Surprisingly, every Friday seems to bring something on the interwebs that makes me shake my head in disbelief and despair over the human situation.
Correspondingly, I’ve decided to do a weekly update loosely called “Whiskey Tango Friday”
Today’s WTF moment? THIS particular gem concerning the need to de-gender-ize pronouns in the english language.
“Can’t we English-speakers just agree upon a gender-neutral pronoun?” attorney Paul Easton recently Twittered. “Tired of PC grammar gymnastics.”
Easton isn’t alone. There have been at least 18 recent tweets about the fact that English has no grammatically correct substitutes for words like “he,” “him,” and “his” that do not have a gender implied.
Consider the sentence “Everyone loves his mother.” The word “his” may be seen as both sexist and inaccurate, but replacing it with “his or her” seems cumbersome, and “they” is grammatically incorrect.
“I find myself spending a lot of time reworking or obsessing over sentences to avoid sexist language, and wonder why we settled on these burdensome conventions rather than popularizing a gender-neutral pronoun,” Easton said in an e-mail.
That last sentance is what really set of my WTF alarm. The question shouldn’t be “why did we settle on these burdensome conventions?” but “Why have we become so uber-sensitive to gender that we HAVE to obsess over the gender of pronouns?”