Have you noticed the gradual shift in terminology in MLS listings lately? If you’re wondering when the term Primary Bedroom made its way into the home, and why, the short version is that it has become time to ditch the dated and discriminatory terms that have been normalized in our society. As an industry, we are working hard to create positive experiences for our clients, and this means making necessary changes to ensure we stop using language that can be found offensive or that works to further oppress minority groups.
As society evolves and we work to learn more about black history, the derogatory connotations entwined in our vocabulary are coming to light. Fortunately, this is helping to invoke positive change across many different industries and avenues. People are learning and taking into consideration that some of the words and phrases we use need to be adjusted to be more inclusive and compassionate, and in real estate, this is essential to ensure we can positively serve the beautifully diverse communities that we do. It was with a helpful nudge from concerned groups that many of us working in the business were able to take a good hard look at the term “master” when referring to the main bedroom and bathroom in our homes and realize something was not sitting right.
- someone (especially a man) who has a servant or slave
- someone (especially a man) who owns a pet (such as a dog)
- formal: the male head of a household
The terms “Master Bedroom” or “Master Bathroom” underscore a relationship to both slavery and male centricity, which clearly carries with it a lot of baggage. As a local brokerage and in the industry as a whole, we have a diverse team filled with men and women of all different backgrounds who are working to serve a community that is even more multicultural. It is so important to us to make real estate inclusive, safe, and accessible to everyone. While the term “master”, when used in real estate, was deemed non-discriminatory in practice, it was easily recognized among industry professionals that the time for an adjustment in language was here. Today, the term has been replaced with something more suitable to describe the main bedroom and bathroom: “primary”.
As time passes, it can happen that we become immune to the terminology and language we use. But words hold great influence, they evoke emotion and feeling and have the power to either hurt or help the masses. As their meanings are subject to change over time, we are afforded the opportunity to change as well, to grow and better ourselves both personally and professionally. Being mindful and willing to question, learn, adapt, and strive to be better will ensure this industry remains a comfortable, safe place for everyone.