If you’re a rational person, gender is the exact same as sex: there are two options and that’s where the variety ends. I can sum it up with the following quote: “You’re more than welcome to believe you’re a dragon trapped in a human’s body but basic biology doesn’t work like that, my special-snowflake sweetie-pie”. I have some soul-crushing truth to lay upon you if you are ignorant of the two-party system that Nature has provided for all of humanity.
I’d like to take a moment at the introduction to mention that the article I’m about to reference was written in the Opinion section for the student newspaper of some crappy liberal-arts college. Because it is college-level it is therefore subject to my derision (i.e. I generally won’t take on high-school rags and lower unless the insanity reaches critical levels but college publications are free game) and I have thereby set the tone for the rest of my post. You can read it below to get an idea of what I’m talking about:
I’d also like to point out that the author obviously sounds like a guy. This is important since it speaks to an entirely different problem in our society than just some idiot writing about pronouns.
Every Epidemic Has Carriers
I’m not saying that this poor bastard set the events into motion that will eventually collapse our society; he’s obviously not Patient Zero since this has been going on for a while but he’s the one that upsets me the most. Just like Morgan Freeman and Dustin Hoffman (see Outbreak if you haven’t) I’m attempting to battle against a rampant disease that pervades the souls and minds of unsuspecting individuals. Contrary to Outbreak, though, this merely leads to mental and emotional death as opposed to drawn-out physical pain and suffering.
Call it whatever you want. I prefer to refer to it as its true form: attention-whoring in the name of equality. As a rhetorical question I’d say “Gee, where have we heard this before?” I’m sure my readers here can come up with tons of examples and I’ve discussed it frequently in the past so I won’t wax poetic on it here.
Tumblr is the most poignant example of when people who have never had to experience any kind of hardship in their lives decide to self-diagnose themselves with mental disorders and pretend to be anything other than human. I can hear you thinking “who would be stupid enough to do this” and there’s only one thing I can say to you: head on over to /r/TumblrInAction for in-the-field examples of this mentality. You can’t go a day without coming across a post regarding how someone on Tumblr is trying to figure out how to come out to his parents / friends / authority figures about how he’s really a dragon / horse / pokemon trapped in a human body.
What can these meatbags teach us? It’s simple, really: be happy you aren’t this insane.
Oppression Where There Is None
In a society where such things are virtually non-existent the perpetually-offended among us must find novel ways in which to bring their drivel to the masses. Such is the content of the article into which I shall attempt to delve.
Option A: “Let’s go around and say your name, your year, your major and where you’re from.”
Option B: “Let’s go around and say your name, your pronouns, your year, your major and where you’re from.”
These are the two options a leader has when directing a group introduction. What’s the difference? Option B is inclusive to students of all genders, discourages assumption-making, makes sure there’s no uncomfortable misgendering later, and shows that pronoun choice is just as deliberate for a cisgendered female using she/her/hers as for a trans person using ze/zir/zirs.
It’s a strong start straight out of the gate. The only difference between Option A and Option B is not that of inclusiveness but rather that of liberal tautology and the acceptance of mental abnormality that its practitioners seek to be recognized as normal. Of course as a sane society we would never stoop to these levels but it doesn’t stop people like this from trying. You really have to admire their commitment to such an ill-guided cause regardless of how hysterically-repugnant and one-sided it may be.
Mis-gendering, as it is applied here, generally results from a visual defect. In most cases, someone who would otherwise be classified as female decides to make herself look like a twelve-year-old boy. The outrage comes from the fact that we didn’t recognize this “strong independent woman” as anything other than other vapid example of feminism gone crazy. You all know by this time that I call it as I see it and have no qualms referring to such a short-haired pariah as the exact same thing for which she campaigns.
Cisgendered is always code for “please don’t listen to me since my ideas are so meaningless that I have to use a made-up word in order to get anything across to the masses; please agree with me!” Nothing more should be said here aside from the fact that these people are harming legitimate discourse.
False Equality Fails Unequivocally
The article continues with the following mental gymnastics:
Option A: leaves students whose pronouns can’t be correctly assumed with two (often uncomfortable) options.
Option A1: Say their pronouns after their name, singling them out as The One With Different Pronouns.
Option A2: Say just their name like everyone else and have to correct someone later after being all-but-inevitably misgendered.
Just like I alluded above, the solution for the “student(s) whose pronouns can’t be correctly assumed” is to dress like your biological sex. How hard is that to do? If you’re so concerned with being labeled anything different than what you truly are then maybe you shouldn’t have cut your hair in stupid way (for females) or worn fishnet everything (for males). Your alleged “mis-gendering” (and even that hurts me to say since I’m sure it will come about as a legitimate verb) is entirely your fault and that of nobody else. If you don’t like being perceived as a certain identity then you are more than welcome to change it; however, everyone else has the right to draw criticism of your chosen and admittedly stupid identity as it persists. Freedom of speech always translates into freedom from that speech in any free society like this one so be prepared for your detractors.
Attempting to Rationalize Stupidity
No matter where I go, the protest I always hear in objection to doing pronouns is “it’s too big of a question to ask during a quick go-around.”
No. It’s not. The only people who think it’s a big deal to share pronouns are the people who “don’t need to do it.”
Think of it this way: We all have names we go by. Sometimes they’re what’s on our passport, sometimes they’re a variation, sometimes they’re a different name altogether. You might be the seventh Devaughn in your family, you might be named Sumathy after a beloved great-aunt, you might go by a your middle name, Katalyna, to avoid confusion because you share a first name with your mother. But when you introduce yourself, everyone just needs to know your name—what to call you. Pronouns are the same way. While pronouns can carry connotations or stories with them, they’re really just, at the end of the day, what a person wants to be called.
At what point does forced adherence to falseness qualify as “too big of a question to ask”? He follows up with “the only people who think it’s a big deal to share pronouns are the people who don’t need to do it”. Of course that makes perfect sense. Nobody NEEDS to do it. I’m not going to contribute to some liberal-arts student’s mental illness by enabling their insane worldview and I’d like to imagine that at least some of the students at that godforsaken institution feel the same way and are grounded in reality. For the rest: let’s just go ahead and bastardize the entire English language and make our speech completely intelligible with false words and a complete lack of sentence structure. Of course, all of the aforementioned issues are perfectly fine in the vein of political-correctness and including everyone, right? Right?
The Fallacy Expands
Likewise, here’s a conversation you would never have with a stranger.
Person 1: “Hey Sam!”
Person 2: “Uh, my name’s not Sam—it’s Cedric.”
Person 1: “Yeah, but you look like a Sam, so I’m just gonna call you Sam.”
We don’t assume names by looking at people, so why should we assume pronouns?
Of course that’s a conversation you would never have with a stranger and the logical fallacy presents itself here. Calling someone by the wrong name is something that would only be done if you truly couldn’t remember said name but said misgendering is entirely visual. Take one look at an androgynous person and tell me that you didn’t have a difficult time trying to figure out exactly what gender he/she was in order not to offend he/her when it comes to referring to said person. I can almost guarantee that in our “modern” (and I use that word loosely) society everyone has experienced that at least once.
We assume pronouns because they are done entirely on the visual characteristics of the person to which we are referring. That’s just human nature. Are you trying to deny nature? If someone looks like a man we refer to them as a man; similarly, if someone looks like a woman we refer to them as a woman. The dichotomy can best be described in a similar situation that I found myself in earlier tonight. I ventured into my favorite Japanese restaurant looking to procure some sustenance when I saw her: long straight brown hair and dressed in a kimono. It was great and I was absolutely thinking of doing an approach… until she/he/it turned around. What I now saw before me was absolutely a male (I use the word “man” sparingly) who had taken care of his hare and had primped his appearance to appear womanly. I swear this poor bastard was an easy candidate for MtF transition and surgery but I had as much as I could stomach so I grabbed my order and high-tailed it out of there.
Foreigners Aren’t Even Safe
The other protest I’ve heard, especially in my work with kids, is “it’s too complex of a topic.” Again, it’s not. The past two summers, I’ve taught at a program with 13- and 14-year olds, one-third of whom were not from the United States; and, for about as many students, English was not their first language. The first day of class, I asked the students to share their name, pronouns, and other information relevant to the activity we were doing. “Tell us what you want to be called: your name, and what pronouns you want us to use for you, because just like we don’t assume names, we don’t assume pronouns. So for me, I’m Max, and I use ze/zir/zirs or they/them/theirs, and I’m your instructor.”
This guy is absolutely right; it’s not “too complex of a topic”. There are two genders and those that think differently are either complete idiots or mentally-disturbed. Doesn’t sound too complicated to me.
“Tell us what you want to be called” leaves the door open for too many interpretations and further bastardization of the English language. I refuse to call an obvious female a “he” and I’m equally-opposed to calling an obvious male a “she”. Even when I taught I was the exact same way. I don’t play into the politically-correct interpretation for any of this. You can use ze/zir/zirs all you want but you can rest well at knowing that I’m going to reject completely this attack on language and the creation of stupid words. I’m not going to recognize your non-existent gender just because you came up with a few words and made a flag in MS Paint. You have absolutely zero legitimacy and should always be seen that way through your peers. Wanting to re-define language can be your thing and you can own it but don’t expect native speakers to be on-board with your stupid ideas just because you brought them up; that’s not how the real world works. The real world requires proof and you have absolutely none.
Can I really give a conclusion here? The things that I have set forth speak for themselves and if anything is to be concluded it’s that the current state of affairs should reign dominant and that these deviant thoughts should have absolutely no place in our discourse.