Re: Gender Neutral Pronouns

From: Marc Forrester (
Date: Fri Mar 30 2001 - 15:39:43 MST

From: James Higgins <>
> I very much agree with this. He/she is much easier for the reader, and
> people are already accustomed to reading about non-gendered entities using
> them. God is usually referred to as a "he", but many (most?) people
> believe God is non-gendered. Or at the very least could take on any
> he so choose at any time. If talking about non-gendered, all knowing
> entities for thousands of years has not spawned the creation of gender
> neutral pronouns, I think it is a lost cause.

I think for the vast majority of those centuries, God has been very much a
he. Patriarchal societies, women as property, 'Heavenly Father', big white
beard in the sky, etc. The ethereal, chtonic, light the blue touch paper
and sit back, gender-neutral God is a very recent invention, and nothing
like as successful.

> May very well be true, but 've' still sounds goofy. I hear more stupid
> comments about those pronouns than anything else in the papers when I
> suggest others read them. That indicates to me that they are a problem.

Interesting. I suspect that this is a general resistance to the concept of
ungendered people, more than a particular hatred for the letter V. Perhaps
a perceived overlap with political correctness is part of the problem. I
suggest a quick & dirty search & replace as a temporary technical solution.

> "When I was walking home from school a large, black, dog appeared ahead of
> me. It came running at me while growling, which made me very scared. I
> ran the other way as fast as possible and jumped a fence before it could
> catch me."

That is a dog taking the role of primal fear monster, of course 'it' works
for that. Likewise insane hollywood AI (Shodan) and even enemy people when
suitably demonised. That doesn't make 'it' suitable for dogs generally.
Okay, here's a more human centric rule of thumb: 'It' means something that
doesn't have a -name-. The seed AI will likely go through a ton of names.
(And nicknames)

> Dogs are not gender neutral, but that works just fine. And, last I
> checked, dogs had minds. If someone went up to your puppy and blew it
> with a shotgun, the newspaper headlines would read "Puppy murdered in cold
> blood".

And nowhere in the articles would the late Mr. Wuzzums be referred to as
'it'. The killer might be.

> Ah, but the question is, how many more would not dismiss it as loony if it
> used standard pronouns? Using us as a sample is biased. This information
> will eventually apply to, and need to be read by, the general public.
> because we can look at the facts and say "this makes sense", doesn't have
> any relevance on if the general public could do the same.

No argument there, but eventually is the key word. Introductions will be,
as you say, available in levels and stages, with appropriately targeted
ideas and language, not merely as a raw text dump of the entire SL4 archive.
Meanwhile, I'm still assuming that anyone reading this right now has already
progressed through SL1-3 in their own time.

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