Re: Gener-specific or gender-inclusive?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Feb 22 2000 - 20:22:16 EST

At 12:10 PM +1100 2/23/00, David McKay wrote:
>> << After all, although such use of (so called)
>> "politically correct" language sounds silly to some, the lack of such
>> sound sexist and bigoted to others. That seems to be a fair enough
>> statement, wouldn't you agree? >>
>> Absolutely NOT!
>What I find interesting about our sensibilities with regard to
>gender-specific or gender-inclusive language is that when people who prefer
>to keep the masculine read the Scriptures or preach from it, they still can
>be observed to say things like "Obviously the masculine here also includes
>women too." Why then are they squeamish about this being in the text in the
>first place? [I'm a cautious user of inclusive language, btw.]

Perhaps some of us are a lot more consistent and integrated in practice
than others, but in my 66th year I still find myself very inconsistent in
the way I use words that I know are going to rub some people the wrong
way--I do want to say exactly what I mean, but I have to take into account
that what it means to me does NOT entail that it means the same thing to
the person I'm speaking to. Most of us want to continue to live with our
friends and neighbors, and if we go out deliberately intending to offend as
many people as we can we'll soon find ourselves isolated. So instead of
that we offend some people without intending to and make ourselves (I
should speak for myself only, I guess) laughing-stocks in front of others.
For instance I still can't get through a lecture to a mixed class of Jews
and Gentiles talking about historical eras without using both "B.C." and
"B.C.E."--and I could kick myself for not being consistent. Of course most
people are probably much more consistent than I am.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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