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Katie Opatik-Duff's Comments

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If I Were a Middle Aged White Man

Commented Dec 18, 2011 at 12:33:38 in Home

“I *strongly* encourage you to read this article, in which the author does a much better job at explaining why sexist language matters than I can: http://www.alternet.org/story/48856/
huffingtonpost entry

If I Were a Middle Aged White Man

Commented Dec 18, 2011 at 12:33:15 in Home

“(Sorry, that last comment was intended for the previous poster)

@Benjyhe - I am going to go ahead and ignore, for the moment, that one of your "pet peeves" is that a traditionally oppressed segment of the population believes they deserve equal language representation in language. Maybe you didn't have or pay attention in social science courses and are unfamiliar with the strong scientific connection between language and reality. I cannot, however, ignore the absurdity of claiming to be in "support [of] the feminist movement" and in favor of using language that effectively "erases" women. As Professor Sherryl Kleinman has argued, "[M]ale-based generics are another indicator—and, more importantly, a reinforcer—of a system in which "man" in the abstract and men in the flesh are privileged over women." Many people dislike using the she/he convention because it can be awkward, and are unsure of newly devised gender-neutral pronouns. I understand this. Switching up which pronoun is used is becoming more popular (i.e. using both "she" and "he" interchangeably), however, and I think it is at least a step in the right direction. As the UNC Writing Center so aptly stated, "Words matter, and our language choices have consequences. If we believe that women and men deserve social equality, then we should think seriously about how to reflect that belief in our language use." (http://writingcenter.unc.edu/resources/handouts-demos/citation/gender-sensitive-language)”
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If I Were a Middle Aged White Man

Commented Dec 18, 2011 at 12:31:58 in Home

“@homerc85 - Actually, I am referencing the end of the article, where he is using a hypothetical,"If solving inequality were as simple as wanting it badly enough, I'd like to think we'd all be equal. Who in his right mind would put himself at a severe disadvantage?" I have no problem with using male pronouns for males and female pronouns for females. That would be silly.”
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If I Were a Middle Aged White Man

Commented Dec 15, 2011 at 22:26:47 in Home

“Great article. The challenges facing a "poor black kid" are incomparable to those of a middle class white kid (which I assume the author was); he clearly knows nothing about poverty culture. As a friendly observation, however, I do find it ironic that in an article about "inequality" and "privilege" you use gender-exclusive pronouns like "his" and "himself," thereby implicitly disregarding the perspective of 51% of the population.”

Katie Opatik-Duff on Dec 18, 2011 at 12:31:58

“@homerc85 - Actually, I am referencing the end of the article, where he is using a hypothetical,"If solving inequality were as simple as wanting it badly enough, I'd like to think we'd all be equal. Who in his right mind would put himself at a severe disadvantage?" I have no problem with using male pronouns for males and female pronouns for females. That would be silly.”

Benjyhe on Dec 17, 2011 at 19:24:28

“This is simply convention. It is not meant to exclude. Yes, modern Western society developed from the patriarchal society before it. Often, in order to make a cogent and grammatically correct statement, it is necessary to use a pronoun. Given our patriarchal history, the standard is to use the male pronoun. Your argument has led to people specifically using either male or female pronouns simply to make a point; and gender neutral pronouns tend not to fit grammatically. This is not a slight against the female population, it is simply the way language has evolved. In situations in which I see a female pronoun I am thrown off because all of a sudden I feel like the author is either trying to advance an agenda unrelated to the topic at hand or trying to protect him/herself (see what I mean about just being awkward... and no themselves would not fit grammatically) from people like yourself. Or using m/f pronouns as I just did, which, I'm sorry, but I just don't think belongs in formal writing. In either circumstance, the flow of writing is inturrupted and the article or essay made worse. I am very liberal, and support the feminist movement. But when it comes to writing, there needs to be a standard for pronouns to avoid confusion and allow for strong presentation of arguments. Sorry for the long response, obviously we disagree and you are entitled to your opinion, this is just one of my pet peeves.”

homerc85 on Dec 17, 2011 at 14:00:37

“'He' (the writer of this article) uses pronouns like "his" and "himself" to reference the writer he is criticizing--Gene Marks. No need to get all gender-offended...Louis was not disregarding anyone's perspective.”