Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Marquette’s English Department: Gender Neutral Pronouns

It’s the latest politically correct fashion, as explained by The Atlantic Citylab:
While younger generations and progressive companies like Facebook are more likely to embrace the fact that gender is not dichotomous, older generations and slow-changing institutions—such as K-12 schools and prisons—still have catching up to do. For those who don’t identify with the gender marker assigned to them at birth and don’t want to be pinned down by binary labels, the moves made by Harvard and UVM are a good first step.

With lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) folks fighting for more social and legal recognition, the restrictive options of “he” and “she” don’t cut it anymore. The singular “they” is one gender-neutral option, but some people just can’t get used to how grammatically unfamiliar it sounds in sentences like “Riley thought they would be late.”
That same article gives some examples of how to use gender neutral pronouns.

Nominative (subject) Objective (object) Possessive determiner Possessive Pronoun Reflexive
Invented pronouns
Ne Ne laughed I called nem Nir eyes gleam That is nirs Ne likes nemself
Ve Ve laughed I called ver Vis eyes gleam That is vis Ve likes verself
Spivak Ey laughed I called em Eir eyes gleam That is eirs Ey likes
emself
Ze (or zie) and hir Ze laughed I called hir Hir eyes gleam That is hirs Ze likes hirself
Ze (or zie) and zir Ze laughed I called zir Zir eyes gleam That is zirs Ze likes zirself
Xe Xe laughed I called xem Xyr eyes gleam That is xyrs Xe likes xemself


That’s right. Politically correct types actually expect people to talk like that.

Would something this crazy come to Marquette? Of course. We cannot expect Marquette to resist any trendy notion that is being adopted elsewhere in academia, and one of the places that is most politically correct at Marquette is the English Department.

From an Arts & Science College mailing to all faculty dated January 19, 2016:

Department of English job talk series (Spring 2016)

Name
Job talk
Title
1
Kantor, Roanne
Ro-Ann Can-ter
Pronoun: She/hers
(Anglophone)
Th 1/21
3:30-4:50
LL 296
“‘Even if You Gain the World’: The Twining Routes of Latin American and South Asian Authors.”
2
Edoro, Ainehi
/aɪnehi/
Pronoun: She
(Anglophone)
M 1/25
3:30-4:50
MH 105
“Achebe’s Signature: African Literary Archive and the Ancestral Principle.”
3
Bronstein, Michaela
mih-KAY-luh BRAWN-steen
Pronoun: feminine
(Anglophone)
W 1/27
3:30-4:50
MH 105
“The Revolutionary Tradition: Authorship and Assassination from Russia to South Africa.”
4
Grohowski, Mariana
Mary-anna 
Preferred pronouns: She, Her (RhetComp)
Th 1/28
3:30-4:50
LL 296
“Understanding Current, Former, and Future Military Personnel’s Rhetorical Practices.”
5
Campbell, Lilly
- l IH - l ee   k AE m - b uh l
Pronoun: she
(RhetComp)
M 2/1
3:30-4:50
MH 105
“Embodied Genre Learning in Clinical Nursing Simulations.”
6
Sanchez, Fernando
fur-NAN-doe
Preferred pronouns: him, his, and he
(RhetComp)
W 2/3
3:30-4:50
MH 105
“Multimodal Composition in Urban Design.”
7
Angeli, Liz
ændʒəli: (it’s like “Angela” except with lee” at the end)
Pronoun: she, her, hers (RhetComp)
Th 2/4
3:30-4:50
LL 296
“Dispatched and Responding: Rhetorical Work in Emergency Medical Services.”
8
Patterson, G
G (“gee”) or GPat (“gee-pat”)
Pronouns: They/Them or Ze/Zir
(RhetComp)
M 2/8
3:30-4:50
MH 105
“Negotiating Difficult Dialogues at the LGBTQ-Religious Junction.”
9
Martinez, Aja
“Asia”
Pronoun: Her/she
(RhetComp)
W 2/10
3:30-4:50
MH 105
“Counterstory: The Writing and Rhetoric of Critical Race Theory”

Of course, almost all the people on the program are happy with the traditional pronouns. But a certain “G Patterson” wants to be “They/Them” even though he or she (or whatever) is just one person. Or even worse “Ze/Zir.”

Why Not?

So why not simply call people what they want to be called? Isn’t that just polite?

In the first place, it puts a huge burden on everybody in society to learn how each and every person wants to be addressed. Referring to a female-looking person as “she” can become a social gaffe. Using “Ze” sounds downright bizarre.

But Worse

Far worse is that demands to use gender neutral language are an attempt to bully society into accepting a particular idea about gender: that people are not either male or female. Pope Benedict has roundly condemned this view. He says of Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim:
He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed.
Pope Francis takes the same view. According to the National Catholic Reporter:
Pope Francis has strongly criticized modern theories that consider people’s gender identities to exist along a spectrum, saying such theories do not “recognize the order of creation.”

Speaking of gender theory in an interview in a new book released in Italy, the pope even compares such theories to genetic manipulation and nuclear weapons.

Gender theory is a broad term for an academic school of thought that considers how people learn to identify themselves sexually and how they may become typed into certain roles based on societal expectations.

“God has placed man and woman at the summit of creation and has entrusted them with the earth,” Francis says. “The design of the Creator is written in nature.”

More

Another hotbed of political correctness is the Center for Gender and Sexualities Studies. Yes, they specify the pronouns to be used of each staffer. And all of the staff are happy to be called “she.”

But how long will it be at Marquette until somebody is accused of a microaggression, or even harassment for calling somebody “she” or “he” when the person wants to be called “Ze.”

At a university that quickly embraces every politically correct fad — notwithstanding that it is flatly at odds with Catholic teaching — not very long.

Update

A search of the Marquette website shows that this is (so far) an isolated case. Looking for “zirself” and “Xyr” and “zir” and “eirs” turns up no relevant hits. But given Marquette’s pattern of adopting every politically correct initiative trending anywhere else in academia, you can expect this to change.

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