Re: gender in writing

Subject: Re: gender in writing
From: karen randolph <karen_randolph -at- HILLSPET -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 09:32:57 CST

Beryl Doane writes:
<< One that I am comfortable with alternates by chapter. "He" and
"she" both refer to doctors, nurses, and babies. If the baby was "she"
in the first chapter, the baby is "he" in the second chapter. >>

Sorry, but this is exactly the type of writing that bothers me as a
reader. It is inconsistent! Is it a different baby or doctor or
nurse in each reference?

I, like Sue Gallagher, try to avoid he/she by using specific job
titles and "the" specific nouns (quite a neat trick). Pluralizing
works well too. (I can then legitimately use "they.")

And George Allaman, I agree with you that writing "you" does seem
familiar, but I do use the command form (without explicitly writing
the word "you"). i.e., Press the key. The dialog box appears.
Ignore the typographical error in the screen. The programmers did not
notice this error when they created the text. ;)

If absolutely necessary, I *occasionally* revert to passive voice
(UGH!) to avoid the "he/she" ...

And that's all I have to say about that! (promise...)

Karen Randolph

karen_randolph -at- hillspet -dot- com

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