Here is a very silly outmoded comment, written, unsurprisingly, by a right-wing religionist.
Pronouns: We avoid, as much as possible, the hideous “he or she” and we try never to use the atrocious “they” when speaking of a single unidentified, generic person. To a man ( 🙂 ) we find the gymnastics writers use to coddle the various grievance groups “out there” are execrable, and we strive to stay far away from them. If the subject being referred to is an unidentified person who could be of either sex, use “he.”
This is from the style guide for the Praetorian Writers Group, who to a person, seem to be a bunch of antediluvians (can that be used as a noun?) to me.
I had the he/she/it argument years ago. Firstly at work, and secondly, more recently, with a friend in the Royal Navy, who made the standard excuse that it refers to men and women. No it doesn’t, and by implication it assumes male preference and denies women’s presence. He later admitted perhaps it wasn’t inclusive. Readers of roughseas will note that ‘they’ has not only made it into the Oxford dictionary, it was on the shortlist for word of the year in 2015. That’s good. I was using it last century in public information leaflets and documents. Get over the grammar people. Words change.
So while the fossils in the Writers Group may refer to people of unknown sex as he, the rest of us have moved on somewhat. Of course one could equally use zie, but I suspect that would be even worse to those of anti-feminist persuasion. Or anti dismantling the gender binary persuasion.
Dismantling the gender binary, ie getting rid of the distinctions between men and women, or traits regarded as being ‘male’ or ‘female’ tends to be associated with feminism, as women tend to suffer more under this classification.
Tildeb posted an interesting link over on Violet’s.
Now, while I don’t agree 100% with tildeb on everything (or with anyone else as far as that goes), I thought this was a very interesting post that shows the knots we tie ourselves up with. (Or up with which we tie ourselves 😉 )
Back in the days when I was on a radfem forum, people (ie American women) were discussing whether to support Clinton or Obama, and there was a lot of support for Obama. Every little thing Clinton had done wrong was criticised, everything Obama did was idealised. And this is on a feminist forum FCS.
So, why do feminists put other causes before their own? In the case of Obama, black man trumps white woman.
In the case cited above by tildeb, feminists decided to put Islam before feminism. Uh?
Speaker Maryam Namazie is Iranian born, has worked with refugees, is a human rights activist, and campaigns for women’s rights in Iran. She opposes Sharia law in the UK and denounces Western acceptance of women’s oppression and violation of human rights when we say it is part of ‘Islamic culture’. She thinks otherwise.
She was briefly banned from speaking at Warwick University, and in her talk this month at Goldsmiths, she was heckled, shouted at, whistled at, students walked out, and her projector was turned off. (Projector? Do people still use those?)
She, and another lecturer were issued with death threats.
In recent months, we now have two strong proponents of feminism who have been initially banned, and criticised for their feminist views. Greer offended transgender people, Namazie offended Muslims.
Why do women always get pushed to the bottom of the discriminatory heap? And by other feminist women too?
Race trumps feminism. Religion trumps feminism. Feminists are only allowed to speak if they don’t offend anyone.
And yet, it’s ok to offend women and feminists and disrupt a presentation? Would that have been allowed if the speaker was male? A Muslim? Black? A member of the university faculty? Well, anyone really, apart from an ex-Muslim woman?
Why do feminists feel the need to support other causes/movements that have stuff all in common with feminism? And to give those causes precedence? Female conditioning? Someone else is right/more important/more deserving?
One of the principles of feminism is that one doesn’t criticise women who subscribe to patriarchy. After all, they are mere pawns like the rest of us.
Women have a brain. If they buy into bullshit, play the little woman card, then they are making my job and that of every other serious feminist, that much harder. Whether that is wearing frilly clothes and high heels, supporting Islam above feminism, racial discrimination above feminism, or anything else above feminism, then yes, I will criticise other women. Oh, and that includes sex workers and women who work in pornography too.
So women, and those few seriously good feminist allies out there (I can think of three of you), don’t short-change feminism. It should NOT take second place to anything.
*ETA* I should have added Sarah Ditum to the list of feminist speakers who gave been no- platformed. In this case Bristol Feminist Society uninvited her on the grounds that someone, somewhere had called her transphobic.