Re: Write differently for women?

Subject: Re: Write differently for women?
From: Janice Gelb <janiceg -at- marvin -dot- eng -dot- sun -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 15:41:00 -0700 (PDT)

In article 1F1A630 -at- localhost, linda -dot- sims -at- verizon -dot- net ("Lin Sims") writes:
>Just getting rid of the his and her problem may not be enough.
>Below is part of an answer made by Cecil Adams (The Straight
>Dope) to a question about gender-neutral pronouns. Note the last
>two sentences in the quotation. Now, generally speaking, I'm not
>one of the PC-nazis. But that sentence DID make me stop and
>think. I've done this. I know I have. So now I try to keep it in mind,
>because, as Spider Robinson says, here's to unconscious
>prejudice--the very worst kind.
>| For what it's worth, you hear less and less of the old argument that
>| "he" (and "man," for that matter) somehow "includes" women. Common
>| sense suggests, and studies bear out, that when you see supposedly
>| generic masculine terms you think first of males. But let's not
>| pretend that the elimination of such problems would mean the end of
>| sexist speech. As writer Deborah Cameron points out, the sentence "The
>| man went berserk and killed his neighbor's wife" is unobjectionable on
>| its surface. But stop to think: why "his neighbor's wife" instead of
>| "one of his neighbors"?

With the sample sentence taken out of context, knowing
whether to object is difficult. I would assume, seeing
that sentence, that the fact that the woman next door
was married to his neighbor was a direct trigger for
the man going berserk: jealousy, perhaps. If the man
went berserk and just killed the first person he saw,
then yes, there is no need for any gender qualification.


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