Give'em what THEY want!

Subject: Give'em what THEY want!
From: Christy Langley <GRLANGLE -at- ECUVM -dot- CIS -dot- ECU -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 1995 21:34:22 EST

If the sexless pronoun hasn't "caught on" by now, it's chances are slim
to none. I believe then, for the most part, the audience has spoken on
that issue. Stated simply, they don't want it.

I wasn't even aware that the use of "he" was sexist or offensive until I
entered grad school (honest). After readings by Lay et. al., I made that
switch to using "she" based on this newfound awareness. I quickly
discovered that this was perceived as reverse bias or sexism. What is a
writer to do? And so, I reserve "he" for all male audiences, "she" for
wholly female audiences, and use "you" or "they" for an audience of both
-- which is the most frequently occurring audience.

It is a simple premise: every audience member wants to feel catered to,
paid attention to, and fawned over. Afterall, reading is an extremely
hedonistic and selfish act (including forced reading situations). We
read to acquire information and knowledge or certain emotions; even tech
writers read to "get something." The use of sexist language in a
document directed towards men and women doesn't give anything to at
least one section of its audience. Besides feeling gipped, dislike for
exclusion is another inherent aspect of human nature. Ironically, that
sexless pronoun mentioned earlier is perceived as excluding both
(despite its intention to the contrary).


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