Re: your mail

Subject: Re: your mail
From: Paula R Berger <pberger -at- WORLD -dot- STD -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 Dec 1995 17:25:26 +0001

Kelly Mullins wrote:

> 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
> insults.

> 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.

I usually just lurk, but I found Kelly's comment to be so insensitive
(and somewhat offensive ) that I just had to respond.

**Of course** the use of pronouns is one of the places to look for sexism.
Language is one of the primary places that children learn about our
culture and their place in it. So do adults. Using generic male pronouns
teaches that being male is "the norm" and therefore, by extension, that
being female is "the other." What else do you think little kids learn from
hearing the generic he? Thank god that in most speech nowadays people
break the rules of grammar and use the generic singular "they."

In addition, I was disturbed yesterday when my child told me the second
graded teacher regularly uses the phrase "odd man out." All gender-based
language has an impact on kids who are 7 or 8 (or 15, for that matter).

My sensitivity comes from watching my two BOYS respond to language (ages
4 and 7). My daughter is only 9 months old. Imagine how sensitive I'll be
in a few more years! I noticed this stuff a lot before I had kids, but
now I can really see the effect of it.

Cheers to all.

Paula Berger

617-942-1610 work
617-942-1616 fax
pberger -at- world -dot- std -dot- com
Compuserve 71554,536

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