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Subject:Re: ?? From:Caryn Rizell <CARYN_RIZELL -at- HP-ROSEVILLE-OM2 -dot- OM -dot- HP -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 8 Dec 1995 13:18:29 -0800
What is this thread? I don't see that it has a name.
I must disagree with the comment that the third group mentioned below is
'immature'. Certainly using 'he' is grammatically correct (at least currently
anyway), but that doesn't make it right. No matter how much I realize that 'he'
is not gender-specific, my first thought when hearing that word is to picture a
man. To me, 'he' will never mean 'he/she'.
Language changes. I don't think that just because 'he' is proper, we shouldn't
look for other ways to express the same thing.
>Many obstetric texts refer to the mother as "she" and the medical practitioner
>and baby as "he." While I will concede that all mothers are female :-), is
>there anybody out there who feels that all doctors, nurses, midwives, and
>are male? I can assure you that this is not the case. <vbg>
>If those of you out there who write such texts are careful to avoid sexism, I
>commend you. However, I'm afraid my husband didn't study your books.
This thread reminds me of a blurb I read recently in The Atlantic Monthly.
The author asserts that the whole "gender biased language" issue serves to
separate people into mental age groups. There is the older group to whom
"he" and "him" in reference to doctors is indeed a gender issue. They hear
"doctor" or "chairman" and they think "him." They grew up in a time when
doctors and chairmen and were men, and nurses and secretaries were women.
There is a younger mental age group to whom "chairman" and "doctor" do not
necessarily mean "male." The people in this group have grown up in a
society with women doctors and lawyers and chairmen. "He" and "him" are
grammatically correct pronouns used to refer to a singular antecedent, not
gender biased words which imply that only males can be doctors.
And there's the youngest mental age group of all - those who grew up with
women in positions of power and influence all around them, and who know
that a chairman can be a woman, but who insist, in their immaturity, on
perceiving third person pronouns ("he" OR "she") as gender biased, sexist
Please. Grow up. No one's denying that sexism exists, but it's the use of
pronouns is not the place to look for it or decry it. People who do so
make a mockery of the real problems.
TSCOM005 -at- post -dot- drexel -dot- edu