Should we start using gender neutral language?
So there are now 71 gender options to choose from on Facebook including “2 spirit person” This is something that has come to my attention fairly recently. It all started when I found myself agreeing with something Piers Morgan was saying. I know what you’re thinking “Piers Morgan, are you sure?” unfortunately yes, yes I am. To be fair to the guy even though he’s a bit of stuck up knob he does actually speak a lot of sense (some of the time). And one of the few times he did was on the subject of gender neutrality. It all kicked off from the MTV movie awards when Emma Watson became the first winner of the gender neutral “Best Actor” award. Piers argued that it was unnecessary and ultimately meant that women would win less because in fact the majority of major roles go to males. I’m sorry but even before Piers said this, it was my thought exactly. I don’t think creating one category was ultimately necessary. From my understanding there weren’t many people calling for it and I honestly don’t see any benefit from having one category for males and females. Of course I understand the logic behind it, “males and females should be on the same playing field” and “equality” and all that mullarkey. Even though this is a notion I support it isn’t applicable to every situation. There is no getting away from the fact that males and females are different, yes we are all humans and segregation often has its negative connotations but sometimes I believe it’s necessary. Having two categories not only makes it so more actors and actresses can be nominated but it also means there are 2 winners. No one is saying that males are better than females or vice versa but in the history of ceremonies this is how it’s always been and winning an award for best actor or best actress are on the same level anyway. So there’s your equality. I mean how far do you want to take this? Another point Piers correctly mentioned is that if we were to do this for sports, females would almost always lose because it is a fact that men are both faster and stronger than females. But a reason for why this particular news has become more significant is because of people who are “non-binary” and don’t see themselves belonging to either gender. Now I like to see myself as an understanding and inclusive person but I do fail to quite get my head around this concept. It’s becoming a bit ridiculous, I mean 71 gender options on Facebook, come on now. Where does it end? Are we able to identify ourselves as anything? I in no way want to diminish people who feel this way, because as I said I don’t quite understand it, but having 2 genders is all most of us as humans know and to not feel like you belong to either one is just worrying. A big argument for non-binary people is that they feel they don’t fit into the gender roles of neither male or female and yes it’s easy to say that sex and gender are two different things but you can’t have gender without sex. We are living in a much more tolerable world and just because you are a male or female doesn’t mean you can’t be a feminine male or a masculine female. When I say someone is a male or someone is a female I am not associating all these gender roles with you I am just going on the assumption that you either have a penis or vagina. So now there’s a call to use language that is much more inclusive. In some respects I get it. Such as instead of fireman, you say firefighter. And that is fair enough but it’s a whole different story when you have to refer to people as “they”. I recently watched a debate about this subject and an argument being made by the non-binary person was that it’s just about showing respect for that person by referring to them in the way they want to. Again, I totally get it and there are some languages, such as german, that do make allowances for gender. But she became particularly offended when someone else said that she would refuse to refer to her in that way. Now I totally understand both sides of the argument. The woman against it says it’s an ideology that she doesn’t subscribe to. And in many ways if males are people with penises and females are people with vaginas then she’s not wrong it is an ideology. While watching it I felt the woman who would refuse to refer to her as “they” was actually kind of within her rights. Think of it in terms of religion. Just because I believe in God I can’t expect an atheist to start believing in the same things as me and all of a sudden start going to church. Everyone nowadays wants to be politically correct and feel as though everyone should be who they want to be and live as they choose when in fact if that was the case there’d be complete anarchy. Sometimes we do need strict definitions and boundaries. If you go to jail do you go to a male or female prison? Do you use male or female bathrooms? A point which supports this theory that non-binary is an ideology is again a point mentioned by Piers Morgan. He told of a school where one girl said she was non-binary and by the end of the week 8 girls in the same year all said they were the same. He then went on to label it as a fad which of course probably offended some people but I think that in this case it is probably safe to assume that it was. Is it really a good idea to bring up our children teaching them that there are 71 different gender options and that they are able to choose? Do we teach them that they have to be careful how they address people? Can we really be walking on eggshells scared of offending people by referring to them as the wrong pro noun? “They” is often used as plural and this is simply the way our brains are wired, and yes language does change and progress, but for us now to change the way we speak is going to be no easy feat. One thing that I didn’t understand was the inclusion of transgendered people in the argument for gender-neutral language. It was always my understanding that transgender people transitioned from one gender to another they don’t feel as though they belong to neither they subscribe to either or. I mean some transgendered may be non-binary but I feel as though that’s a bit contradictory. Also do any of us fully subscribe to our gender roles. Are gender roles even as significant as they were back in the day? Do girls still like pink and boys, blue? All I was hearing from the non-binary people I have listened to was that they still believe these stereotypes exist and don’t want to be associated with either one. Yes they do exist but let’s not try and make it out like it’s more than it actually is. Besides only because you don’t conform to either gender, people are still going to see you as male or female. If you feel as though you’r e neither then that’s fine but just accept that it is a narrative that not everyone can support. An argument made in support of non-binary people was that “why should it affect us how someone else identifies?” Which is kind of an outrageous statement when these same people are calling for us to change our language. But as I said, if you want to identify as a male, female, non-binary, 2 spirit person, polygender, that is fine but the reality is that the majority of us will still see you as either male or female. Also all this talk about gender being a social construct is bogus. Males peeing at least 2 urinals from another male is a social construct, gender is based on sex which is just scientific facts. Also let’s not blow this out of proportion it is only a small minority of people who identify as something other than male or female. I haven’t in my 22 years of life met someone who was gender fluid. So is there really need for a change when this is the case? Plus I feel as though there are much more pressing issues to be concerned rather than worrying about whether you identify as genderqueer or pangender. Just be you, as long as you love yourself and those around you, you can be an iguana for all I care. But as always what do I know? This is wholly my opinion and something that I’ve thought about a lot recently. I would love to know what you guys think so let me know, I’ve enjoyed hearing both sides of the debate.