RE: he/she thread

Subject: RE: he/she thread
From: PHILA -at- Mail -dot- VIPS -dot- com
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 16:02:07 -0500

This is an old and hard-fought thread...shows all the fraying of a tug o'
war rope. Eric, forgive me; I'll take my lumps for responding.

<<I know it seems strange at first, but surely no stranger
than the other awkward, politically correct constructs we're wrestling with.
In time (centuries) the female pronouns would be seen as a quaint antiquity
of the English language.
I know it's a far-fetched idea, but it still seems like the
best solution to

David, your approach reminds me of the time-tested AMA perspective on
medical research: the female body poses issues that complicate experimental
data. Therefore, only men's bodies are appropriate for testing; the
resultant data will apply equally to both. After all, women *are* human too
<condescending pat on the head>.

As they later learned, this is NOT so. Data that applies to men does *not*
apply equally to women; women's health, and in some cases, their lives, were
lost in proving this.

The lesson holds here, too: you cannot simply choose one gender, toss out
the other, and assume that it will quietly go away. We talk a great deal
about not distracting our audience, David; think how you would feel if the
reverse of your suggestion were implemented: i.e., the words "he," "his,"
etc., were simply discarded in the expectation that men would accept being
referred to in the feminine. I think you might find it a tad distracting,
not to mention irritating, and would likely develop a negative attitude
toward the information being presented.

There are (as I've said many times before; again, apologies, Eric) *many*
graceful ways of avoiding the whole issue. The words "he" and "she" - never
mind the PC permutations - need never be mentioned.

Philomena Hoopes
Phila -at- vips -dot- com <Phila -at- vips -dot- com>
(410) 832-8330 ext. 845

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