Saturday, February 27, 2021

Preferred Pronouns: You Want ‘Em, We’ve Got’em

Although subject-verb agreement is an age old grammar conundrum for some, the use of “they” as a singular pronoun in order to avoid the use of a gender specific one is the New Age grammar nemesis. This of course has led to the 21st century game of walking on glass and the invention of a multitude new gender pronouns. Like all post-modern concepts, these pronouns have no consistent rules, are difficult to use and add negative utility.

It started out, as all progressive plans do, with good intentions and limited application:


But it quickly galloped off into the hills and is still “evolving.” Like the Covid, it will never end. Here’s one of the more current lists of “non-binary” pronouns. It is used as a handout in college classes to instruct “binary” gendered students to use the correct pronoun in order to avoid offending the more sensitive non-binaries.


A question: does anybody seriously expect us to accept this ridiculous charade as anything other than that? Does a society that can’t even bother itself to teach standard English grammar anymore honestly expect people to memorize and use dozens of new protologisms correctly? No, they don’t, they’re just F’ing with us now.

But MOTUS, you ask, what does this have to do with Caterday? Well, you see, gender isn’t just for people anymore. This article isn’t new but it’s just as relevant 5 years hence - from the newspaper committed to having Democracy Die In Darkness -  Don’t laugh: I have a serious reason for raising my cats gender-neutral

That’s when I decided to raise my cats to be gender neutral.

The cats’ lives wouldn’t change, I reasoned, and it would help me learn to use plural pronouns for my friends, neighbors and colleagues who individually go by they, their and them. [ed. obviously first-wave non-binaries]

Even though using they, them and their as singular pronouns grates on many people because it’s grammatically incorrect, it seems to be the most popular solution to the question of how to identify people without requiring them to conform to the gender binary of female and male. It also just feels right to refer to people as they wish to be referred to.

For a while I thought it was written tongue in cheek.

Things got a little more real when Essence got sick. They were really sick.  I took them to the vet and had to weigh the question: Do I explain their pronouns not only to the vet, but also the front-desk workers, the vet techs, and everyone else we interacted with? Before the illness was over, we saw five vets, two sets of front desk people, and countless vet techs. I chose to fall back on my cis-gender privilege (look it up) and used the singular pronoun for Essence. I understood that wouldn’t have been so easy if I were the patient — or if Essence were human…

It is confusing. We’ve had gender drilled into us as part of language since we first heard adults talking when we were infants – decades of “he” and “she.”

But then this erstwhile wrap-up:

But at the same time it’s necessary. People are coming to understand that not all of us fit into the “girl” box or the “boy” box. Those who don’t are claiming space to be who they are. We all need to find ways to acknowledge and respect that. My way of respecting it just happens to be raising my cats gender neutral. You can choose your own.

That it has become so difficult to tell the difference between the Washington Post and the Babylon Bee is quite telling I think.

29 Of The Most Beautiful Cats In The World | Bored Panda

Meet the non-binary housecats Luxor and Abyss, preferred pronouns: “My Liege” and “Your Majesty”