Telling others your pronouns is one of the most civilized advances in recent memory. It makes spaces safer. And it also makes me so much more comfortable.
Fuck Pronouns Altogether!
I’m getting very used to the idea of use they, them, their for everyone. Why do we need gender-specific pronouns at all?
If you’re a grammar-patrol person, I am aware it’s substituting plural pronouns for a singular person. I’ve grown accustomed to it. And I’m pretty certain the grammar rules will change to allow this (if they already haven’t).
A while ago, I was creating a survey. It was associated with a knitting skills proficiency database I was trying to create.
Is It Relevant Anymore?
Having worked for the premier surveying company, Gallup, I just automatically added “Sex” as one of the questions to the survey. I was thinking it might be useful to show results based on a person’s sex. But I didn’t know how to ask the question. Male, Female, Other, Prefer Not To Say? Non-Binary? Cis? Trans? I wanted the question to be as safe and inclusive as I could make it.
So I asked the hive mind on social media. What’s the best way to ask this?
Many responded with great advice. And that advice was a question. Do you really need to ask? Is it relevant? Why do you need to know?
That’s all I needed to remove the question from the survey.
Fast-forward to a few days ago. I was watching an interview with someone who announced their pronouns as “she, her, hers, they, them, their” and they would respond to them interchangeably. It was very liberating to have the option of not associating sex with a pronoun.
Yes, gender-non-specific pronouns aren’t as exact. Pointing to a man in a group of people and saying “him” is more clear than saying “them”. The term “them” in this situation could be the group, a subset of the group or any one person in the group. But honestly, we’ve gotten used to grammatical work-arounds for not have a plural of “you.”
In the past few years, I’ve been trying to use they/them/their whenever I don’t know the person.
And don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to call you by any pronoun you want.
But I’ll be a lot happier when we eliminate gender-specific-pronouns altogether.
Additional progress on the Linen Stitch Lengthwise Scarf.
Anyone who’s ever done Linen Stitch knows how slowly it grows. I’ve been really busy with the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat, but I’ve still done a TON of work on this scarf (despite all appearances).
Two things I really like about this scarf. The pebbly, reverse side of the scarf is almost as nice as the “right side.”
And the i-cord selvedge edge is a really nice finish.
I’ll be using that edge on a lot more of my knitting.
9 comments on “Pronouns”
Yes!! I love they. When I realized we use “you” for both plural and singular that really helped my grammar mind. I love that you can use it for babies, too. No more awkward asking if IT is a “boy” or a “girl?” Instead we can say “Oh, aren’t they adorable in their hand knit sweater? Is that Handspun?!”
Interestingly, the lack of singular/plural “you” eased my grammar mind a lot as well. And your example of the awkwardness of “baby it” is a perfect one! Including your sentence example that might well be a common statement for our people.
Couldn’t agree with you more about pronouns.
I’m very fond of the colors in this scarf, and lately I’ve also become fond of I-cord selvedges and have been using them more often.
Sounds like you and I are twinsies on both these things. I’m find the color combination incredibly rich and the i-cord selvedges have become my new normal for many of the craft show garments I knit now.
How about going completely neutral and going to words more like thee, thou, thine, etc.? I’ve seen proposals for going to new genderless pronouns. I personally like the idea.
hmmmm…thee, thou, thine wouldn’t be my preferred choice, just because it seems to have too much connection to organized religion. But it does have singular and plural version which would be clearer.
I’d be glad to use these pronoun if that’s what it took to rid us of the gendered versions.
I’d love to see genderless pronouns used exclusively, but I sure do wish that we’d come up with something other than the plural version when discussing an individual. I’ve adapted to it when I *know* it’s referring to only one person, or many people, , but I find it confusing when I don’t know that from the start. Very briefly in the early 70’s I remember a movement to use co as the singular genderless pronoun, but, alas, it was never widely adopted. A quick Google search tells me that all of the following have also been proffered as alternatives: hong, tey, xe, te, ey, per, ve, hu, ze, zhe, sie, yo, peh, sey, and fae but none have stuck, more’s the pity.
As a New Yorker I feel I need to add:
Example: Look at dem posting comments on Queer Joe about pronouns.
Example: Dese conversations about pronouns make me realize how important language is for inclusivity.
Example: I will take dose gender neutral pronouns any day.
You know what- fuggedaboutit!
I’m a middle school English teacher, and I join you in looking forward to the day we do away with gender pronouns altogether. Gender pronouns force us to make assumptions, and assumptions are often wrong. Especially when dealing with middle school students who often are trying on different identities.