a Rembrandt masterpiece?
Will all that remastered music have to be silenced?
Will John Le Carre’s masterful, spy-master-riddled stories with their masterstroke endings be consigned to the dustbin?
Will estate agents no longer be able to attend training masterclasses?
We pondered on whether the term ‘Mistress bedroom’ would be more acceptable but then realised that would just open up a whole different can of worms.