Monday, July 6, 2020

Realtors Phasing Out “Master Bedroom”: Calls Back to Slavery, Sexism

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The term “Master Bedroom” is now being phased out by realtors in Texas. They are citing that the change comes after years of discussion and debate over not only the term itself but the history of it. It’s something that personally I never considered because it’s just what things were called. But it makes sense when you read about the history of the term meaning things like “For the man of the house” or what was once referred to in the 18th century when there were still plantations and slave owners.

Wikimedia Commons (C.C. 2.0)

Going back even further we find that the origin goes much deeper than that. The word ‘master’ comes from the Latin magister, meaning chief, head or director. Historically, master has been used to describe a man in an authoritative, disciplinarian position. And usually descriptive of a man, who would of course be the owner of the household.

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Either way it’s incredibly outdated and tends to be used to make something seem or feel grandiose. For example realtors tend to use it to describe the primary bedroom even when the room would only hold a double sized bed. So there’s not really a defining measurement for the term, which you think would encompass a larger sized room.

So what are they going to call them now? Well the Houston Association of Realtors(HAR) is going to simply put the word “Primary” onto the bedroom. Because primary co notates that it is the main bedroom of the house and doesn’t allude to any type of sexist origins.

“The MLS Advisory Group regularly reviews the terms and fields used in the MLS to make sure they are consistent with the current market environment. The updates to Primary Bedroom and Primary Bath were among nine requests for review that were submitted by members and considered at the most recent meetings.”

Houston Association of Realtors

The change is relatively new and it doesn’t mean that other realtors will be following suit but it does mean that some changes may be coming. And it brings up the question as to whether other terminology should be changed.

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