Re: Gender bias (was Evolving language or laziness)

Subject: Re: Gender bias (was Evolving language or laziness)
From: Mercedes Abels <maa5906 -at- GRIFFON -dot- MWSC -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 1996 17:34:30 -0600

Tim,
Al I can say is that you are obiously missing the point here. Using "he"
here _does_ distract many readers, and not all of them female. Some male
readers are sensitive to the subtle bias exercised by the use of a male
pronoun being used to describe all humankind. I find it hard to believe,
after reading much of what you've written here, that you would not be put
off by being referred to as "she." I don't find it insulting to be
included in a genercic he, I find it slighting, dismissing and fairly
irritating when, after several discussins in which this opinion has been
voiced, I am still referred to as "he" simply because some writers find
it bothersome to find an acceptable alternative.

Marci Abels
maa5906 -at- mwsc -dot- edu



On Mon, 18 Mar 1996, Tim wrote:

> At 11:30 AM 3/18/96 -0500, you wrote:

> >
> I must disagree with your logic. In fact, using "he" doesn't distract most
> readers, because it's a default condition, not an abnormality. It's the
> unusual that distracts, not the expected. A cold day in February is hardly
> noted. A warm day in February is cause for office comment. That's why using
> "she" for the indeterminate pronoun distracts, rather than enhances. We
> naturally flow past items that we expect to see, and they cause no cognitive
> problems. My example using a neuter pronoun DOES call attention to itself,
> precisely because it uses a construction that's unexpected and hard to process.


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