Feminism Catch-All (with FAQ)

bekkilyn wrote:
Jonman wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:

If "they" isn't their real gender though, and it's really "zie" or some other pronoun, then wouldn't they be considered to be misusing "they" for the sake of ease, or is it that they don't know their gender or don't have one?

That's a very problematic use of the word "real".

Perhaps, but what word would you use instead, with the assumption of specific cases where a person has a gender of some sort? Actual? Legitimate? Correct? I'm not suggesting that people can't use "they" when describing themselves because people can use what they want, but if they have a specific term that describes their gender, then using "they" would not be accurately representing that gender any more than using "it" represents "she".

That's what I meant by "real" anyway. Not trying to imply that "real" was the same thing as the binary he/she or anything like that.

I wouldn't use any word.

The notion of one pronoun being "legitimate" and another not is BS.

Who's the arbiter of said legitimacy? Why do they have authority over my gender expression? It's no-one's but my own. What if i told you that "she" wasn't a legitimate pronoun for you to use? You'd rightly laugh in their face, right?

P.S. There are some folk who are female who use "it" as a pronoun. What authority do you have to tell them that they're wrong?

One day, I will learn that quote is not edit. Today is not that day.

No seriously, today is not that day

Gravey wrote:

We were at Gymboree yesterday, and while they have girls' superhero t-shirts online, they don't stock any of them in store like they do with the boys' superhero t-shirts. Paw Patrol t-shirts omit Skye, Teen Titans Go t-shirts omit Raven and Starfire. It's so infuriating. Leia hadn't been that enthusiastic about her scooter for a while; but then she saw a 14-y/o girl neighbour practicing on her skateboard (with helmet and full pads), and Leia couldn't get to her scooter and into her pads fast enough. Representation is vital, and even as a slow-witted guy I see every day how girls are let down, especially when they're trying to learn what it means to be a girl.

Oh, don't even get me started on kids' clothes. My daughter wears "boy" shoes because they were the only ones I could find in brown. Freaking brown. Maybe girls buy lots of shoes not because they like shoes but because you don't make shoes in neutral effing colors for them.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that the new Cat & Jack line at Target has some pretty rad designs for girls - dinos, robots, and spaceships, oh my!

Jonman wrote:

P.S. There are some folk who are female who use "it" as a pronoun. What authority do you have to tell them that they're wrong?

*nod* I know a plural system whose pronoun is "it" (although it also accepts "they"). This makes me feel very very very ooky because of the way "it" has been weaponized (particularly against trans people) in the past.. But it has chosen that pronoun, and that choice deserves my respect, and more importantly those people deserve my respect.

Jonman wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:
Jonman wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:

If "they" isn't their real gender though, and it's really "zie" or some other pronoun, then wouldn't they be considered to be misusing "they" for the sake of ease, or is it that they don't know their gender or don't have one?

That's a very problematic use of the word "real".

Perhaps, but what word would you use instead, with the assumption of specific cases where a person has a gender of some sort? Actual? Legitimate? Correct? I'm not suggesting that people can't use "they" when describing themselves because people can use what they want, but if they have a specific term that describes their gender, then using "they" would not be accurately representing that gender any more than using "it" represents "she".

That's what I meant by "real" anyway. Not trying to imply that "real" was the same thing as the binary he/she or anything like that.

I wouldn't use any word.

The notion of one pronoun being "legitimate" and another not is BS.

Who's the arbiter of said legitimacy? Why do they have authority over my gender expression? It's no-one's but my own. What if i told you that "she" wasn't a legitimate pronoun for you to use? You'd rightly laugh in their face, right?

P.S. There are some folk who are female who use "it" as a pronoun. What authority do you have to tell them that they're wrong?

Jonman wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:
Jonman wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:

If "they" isn't their real gender though, and it's really "zie" or some other pronoun, then wouldn't they be considered to be misusing "they" for the sake of ease, or is it that they don't know their gender or don't have one?

That's a very problematic use of the word "real".

Perhaps, but what word would you use instead, with the assumption of specific cases where a person has a gender of some sort? Actual? Legitimate? Correct? I'm not suggesting that people can't use "they" when describing themselves because people can use what they want, but if they have a specific term that describes their gender, then using "they" would not be accurately representing that gender any more than using "it" represents "she".

That's what I meant by "real" anyway. Not trying to imply that "real" was the same thing as the binary he/she or anything like that.

I wouldn't use any word.

The notion of one pronoun being "legitimate" and another not is BS.

Who's the arbiter of said legitimacy? Why do they have authority over my gender expression? It's no-one's but my own. What if i told you that "she" wasn't a legitimate pronoun for you to use? You'd rightly laugh in their face, right?

P.S. There are some folk who are female who use "it" as a pronoun. What authority do you have to tell them that they're wrong?

The people telling you their gender and pronouns are the arbiters of legitimacy. That should be a no-brainier.

Jonman wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:
Jonman wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:

If "they" isn't their real gender though, and it's really "zie" or some other pronoun, then wouldn't they be considered to be misusing "they" for the sake of ease, or is it that they don't know their gender or don't have one?

That's a very problematic use of the word "real".

Perhaps, but what word would you use instead, with the assumption of specific cases where a person has a gender of some sort? Actual? Legitimate? Correct? I'm not suggesting that people can't use "they" when describing themselves because people can use what they want, but if they have a specific term that describes their gender, then using "they" would not be accurately representing that gender any more than using "it" represents "she".

That's what I meant by "real" anyway. Not trying to imply that "real" was the same thing as the binary he/she or anything like that.

I wouldn't use any word.

The notion of one gender being "legitimate" and another not is BS.

Who's the arbiter of said legitimacy? Why do they have authority over my gender expression? It's no-one's but my own. What if i told you that "she" wasn't a legitimate pronoun for you to use? You'd rightly laugh in their face, right?

P.S. There are some folk who are female who use "it" as a pronoun. What authority do you have to tell them that they're wrong?

So if I recognize myself by my own authority as female and as "she", but yet still insist that everyone call me "he", how is that accurate when my "real" gender is female? Yes, I do have the freedom to call myself a "he" or whatever else I want, but it wouldn't necessarily mean it was true. I could go around telling people I'm a cat instead of a human, and be perfectly within my rights to do so, but that wouldn't necessarily be true either.

Or is it...?

If "they" or "it" are specific genders, then what distinguishes those particular genders from other genders? What features do they specifically have that aren't represented within the other genders?

Or is it really not a specific gender at all, and instead simply something entirely gender-neutral that people use for the sake of convenience? (And for GWJ arguments, of course!)

chixor7 wrote:
Gravey wrote:

We were at Gymboree yesterday, and while they have girls' superhero t-shirts online, they don't stock any of them in store like they do with the boys' superhero t-shirts. Paw Patrol t-shirts omit Skye, Teen Titans Go t-shirts omit Raven and Starfire. It's so infuriating. Leia hadn't been that enthusiastic about her scooter for a while; but then she saw a 14-y/o girl neighbour practicing on her skateboard (with helmet and full pads), and Leia couldn't get to her scooter and into her pads fast enough. Representation is vital, and even as a slow-witted guy I see every day how girls are let down, especially when they're trying to learn what it means to be a girl.

Oh, don't even get me started on kids' clothes. My daughter wears "boy" shoes because they were the only ones I could find in brown. Freaking brown. Maybe girls buy lots of shoes not because they like shoes but because you don't make shoes in neutral effing colors for them.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that the new Cat & Jack line at Target has some pretty rad designs for girls - dinos, robots, and spaceships, oh my!

Always Be Brave, Yay Science, unisex t-shirts! See, Joe Fresh and Children's Place, it's not so hard and you can still sell kittens and rainbows too. Unfortunately vehicles are still restricted to the boys' clothes, and kindness to the girls', but that's still a step forward. Boys could be reminded that kindness isn't just for girls, and Leia is into motorcycles now and would flip if there was a pink sparkly motorcycle t-shirt on the racks.

But I think someone just got a bingo in the trans* pronouns discussion, so maybe we can come back to this later...

Hypatian wrote:

*nod* I know a plural system whose pronoun is "it" (although it also accepts "they").

What's a plural system?

bekkilyn wrote:

So if I recognize myself by my own authority as female and as "she", but yet still insist that everyone call me "he", how is that accurate when my "real" gender is female? Yes, I do have the freedom to call myself a "he" or whatever else I want, but it wouldn't necessarily mean it was true. I could go around telling people I'm a cat instead of a human, and be perfectly within my rights to do so, but that wouldn't necessarily be true either.

Or is it...? :)

Heh--I don't think it's by your authority that you recognize yourself as female. From what I've picked up, it's about your lack of discomfort (dysphoria). The 'authority' here is your feelings. And feelings are real. When you tell someone your gender, you're telling them how to make you feel normal.

If "they" or "it" are specific genders, then what distinguishes those particular genders from other genders? What features do they specifically have that aren't represented within the other genders?

This question gets asked and asked and there are attempts to answer it, and sometimes it goes well, and sometimes it doesn't. And that's just male vs. female.

In the end, the one thing that can answered definitively is what makes people comfortable and uncomfortable. So that's the answer. While identity may be subjective, discomfort is objective.

I suppose what's bothering me now is that if "they" is an actual gender, then we can't use the singular they to represent everyone neutrally, and so we're right back where we started in this whole discussion. The difference is that instead of using the gendered pronoun "he" as the default for everyone, we're using the gendered pronoun "they" instead, which isn't an improvement if "they" represents a gender. The problem would therefore remain unresolved because we're still going to be giving someone's gender superior status.

bekkilyn wrote:

I suppose what's bothering me now is that if "they" is an actual gender, then we can't use the singular they to represent everyone neutrally, and so we're right back where we started in this whole discussion. The difference is that instead of using the gendered pronoun "he" as the default for everyone, we're using the gendered pronoun "they" instead, which isn't an improvement if "they" represents a gender. The problem would therefore remain unresolved because we're still going to be giving someone's gender superior status.

I'm thinking it's a non-problem because "they" doesn't carry the baggage of "he." If we ever get to a point in our culture where the "they" gender experience is assumed to be the norm with all the negative effects that (edit) treating the "he" gender experience as the norm has on society, then it will be a problem.

Think of it less as reasoning out from first principles, and more as evidenced-based problem solving.

cheeze_pavilion wrote:
bekkilyn wrote:

I suppose what's bothering me now is that if "they" is an actual gender, then we can't use the singular they to represent everyone neutrally, and so we're right back where we started in this whole discussion. The difference is that instead of using the gendered pronoun "he" as the default for everyone, we're using the gendered pronoun "they" instead, which isn't an improvement if "they" represents a gender. The problem would therefore remain unresolved because we're still going to be giving someone's gender superior status.

I'm thinking it's a non-problem because "they" doesn't carry the baggage of "he." If we ever get to a point in our culture where the "they" gender experience is assumed to be the norm with all the negative effects that the "he" gender experience has, then it will be a problem.

Think of it less as reasoning out from first principles, and more as evidenced-based problem solving.

It may not have the same baggage, but it's still not correct in that it would be gender neutral. If "they" is a gender and I'm not one, then it would still be grating as being assumed to be a he. Being a she would *still* not count regardless of whatever other gender is considered as the norm.

Chumpy_McChump wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

*nod* I know a plural system whose pronoun is "it" (although it also accepts "they").

What's a plural system?

Think Sirius, but for humans, is my snarky take on it.

In English, is the use of 'they' for one whose pronoun preferences are unknown to the speaker generally deemed least harm/safest/etc ?

I would suspect this to be the case until the speaker or writer has an opportunity to check with the individual as to their preferred pronouns, but I want to check that suspicion with others.

bekkilyn wrote:

It may not have the same baggage, but it's still not correct in that it would be gender neutral. If "they" is a gender and I'm not one, then it would still be grating as being assumed to be a he. Being a she would *still* not count regardless of whatever other gender is considered as the norm.

I know it wouldn't be grating to me--if one of (edit) the genders beyond he/she hits the jackpot like, I dunno, Tuvalu did when it got the .tv internet domain name, eh--that's fine with me.

But I am a he, so now we're probably truly in territory where I should hand things back over to a she. ; D

Back on the feminism and clothing topic, I saw a t-shirt at Old a Navy that said, "boys will be boys." I thought, "no sh*t," then revised that to, "unless they realize they're not." But really, "kids will be adults" should be both a threat and a t-shirt.

sometimesdee wrote:

Back on the feminism and clothing topic, I saw a t-shirt at Old a Navy that said, "boys will be boys." I thought, "no sh*t," then revised that to, "unless they realize they're not." But really, "kids will be adults" should be both a threat and a t-shirt.

I would totally buy that shirt

bekkilyn wrote:

Though I enjoyed the math and theory parts of the degree, I didn't particularly enjoy the thought of coding all day, so I never did seek out a job in the field.

My degree is in computer science; when I was studying in the late 80s, the demographics at my school (admittedly a small, liberal arts/engineering college) was only 10% women studying for the computer degrees.

I worked in the field up until the point I had kids -- we were in a good financial position for me to do that, especially considering the reality of child care costs for small kids. And the pace of change in computer jobs (I no longer had the alphabet soup of certifications required to get a resume in the door easily after a couple of years out) plus the likely demands of a computer job (expectations of overtime/crunch time; being on call) were barriers to going back to that sort of job even once childcare costs were not really a factor.

Ok, two things:

1) Getting hung up on whether 'They' refers to a specific gender misses the point. The fact is that there are some people who do not feel comfortable with using he or she to describe themselves because of the baggage they may imply. Some (most?) folk in that situation are typically happy with appropriating 'They' as it's a pre-existing, gender-neutral pronoun. Some folk don't like 'They' is can be construed as somewhat dehumanising (c.f. 'it') and would rather you use one of the new(ish) pronouns to emerge from 'The world of all things queer'(tm) such as zie, zir, zher, etc...

To what extent should you modify your language? In practical terms probably not a great deal. If they're not around then you'll likely use their name or 'they' as you already do when people are not present (even when they are regular ol' binary identifying). In their presence, and when you know their pronouns (and you like them) then be a friend and do what makes them comfortable. That is really as much as is being asked. Perhaps one day some of the new pronouns will make the leap in to the popular consciousness and they'll feel much less awkward to use but you've got to start somewhere.

To be honest in the whole queer, lefty branch of my wife's friends I'm not sure there are many people who are hugely hung up on this. People make a good faith effort to get it right and no one really sweats it if people put a foot wrong.

2) I work in the Comp. Sci dept in the Engineering faculty of a highly prestigious University. I'd say our undergraduate intake for computer science (and related) degrees is not more than 10%. When I walk through the Electrical Engineering labs it is easily less than that. Considering we're at the prestigious end of things we're probably a high watermark for female course applicants.

It's saddens me a little. Not least as it makes my working environment significantly less diverse (i.e. if there aren't many female Comp.Sci. undergrads then that leads to fewer female Comp.Sci. academics)

Even when the intake numbers increase, it doesn't solve the problem longer-term. Women leave computer science (and other science programs) for other degree programs. Women leave careers for other fields. Why? Because they get treated like crap. Because it's intensely uncomfortable to deal with barely-veiled misogyny not just spouted by co-workers but encoded in assumptions and systems and... it sucks. Because if you have a name traditionally used by women in our culture, you don't get called back. Because if you go on internships you get given crap jobs while the interns who are men get interesting work. Because when people are making a list of all the team leads to invite to a networking party at a conference, they forget you (this actually happened to a co-worker of mine. She was the one woman team lead attending this conference. And she was the one team lead left off of the invite list for this networking event. And then was told it was "no big deal"... ffs)

So, women decide that it's not worth it to put up with that sh*t. And they leave.

And similar things happen in similar ways to other marginalized groups. And we wonder why tech is full of white guys. And blame the "pipeline problem" when the problem is not getting women to start in the field, it's getting women to put up with the field as they approach it and once they get there.

Indeed. Low female intake in comp.sci. degrees is a symptom not the cause of the problem.

Never mind. A little humor's not worth even a little tension.

So some gunshop posted this sign
IMAGE(http://img.wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/vagenda-of-manocide.jpg)

after which comedian Sara Schaefer posted her vagenda for the day.

"Vagenda of Manocide" is the greatest phrase ever.

So many twitter lols from that recently.

krev82 wrote:

So some gunshop posted this sign
IMAGE(http://img.wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/vagenda-of-manocide.jpg)

after which comedian Sara Schaefer posted her vagenda for the day.

"Breathe authentically." So good.

ETA: Except for the goddamned mansplaining. #notallmen

In other social media news, that dumb "how to talk to women in headphones" thing got posted, and I got to talk about PUA culture with my teenage daughter. So that was fun.

(I mean, yes, I was going to have that set of conversations eventually, and having part of it just as she's going in to high school is probably a good idea, but, just, ugh.)

Katy wrote:

In other social media news, that dumb "how to talk to women in headphones" thing got posted, and I got to talk about PUA culture with my teenage daughter. So that was fun.

(I mean, yes, I was going to have that set of conversations eventually, and having part of it just as she's going in to high school is probably a good idea, but, just, ugh.)

I haven't read the entire source article for that (because why would I subject myself to that? The catharsis of snarking about it is better coming from the women who actually have to deal with it). But some of the excerpts I've seen posted are totally standard pickup artist talking points. Which I suppose makes it that much worse: that guy isn't alone, or even very original in thinking it's somehow a good idea.

DanB wrote:

"Vagenda of Manocide" is the greatest phrase ever.

So many twitter lols from that recently.

BTW, http://vagendaofmanocide.com/ (yes, it's safe to click)

Wait, someone wrote a guide for jerkfaces to teach them how to talk to women wearing headphones?

What the actual... This kind of sh*t makes me so angry. How do these people reproduce? We've had at least a couple of generations of enlightenment by now. Grr.