Re: Gender Issues

Subject: Re: Gender Issues
From: Ron Jenkins <rjenkins -at- MYNA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 1997 10:50:20 +0000

Tom Phillips wrote:

> Now, regardless of how you think the gender issue should be dealt with
> (he/she vs. s/he, etc.), I am curious to know how everyone feels about
> correcting famous texts/quotations to avoid generic pronouns? Is it
> right to take a famous quote, such as "From each according to his
> abilities, to each according to his needs," (Karl Marx) and change it
> to "From each of us according to our abilities, to each of us
> according to our needs?" Is it right to take a famous passage from oh
> say Shakespeare and change it?

As the one who originally posted those revised historical
quotations, I agree with Tom's objection to rewriting other's words,
which is revisionist (in the bad sense) and anachronistic. My
academic training (Ph.D. in English) did teach me to respect the
integrity of texts, after all. On the other hand, citing the original
and the revised passages side by side _as an exercise in rewriting_
doesn't seem to me to violate that principle.

Also on the other hand, rewriting of _non-historical_ texts is a big
part of what we technical communicators do.

For those who are interested, the examples come from Rosalie Maggio,
_The Non-Sexist Word Finder: A Dictionary of Gender-Free Usage_
(Beacon Press, 1988) ISBN 0-8070-6001-1.

-- Ron
Ron Jenkins, Technical Communications
SilCom Technology
5620 Timberlea Blvd., Mississauga, Ontario, CANADA L4W 4M6
Voice: (905) 238-8822 Fax: (905) 238-1887
E-mail (work): silmark -at- silcomtech -dot- com
E-mail (personal): rjenkins -at- myna -dot- com

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