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Gender Neutral Pronouns for Our Readers, Not Our Writers

This tweet from the ACLU caught my eye:

This seemed like an odd recommendation from a body that is supposed to champion free speech. That is because the Teen Vogue article being endorsed tells readers to never use the following words:

  • sister
  • husband
  • daughter
  • boy
  • nephew

By now, you will have already grasped the reasons why. All of these terms imply the person has a gender, but not everybody is male or female, so using these gender-specific terms might be considered exclusionary. I am happy to accept that argument. Many different peoples in totally different parts of the world devised languages which assign a gender not just to people, but to all sorts of things that have no need for gender. La Lune? Why would the French think a large rock orbiting the Earth is feminine? Der Löffel? Why are German spoons male, when German forks are female and German knives are neither? So we can all accept that most language is just a lot of arbitrary, irrational meaningless rules invented a long time ago by people who never justified their decisions.
And this begs the question of why we think learning many languages is evidence of a superior mind, but I digress…

What seems odd to me is that anyone would prohibit all use of these words because, pretty obviously, almost everybody does use them. Teen Vogue may have a lot of readers, but I marvel at the ambition that they will persuade the entire human race to change deeply engrained habits by publishing this lone article, even if the ACLU has also decided that free speech advocacy no longer includes tolerance for words that 99.99 percent of the human race uses on a daily basis. For myself, I am resolved to go with the flow: if Teen Vogue and the ACLU can persuade 3.5 billion people to reject all use of gender-specific pronouns then I will too. In the meantime, if more than half the human race thinks it normal to needlessly refer to gender then I will also seek to accommodate them, contrary to the advice in the article, by biting my tongue when people talk about their ‘brother’ instead of referring to their ‘sibling’. I also have no desire to correct people who refer to their ‘nieces’ and ‘nephews’ because, despite what the article says, I think it would be impolite to insist that everybody uses the word ‘nibling’ instead. After all, the word ‘nibling’ sounds like it was made up by some arbitrary idiot on a whim, and I have no reason to believe that person is better qualified to be the ultimate umpire of language than any of the other authoritarians who try to control what people think by limiting what they may say.

But none of this is of any real interest, because nobody is going to take the slightest notice of this article in Teen Vogue, or what the ACLU thinks about gender neutral pronouns. I know this because the vast majority of people working for Teen Vogue and the ACLU will keep on using all the prohibited words, even though they have just been told not to. Here are just a few examples:

I could go on, and on, and on. Obviously I could, because whilst Teen Vogue and the ACLU may tell readers and supporters what words they cannot use, neither organization has the slightest intention of correcting the language used by their binary gender obsessed staff. And that tells you something important about the mindset of the brain-dead editors who commission articles like these, and the near-robotic social media grunts who press buttons to promote them. They are so wrapped up in the joy of encouraging others to make the world a better place that they never stop to ask if they have ever made any effort to follow the advice they foist upon others.

I wish good luck to anyone who really wants to improve the state of the world by restricting the excessive usage of needlessly binary pronouns. You are going to need plenty of good fortune, because your simpering allies in the press and social media are too moronic to provide any real help.

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