Re: Gender bias (was Evolving language or laziness)

Subject: Re: Gender bias (was Evolving language or laziness)
From: Janet Valade <jvalade -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 1996 00:04:04 -0800

I am going to try once more to bring a different perspective to this,
then I am not going to enter this discussion again. I swear I am not.

You wrote:

>>>"If anyone wants to smoke, it can do it outside?"
>>

>I must disagree with your logic. In fact, using "he" doesn't distract
>most readers, because it's a default condition, not an abnormality.

You believe that "he" is gender neutral and preferable when no gender
is indicated. Therefore, you would endorse the following sentences:

If the secretary wants to smoke, he can do it outside.
Call the nurse quickly; the patient needs him.

For reasons that are still not clear to me, you object to rewording
sentences so that the singular pronoun is not needed. I would write
the sentences as follows:

The secretary can go outside to smoke.
or Let the secretary know that smoking is allowed outside.
Call the nurse quickly; the patient needs help.
or Press the call buttom quickly; the patient needs the nurse.

I believe the first two sentences, using "he", are distracting and
cause the reader to stumble, interfering with communication. I prefer
the reworded sentences for smoother communication. It took me about 2
seconds each to rewrite them. It seems that we must agree to disagree.

Janet
jvalade -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com


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