Sunday, September 04, 2016


Fighting over pronouns is now a thing amongst certain activists.  In fact, when I attended some training just before school started, the lesbian activists who conducted one of the workshops introduced themselves as "I'm So-and-so, and my pronouns are 'she' and 'her'."  To me this pronoun thing is yet another manifestation of liberal virtue-signaling, letting those who are already in the club know that you're one of the "them".

The poster above is popping up around Vanderbilt University.  Click on it to enlarge, and then determine if you really, honestly think we need to add new pronouns to our language to account for people for whom biology isn't critical.

I've talked to people about this, and many believe it's silly to add these new pronouns, but they couch their belief in a sort of practicality--"I can't keep track of names and pronouns", or something like that.  My opposition to this latest insanity goes a little deeper.

Read the last part of the poster, "If you make a mistake...."  A suggested response is, "Thank you for reminding me.  I apologize and will use the correct name and pronoun for you in the future."

This is ridiculous.  Except for "you", which refers, regardless of sex or gender, to the person being spoken to, the only time we use pronouns is when we refer to someone else.  Pronouns are for use in the third person.  And to put it bluntly, you don't get a say in how I refer to you to someone else.  How I refer to you when I talk to someone else is between that person and me, not you.  If you want "your pronouns" to be "ze" or "zir" (sometimes spelled "xe" and "xir"), that's your issue, but you don't get to police how I speak to someone else--even if I'm talking about you, which I'm probably not, anyway.

Update, 9/11/16: Staff Name Tags at Vanderbilt Include ‘Preferred Gender Pronouns’.

1 comment:

Pseudotsuga said...

My preferred pronoun is "Your Majesty."
Anything less than that is microaggression.

I have had one English student bring this zhir/xe/wtf madness up once, when discussing how singular nouns must take singular pronouns to be correct. But this young man, of Filipino descent, with long flowing black hair and a moustache, would wear a dress and matching heels onto the college campus sometimes.
Regardless of what pronoun was needed to refer to him, he was a good writer and did well in the class. And that's the important thing.