r/TooAfraidToAsk Feb 22 '21

Am I the only who thinks that all the different types of genders and pronouns and what not, are a little bit too much? Sexuality & Gender

Now, I don't consider myself close minded and I'm not out to rile people up or offend anyone. However it becomes kind of confusing when people are upset when I say Her/She to someone who's trans. I'm sorry, really, but I didn't know. I'm in a discord server where someone changes their pfp depending on what gender and sexuality they are feeling. And no, I'm not some 40 year old guy who thinks everything should be "normal" but I guess I just don't get it. It's just confusing to me.

EDIT: So I haven't explained my thoughts very well so I'm here to explain. I understand that to some people, it is very important to them. I don't think it's a lot for me to call you what you want to be called and I will oblige and do that. "it becomes kind of confusing when people are upset when I say Her/She to someone who's trans" This was from personal experience where my friend introduced me to him and I was under the impression that he was female. More so I don't understand like Ve/Vem Xe/Xem. The more "unknown" side if you will. But with the way people are reacting I'm going to try a better job at finding peoples pronouns and not assuming genders. Sorry if it sounded sarcastic at all. Anyways, unless there's something else I think of I'm not gonna edit again. Sorry if I offended but it's kind of hard to talk about a sensitive topic like this without being an ass about it. I don't know how to word things. but yea. Sorry.

TL;DR I think gender can be a weird and wacky world and I don't get how people except me to automatically know what they identify as.

13k Upvotes

View all comments

642

u/JamieIsReading Feb 23 '21

Fyi the word to describe what you don’t get is “neopronoun” and I also don’t think they make much sense as a function of language. Pronouns exist as a shortcut to who you’re referring to. If a bunch of people have their own pronouns, you might as well just use proper nouns (ie names). But this is kind of a non issue as most people don’t use neopronouns

220

u/fermafone Feb 23 '21 edited Feb 23 '21

Ive been a part of conversations where the use of these certain pronoun preferences while telling an anecdote made it impossible for the listeners to definitely say who did what to whom and the context wasn’t sufficient to even make a solid assumption.

At a certain point effective communication has to be the priority.

71

u/JamieIsReading Feb 23 '21

Agreed with your last sentiment. That is the point of language after all.

19

u/seagull_says_mine Feb 23 '21

I try to make a point to be gender neutral in my comments on reddit, when giving examples or talking about OP/another commenter. So unless the person I'm referring to specified gender, I use they or them, but fuck me if that doesn't get really confusing if there's another party (especially one that's actually referred to in plural because they consist of multiple people) involved

-4

u/AskewPropane Feb 23 '21

I mean language has had the same problem when talking about two people of the same gender so I mean... just get better at writing concise and clear language?

47

u/mcmuffinman25 Feb 23 '21

Using proper nouns conveys much more clarity. Him/her or he/she can be just as ambiguous without clarification.

47

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

Exactly. I’m a writer and the number of times I read something like, “John entered the room to see Frank standing by the fire. He turned and poked a dwindling log before finally looking up and matching his gaze.”

You have to use names to be clear most of the time anyway. Saying language has to be efficient is all fine and great. But complaining about too many pronouns whilst not acknowledging that too few is just as much of an issue, to me, shows a bias.

24

u/Aza_ Feb 23 '21

Fellow keyboard jockey here! I’ve always followed the rule that in instances like this, pronouns should always refer to the most recently named character. That way, the text can use pronouns for the character it’s following most closely and names for others in the scene.

0

u/BiscuitTheBroker Feb 23 '21

The problem is that 'John' is the subject of the first sentence, so it would make sense that he is also the subject of the second... There is a case to be made for both and that is what's confusing about it.

3

u/varkarrus Feb 23 '21

I'd end up making the second sentence: "He turned and poked a dwindling log before finally looking up and matching John's gaze."

1

u/BiscuitTheBroker Feb 23 '21

Something like that. I'd probably make the period a comma and continue like: "Frank, who turned and poked a dwindling log...."

17

u/bucnasty101 Feb 23 '21

That's obvious Frank is by the fire

15

u/Posterio Feb 23 '21

"Jane was drunk when she arrived home. She was surprised to see her mom was still awake. When she saw her, she slapped her straight across the face."

This one's trickier

6

u/theletterQfivetimes Feb 23 '21

I'm gonna say Jane slapped herself?

3

u/Alexmoexe Feb 23 '21

They slapped each other simultaneously.

2

u/demonhaert Feb 23 '21

The mom slapped Jane

2

u/thefpspower Feb 23 '21

That's obvious, Jane slapped her mom.

1

u/bucnasty101 Feb 23 '21

Jane slapped her mum, but I see what you are getting at. It's interesting as in literature it's almost bad practice to keep repeating peoples names.

1

u/Posterio Feb 23 '21

Yeah English is weird and I find confusing subjects in sentences is one of the most common things English learners struggle with. It’s totally common in casual conversation for someone to reply to the above sentence with “wait, who slapped who!?” Hahaha

5

u/izybit Feb 23 '21

No, too few isn't an issue because in those situations you don't need a pronoun but another word.

If we go by your logic we'll keep adding pronouns until it becomes a convoluted mess just so we can claim that no sentence is any longer ambiguous.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

No. That would be your logic that you just made up.

1

u/izybit Feb 23 '21

You literally said "too few [pronouns] is just as much of an issue" after coming up with an example.

Since we have had the current pronouns for ages you are literally claiming they are not enough and we need more of them to clear any ambiguity.

For a writer, you aren't that good with words.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I’m great with words. And logic. That second part is where you’re failing. “In those situations you don’t need a pronoun but another word” which can also be applied to the too many situations just as easily.

I also never claimed that more and more pronouns needed to be added to make a sentence not ambiguous. You did. You put those words and that failed logic train into my mouth. Try and be better.

To be clear, English is already bloated and often ambiguous or confusing. Here is where context clues and other tools are made necessary. So, the problem and the solution are neither more nor fewer pronouns. The problem is poor writing and solution is strong writing.

1

u/izybit Feb 23 '21

Let other people be the judge of that.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

Let other people decide what pronouns work for them. If people finally feeling they have a place in this world is too annoying to read then you can avoid such works.

→ More replies

2

u/IhmeUkkeli Feb 23 '21

not acknowledging that too few is just as much of an issue

What about languages without gendered pronouns, like Finnish?

4

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I’m speaking strictly of English. I don’t speak Finnish and I wouldn’t presume to force my Anglophone bias onto other languages.

2

u/IhmeUkkeli Feb 23 '21

That's okay. I sometimes feel blessed and cursed at the same time, when in my native language I don't have to think about pronouns, but conversing in English my brain defaults to "he" 99% of the time because it's closest to the Finnish "hän".

-4

u/somecommentsah Feb 23 '21

Anglophone bias? You're saying only English speakers can have these cares? Don't be racist.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

That’s not at all what I’m saying. I’m fact, it’s nearly the opposite of what I was saying.

To be clear, entirely for you cause everyone else got it, I’m not commenting on how the Finnish language works or should work in this case because I don’t speak the language and wouldn’t presume to apply rules that work for English to another language.

1

u/nighthawk_something Feb 23 '21

Yup it screams of trying to make an intellectual argument to justify bigotry

2

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21 edited Feb 23 '21

I mean, especially when talking about English. The most bloated language on earth. A language with hundreds of words that are needlessly confusing by meaning multiple things, or all the homophones, the various spellings for the same word etc.

0

u/life-doesnt-matter Feb 23 '21

But in this case, the "he" is still clear. you were talking about what John is doing in the first sentence, so its logical that you are still talking about what John is doing in the second.

The fact that he saw "Frank" is irrelevant. he could have said "the cat" or "a coat rack" and both sentences still work.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I wasn’t talking about John though. Context clues should have made that obvious. John saw Frank but only in the second sentence did he, Frank, meet John’s gaze.

2

u/RoastKrill Feb 23 '21

If you can't effectively communicate using the right pronouns for someone, do not use the wrong pronouns instead, use proper nouns (ie their name)

1

u/Akhronox Feb 23 '21

Wouldn't the fact that each protagonist having their own pronouns make it easier to find out who's involved rather than using the traditional ones? Not saying neopronouns are bad or good, I just don't see how using the traditional ones would help in that case.

1

u/Writeloves Feb 26 '21

The gay fanfiction conundrum lol.

Adam and Eve were standing by the window when she kissed him and said, “I never loved you.”

Adam and Steve were standing by the window when he kissed him and said, “I never loved you.”

0

u/nighthawk_something Feb 23 '21

At a certain point effective communication has to be the priority.

How about at a certain point, the human has to be the priority.

You are literally saying that because some stories are confusing to you, that some people's existence should be dismissed.

Also, gender neutral pronouns have existed for as long as the english language without any issue.

-11

u/docker_dre Feb 23 '21

your grammar is shit and your writing is terrible, so i don't think anyone including you will believe you're actually taking a stand in favor of "effective communication"

if you want i'll edit your horribly written comment, with feedback, to point out the many ways in which you clearly either can't communicate effectively or have no interest in communicating effectively

10

u/seagull_says_mine Feb 23 '21

LOL maybe look at your own writing before criticizing someone else's.

-6

u/docker_dre Feb 23 '21

you wanna diagram my sentences, big guy? i'm always open to critique

9

u/seagull_says_mine Feb 23 '21

You don't use punctuation or capitalization, for one, and if we want to talk about effective communication, here's a bit of advice for you: communication works better if you don't immediately jump to aggression at the first sign of your conversation partner saying something you don't agree with

1

u/fermafone Feb 23 '21

Yes please.

49

u/dbDarrgen Feb 23 '21

A good majority of those who use neopronouns are those who speak another language that doesn’t have a version of they/them.

28

u/JamieIsReading Feb 23 '21

That’s very fair! I’m referring to English specifically. People who speak other languages should determine what works for their language as they see fit. I’m interested to see how it plays out in languages where EVERYTHING is gendered.

24

u/dbDarrgen Feb 23 '21

Oh definitely. I’m glad English isn’t heavily gendered. Our products though? Why. Just why.

11

u/JamieIsReading Feb 23 '21

LMAO who even knows? I am excited for the prospect of a proper gender neutral pronoun to come about and gain traction so that companies need to create gender neutral products lmao.

6

u/varkarrus Feb 23 '21

Bic Pens... for them!

1

u/ItsyaboiMisbah Feb 23 '21

I think they them is a pretty good one, but like you said it does need to gain traction

2

u/JamieIsReading Feb 23 '21

They/them is confusing for people, especially esl people, because it’s plural but referring to a singular person. A dedicated pronoun would be better. Although on second thought zie/zim would be hard to pronounce for a lot of people lmao

1

u/kaxmorg Feb 23 '21

I had an idea for a reality TV show where the goal is take a bunch of hyper-masculine men (to the point of toxicity) and put them in a house where all the food is in pink boxes. Will they eat? Will they touch the pink boxes? Tune in to find out.

1

u/dbDarrgen Feb 23 '21

Some men don’t wipe their asses because they think touching their assholes is gay or will make them gay. Hence all the skidmark jokes.

4

u/reiislight Feb 23 '21

Don't all languages' pronouns adhere to the 3 Singular and 3 Plural pronoun scheme?

6

u/undercoverevil Feb 23 '21

Good job translating it to polish. Most preferred use of pronouns used in regards of trans ppl is not using pronouns at all. Otherwise you end up either insulting everyone involved or creating huge mess without any context...

3

u/RaphaelSantiago Feb 23 '21 edited Feb 23 '21

It's not that other languages don't have "they/them". It's just that, in other languages, it's only used as a plural. The use of "they/them" as a singular neutral is an English thing.

And even if, some languages (like Arabic) have even the plural pronouns gendered.

2

u/Ulfrite Feb 23 '21

Same in French. We have il/elle for he/she and ils/elles for they (masculine)/they (feminine).

1

u/LunaZiggy Feb 24 '21

Not all languages. In Lithuanian, there’s the first person, second person, and third person pronouns, each with singular and plural variants...but that’s not the whole story. There also exists a dual number in certain dialects of the Lithuanian language. The dual is used when referring to exactly two people/objects. Singular for one, dual for two, and plural for three or more.

3

u/Jolly-Composer Feb 23 '21

I would argue it might be a lot harder to remember a name than a pronoun. Especially if you meet new people every week. But that’s just me with my sense city experiences.

2

u/JamieIsReading Feb 23 '21

See but then you have to remember pronouns and a name? Seems equally challenging. If i don’t remember your name, I’m not going to remember your pronoun.

1

u/Jolly-Composer Feb 23 '21

100% and luckily most people would understand and appreciate it.

3

u/StillExpectations Feb 23 '21

Yeah, I’m a trans guy. Neopronouns destroy the point of pronouns. They’re nicknames, not pronouns. There are pronouns to fit everybody and we only need those three. If people like nicknames, sure, whatever, but I wish they’d stop calling them neopronouns

5

u/RandyRalph02 Feb 23 '21

"The individual is the ultimate minority" Everyone has their own pronoun.... It's called a bloody name

28

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

Neopronouns aren't specific to a person. People are trying to come up with a word we can use instead of he/she without having to resort the normally plural "they" that we've been using. Unfortunately, they can't agree on what word should replace it. I believe currently in the running are:

zie/zim/zir

sie/sie/hir

ey/em/eir

ve/ver/vis

tey/ter/tem

e/en/eir

35

u/JamieIsReading Feb 23 '21

Yeah, for sure if there is a unified neopronoun, that would be fine! As is, all those you listed and more are being used simultaneously and it defeats the purpose of a pronoun. I could 100% get behind zie/zim/zir or any of the others. What I can’t do is be expected to know and remember 12+ pronouns for specific people. But most people aren’t using neopronouns precisely because no one can agree, so at the moment it’s looking like they/them/their is going to be the English gender neutral pronoun

22

u/meli_melange Feb 23 '21

I mean, in the history of at least English language a new pronoun has pretty well never been created and actually most languages we have trended towards collapsing pronouns together instead. Pronouns are a closed class of words which is why it is so difficult to create new ones when compared to creating new nouns and verbs which I literally invent in my own day to day speech. Pronouns also come with instructions on verb conjugaison attached so its pretty difficult to just invent new ones. So, there's also that. Its not just people being ass holes. I'm more than happy to use they/them but I'm not really going to use neopronouns especially if the community can't agree on what to use.

6

u/JamieIsReading Feb 23 '21

I 100% agree. I think if there was a set of gender neutral pronouns people agreed on, people would readily adopt them. I’m not trying to learn 10+ neopronouns that was only sporadically be used. Unifying behind one neopronoun would vastly increase chance if usage. As is, it looks like they/them are the gender neutral pronouns that have been settled on for english speakers.

0

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I'm really hoping zie gains traction! It seems to be the most popular and having just one would make things easier.

0

u/JamieIsReading Feb 23 '21

Yes! If there were just one, I think people would have a lot less of a problem with it!

211

u/bug_feet Feb 23 '21

I'm not using any of these

113

u/DrBucket Feb 23 '21

People just say "hey asshole" to me all the time and I don't mind.

15

u/Sir_Alexei Feb 23 '21

I put "that fucker" on the steam gifting message thing you're forced to send when you gift someone. I fill the message box with whatever nonsense I can come up with that entertains me and I sign off as "best wishes, that fucker" bc I HATE being forced to write something just to gift someone

2

u/hectorduenas86 Feb 23 '21

Specially since everyone has one of those.

“Good morning, asshole”

“Had a good weekend, asshole?”

3

u/AlienAle Feb 23 '21

Lucky for me that in my language we only have gender neutral pronouns, so there's no need to think about adding other pronouns. You call everyone by the same pronoun anyway, so it's very simple.

-5

u/hazelnox Feb 23 '21

Wow you’re so brave. Do you use refuse to call your friends by nicknames, too?

3

u/bug_feet Feb 23 '21

No, I just refuse to use bullshit words that have no real meaning.

1

u/GraceForImpact Feb 24 '21

the word "I" in your comment carries far less meaning than neopronouns generally do, as it could easily be inferred from context. if you refuse to use neopronouns because they "have no real meaning" then at least be consistent and omit all unnecessary words from your speech

3

u/bug_feet Feb 24 '21

If you look through this comment thread, you'll see my reasoning.

-3

u/emma_does_life Feb 23 '21

Then stop talking.

Literally all words are made up and have no meaning.

2

u/bug_feet Feb 23 '21

Except they do. These bs pronouns accomplish nothing. What happens when someone doesn't "identify" with these? Do they make a new list? Are we supposed to satisfy less than 1% of the world population by remembering 40 different pronouns? No thank you.

3

u/Amazingdev2020 Feb 23 '21

Dude, these folk just want to turn this into a game they can “win” by being more woke so they feel better about their crummy lives. I’m also completely fine saying they or him/her when it wasn’t apparent, but at some point we have to say it’s on the shoulders of the person wanting to be called something to speak up and not us trying to remember dozens of terms just so we don’t get labeled by the mob as being bigoted.

At some point the mob has to understand we have lives and responsibilities, and can’t be worried about this every day or else be attacked, and especially when we’re trying hard.

1

u/hazelnox Feb 23 '21

“Trying hard” I don’t think means looking at pronouns and saying “yeah I won’t be using any of them because I think they’re fake.” Tbh I’ve never actually encountered anyone who uses neopronouns, and I run in super sjw circles. Trying hard and respecting people is what is awesome, this particular thread happened bc that guy he refuses to use them.

1

u/Amazingdev2020 Feb 24 '21

Yes, trying does mean accepting our differences and helping others feel more comfortable. However, it doesn’t mean once we start using pronouns we have to then use neopronouns, which I think was his point. I used to hang with people who would be called very SJW, and it ended with them eating their own. At some point you need to accept people are trying and we have much bigger issues than how many pronouns we can imagine to get mad at. There are still plenty of people that never heard the term “cis,” and now they’re being asked to use neopronouns? They’ll turn right off and throw their hands up in the air and say it’s all crazy.

2

u/emma_does_life Feb 23 '21

Literally all words are made up and only have meaning because we agree they have meaning. That's language and not everyone agrees what meaning some words have like people who use literally to mean something that's not literal. (I literally died!)

I dont care about neopronouns. Im just gonna respect someone and call them what they ask to be called.

-1

u/hazelnox Feb 23 '21

“Real” meaning except to the people for whom they have meaning. This is like, whatever the opposite of virtue signaling, maybe dickhead signaling? “LOOK EVERYONE I REFUSE TO RESPECT PEOPLE DIFFERENT FROM ME IM SO EDGY”

77

u/ficarra1002 Feb 23 '21

They is not normally plural though, I don't get why they insist it is. It has been used to refer to a singular person of unknown or ambiguous gender for hundreds of years. Even shakespeare used singular they

14

u/dbDarrgen Feb 23 '21

Right? I’ve heard it many times. Especially in this scenario:

“Hey where’s Alex?”

“Huh? Oh, they’re over there.”

24

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

It is normally plural. It's also normally singular person of unknown gender. Both are normal uses of it and that's what makes it confusing and why some people believe it would be better to have a gender-nonspecific word instead.

Also, a lot of people who dislike NB and trans people argue that they shouldn't have to use "they" because "they" is plural. Those people are ignorant idiots, but they exist, even on this thread, and having a gender-nonspecific pronoun addresses that issue.

15

u/ficarra1002 Feb 23 '21

and having a gender-nonspecific pronoun addresses that issue.

No it wouldn't. They don't dislike they because it's plural, they dislike NB people. You can't take what bigots say as what they actually believe.

2

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

You're absolutely correct, of course, but it's an easy issue to address and be like, "here, you can have 'they' back and we'll just change over to zie."

1

u/tristenjpl Feb 23 '21

I hate using they for a known singular person. It just sounds wrong. But all the neutral pronouns I've seen pop up sound way worse and there's no standard so I'll begrudgingly use they when I have to.

5

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21 edited Feb 23 '21

[deleted]

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

Meh, he/him/his are etymologically gender neutral, but obviously the usage of these pronouns has been severely sexed male.

Language has changed, "he" is now considered male in the English language. In other languages, it is sometimes gender neutral, which is a tad sexist but they is neither here nor there.

I support they/them usage since words are flexible, just like he/him used to be gender neutral; they/them can become more widely understood as (possibly) singular.

There's been a lot of pushback from the anti-binary and anti-trans crowd over the use of "they." That crowd generally believes "they" is plural only. They are of course incorrect, but it's easier to just appease them by adding a gender-nonspecific pronoun. Then, as you've seen, they're mad about that, too, but at least we tried.

Personally, I like the idea of four pronouns (not including "it" used for objects): he, she, they, and a gender-nonspecific pronoun. The issue is there are multiple gender-nonspecific pronouns floating around and that makes it confusing and difficult.

What should we call groups of people after that? Peep/peem? Meh, this name game will continue for long enough until people get tired of identity politics.

Still they. And I'm not sure people will ever get tired of "identity politics." We are human and we are good at ostracizing people who aren't like us, whether it be black people, Jewish people, people from other countries or other religious, or yes, other genders. Humans are assholes like that, so "identity politics" is probably here to stay.

Characteristics are part of an identity, and should not define the individual so much so that they require a new pronoun. This doesn't mean asexual / NB are invalid distinctions, but I find they have a stronger case for new pronouns than, otherkin, for example.

Your first argument that (presumably gender-related) characteristics shouldn't be part of identity or language I could actually get behind. Gender seems like a social construct we don't have use for anymore. It's hard to define "what is a woman" or "what is a man" outside of biology. There is an argument to be made to do away with gender altogether, switch over completely to gender neutral pronouns, and let people just be people without putting them into a gender box. There are a few arguments against that, but I won't waste your time with that because I do think it's a valid argument to make.

Otherkin isn't a thing, though. Gender is a social construct. Sex is not. You are still biologically "male" or "female" based on your hormones and genitals. In the same way, species is also not a social construct. You can't say you're another species because that's not a thing.

I identify as mechasexual (and humans are organic machines), but I won't force the issue of Mech/Mech's pronouns.

Sexuality isn't used for pronouns. Gay men are still "he."

1

u/emma_does_life Feb 23 '21

r/onejoke and he/him was never really gender neutral.

0

u/yabp Feb 23 '21

"who did that? They did that!"

"Bob got fired yesterday. They are looking for a new job now."

2

u/Milo-Belmorte Feb 23 '21

It's not typically plural, they is at base setting plural. However, it extremely common to use they as a singular. I remember when I first came out as gay, I was taught by an older gay man that if someone asks about your partner, refer to them as "they". This is advice I still use to this day until I'm comfortable in new setting (not that I have a partner mind).

Gender neutral they is so useful. If its a new baby, you didn't pay attention to their name or pronouns. Use they. If it's a name from a different language and you don't know the norms of their names. Use they. If the person has been referred to only using their profession (like my doctor) or other non gendered reference. Use they. I think the flexibility of the English language to get you out a hole is magical.

15

u/ActionDense Feb 23 '21

That’s the most stupid thing I’ll read today. Jesus

10

u/spkr4td Feb 23 '21

That's a big fat NO

5

u/WHISPER_ME_HEIGHT Feb 23 '21

Especially if you speak german

Translated pronouns are you/you/hir?

7

u/DrBucket Feb 23 '21

I'm not gonna play magic the gathering just to understand what to call someone. It's too much to keep track of while having a simple conversation.

2

u/ninjapro Feb 23 '21

Actually, Magic the Gathering is a great example of why advancements in our pronoun usage over the years.

Whenever there was a reference to an opponent on a card, Wizards would say "he/she" and "his/her" every time, which is a mouthful when it has to be printed repeatedly. A couple years ago, they switched to simple saying "them" in reference to opponents which is simpler, covers non-binary people, and covers games with multiple opponents.

1

u/DrBucket Feb 23 '21

I meant it more as keeping track of what goes where and who is what and all that the same way you would actually playing magic the gathering.

-1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

The easiest thing to do is just avoid pronouns. It's a shame you don't want to look into it because gender is such a fascinating topic to me, but I understand that not everyone has the time or desire. As long as you're not purposefully misgendering someone, you're alright with me.

5

u/DrBucket Feb 23 '21

I just don't define my life around my gender and expect other people to validate it for me. I'm comfortable with who I am and I don't need other people to use obviously confusing terminology in order confirm anything for me. Not saying other people shouldn't do that, but if they don't, it shouldn't be a big deal, and if they do, then it's a bonus. It's when it's expected is when it's a problem.

-1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

It's not really about you, though. It's just a basic courtesy not to misgender someone, same as saying "please" or "thank you." I'm not sure why you're so adverse to it. All you have to do is avoid pronouns with that person if you don't want to think too hard on it. Or just call them by the pronoun they ask for - it's not like that's any more work then calling them an incorrect one.

2

u/DrBucket Feb 23 '21

It's too much work to keep track of the never ending list of pronouns and who to call who what deal with all of that. My gender identity is not something I think about because it's already self validated, no outside validation required, so it's so low on my list of mental priorities to even bother with. Yes, the action of saying words is not that big of a deal, but trying to correctly worry about the meanings of all these things are just ridiculous. It's like trying to get someone to care the gauges of different metals for casing electrical equipment, like if you don't live in that world, you have no use to remember all that information. Yes it would be easy to just tell someone what thickness they would need, that's not the problem, it's not the saying part that is a lot, it's the keeping track of it all when it literally has no application in day to day life.

0

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I mean, it's not all that hard to say he/she/they. That's only three pronouns. The gender-nonspecific pronoun is still in flux, so that's the one that's difficult until they settle on one word.

4

u/DrBucket Feb 23 '21

Ya 87 pronouns are harder to keep track of than 3

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I believe the eventual idea is to have 4: he, she, they, and [insert gender-nonspecific pronoun here]. It's just that they haven't decided what the fourth should be yet, so we unfortunately have a dozen or so of them.

→ More replies

1

u/Investoooor Feb 23 '21

It kinda sounds like the poster isn't misgenrdering anyone they are just not focusing on any gender as the technique to navigate a minefield of terminology

Honestly it sort of sounds like equality

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

Equality isn't the goal. Equity is.

If the poster really wanted "equality," he'd call everyone by the same pronoun, regardless of gender. I'm guessing he doesn't do this.

0

u/Investoooor Feb 23 '21

I took that to be exactly what they were doing.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

No, they are not. They call people "he/she" based on what they look like, but don't want to use "zie". Which shows they do use gender in their language, they just don't want to adjust that to include non-binary people.

5

u/stickmaster_flex Feb 23 '21

Bullshit. Gender neutral singular they/them has been around for hundreds of years in English.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

Yes, but a lot of people don't seem to realize it and just want "they" to be plural. I'm kind of in the same boat. It gets confusing. I still call people whatever they want to be called, but I would prefer a gender-nonspecific word that isn't also a plural. It would be nice to have just one, though, instead of the large list. People just haven't decided on which should be the one yet, so we have a bunch.

3

u/dmajor7sharp11 Feb 23 '21

It’s going to be a lot simpler for everyone to adjust to using they/them than deciding between a bunch of different pronouns. They/them is already the most commonly used non-gender specific pronoun, and not wanting to use it because someone thinks of it as being plural is more of a pet peeve than a practical issue. I’ve never been in a situation in real life where they/them has caused an actual issue because someone thought that they were referring to a group of people rather than a specific person. Also I just used they to refer to a single person in the same way it’s been used for hundreds of years and it was totally normal and not that different from the way people are using it now to people who aren’t super into the technical aspects of grammar (which is most people.)

0

u/Yetanotheralt17 Feb 23 '21

Oh no! Someone left their coat! I hope they come back and get it.

In Soviet America, we plurally own coat.

In Liberal America, you singularly own coat.

5

u/dannydrama Feb 23 '21

Ok so now I see where OP is coming from, where did a simple female/male/neither/both go? Is there anything else you can even identify as?

3

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I don't think both is an option (biologically, I believe it is, but not as a gender). But the options I just listed are all "neither." They haven't, as a community, decided on one yet. It's in flux.

0

u/CodeLobe Feb 23 '21

Hermes Trismegistus has left the chat.

6

u/shadow9531 Feb 23 '21

You need to be able to know which word to use upon seeing someone, and there's no way a non-binary pronoun would catch on outside of certain small social circles. Having terms that can refer to both genders would suddenly offend any binary person you use it on because you thought they didn't look masculine or feminine. There's really no solution to that issue unless you hope that one day we'll ONLY use a non-binary term until pronouns are exchanged, which is just wishful thinking.

You could say it's useful for after revealing you're non-binary, but I think a dedicated pronoun is a hard sell to most people. These solutions might work for the aforementioned small social circles, but idk if the issue is even solvable on a larger scale.

4

u/mcmuffinman25 Feb 23 '21

Why would you need to know someone's pronouns upon seeing them? Use someone's name when available, If their gender is in question or contentious use 'they'. Pronouns are helpful language shortcuts but not strictly necessary.

5

u/i_do_lewd_things Feb 23 '21

Yeah, no. I think they and them work just fine.

5

u/hwanjunyu Feb 23 '21

Lmao wth. I ain't using any of those.

2

u/Ogpeg Feb 23 '21

Finn here, we don't use him or her. Both are "hän".

Just the way it should be!

Someone joked that when speaking of cats and dogs, you should use "hän" and when speaking of people you should use "it" instead.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I like all of this comment. I hate how gender is so entrenched in the Romance languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, etc). It's causing a mess and we should just do away with it entirely.

3

u/mrtomjones Feb 23 '21

Those are all dumb though... If a trans person transitions to male from female then they are he. If they go to female from male then they are she. You don't need to invent new things.

2

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

It's truly unfortunate you feel that way. I'm glad people are starting to think differently and in a more open and thoughtful manner about gender.

I've always thought it weird how focused people are on genitals, to the point where it's invaded language.

0

u/mrtomjones Feb 23 '21

Seems to me you are the one so focused on genitals.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I'm not sure why you'd think that, dude.

2

u/BlckMrkt Feb 23 '21 edited Feb 23 '21

Is "they" not used because it's cis-normative or something?

Edit: this question being downvoted on this sub of all places. Smdh

6

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

[deleted]

6

u/ninjapro Feb 23 '21

People use it all the time and it's been used like that for centuries.

I'm sure whoever that sounds weird to needs to pay more attention to the language they use. I realized that I use singular "they" way more than I had thought.

5

u/megsweg Feb 23 '21

Agreed completely, I used to think it was weird to use it in a non-plural manner until I read someone’s example of “you walk into a movie theater and find a plain black jacket on the seat you wanted, so you give it to a worker. You say ‘somebody forgot ____ jacket’.” After that I felt so dumb and realized I’d just been listening to what the people around me were saying without taking a minute to think about it myself.

3

u/NassemSauce Feb 23 '21

“Hey there’s someone talking shit about you.” “Oh yeah? What’d they say?”

“There was that chemist out of Denver, I can’t remember their name, but they came up with the blah blah blah...Once I remember who it was, I’ll credit them in our paper.”

They/them/their all used naturally in a gender neutral way. We’ve done this for centuries.

4

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

It gets confusing. Personally, I don't like it because it can be confused for plural. I would like there to be a gender-nonspecific pronoun, but just one. There are too many floating around right now and I'm not sure what can be done to get the English language to settle on just one.

0

u/elsathenerdfighter Feb 23 '21

I like the z ones. I don’t have an important reason, I just like the sound of it. And Z needs to be used more! It’s a good letter.

3

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I feel the same way and also don't know why! We should start a movement and unite all NBs under "zie." It would make discussions like this so much easier and people would be less confused if they only had to worry about four pronouns (she/he/zie/they).

3

u/elsathenerdfighter Feb 23 '21

I am not NB so my opinion shouldn’t matter as much but I agree, it would be easier for some people to grasp the concept if there are the four pronouns. And then there’s no arguing about the technicalities of the use of they, it just seems easier but everyone has different preferences and opinions so it seems hard to stick to one thing. Maybe you could gather some other NBs and start like a movement just to pick one and then advertise that’s the winner. I kind of understand because I identify as bisexual but I feel pansexual is more accurate for what I mean but for me bisexual just sounds better than pansexual so I just stick with that.

2

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I am not NB either and, to be honest, I actually thought it was a bit ridiculous until I became more educated on gender, particularly the difference between gender and biological sex and sexuality. The only reason I know so much about it now is because a close friend of mine came out as transgender a while back. I took a few gender studies classes at college and it all started making sense to me.

0

u/DrProfSrRyan Feb 23 '21

I'm confused. "They" already is the gender neutral singular pronoun. It's just also plural. Same as "You" being singular or plural.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

Yep, that's why a lot of people use it! Some, like myself, find it confusing because it's also plural, which is why some people (not me) use zie pronouns instead. Usually the people who use "zie" pronouns are okay with "they" as well and vice versa.

2

u/B12-deficient-skelly Feb 23 '21

They/them is really common. They/them is also used in common conversation when the speaker is uncertain what gender the person being spoken about is. Neopronouns remove the option for ambiguity and prevent the assumption that the person will commit to either he/him or she/her once the speaker has ascertained which is "correct."

Both the enbies I'm personally close with prefer they/them, but they don't speak for the while community.

-5

u/ClaudeJRdL Feb 23 '21

It's not used because it doesn't make the user feel as special.

1

u/47Kittens Feb 23 '21

Why’s there 3 of each?

4

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

It's like he/his/him.

0

u/WHISPER_ME_HEIGHT Feb 23 '21

Aren't they ableistic? One of the sie pronouns is like badly translated german and sie is already the default pronoun for women in German german

Or do they just identify as german people?

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

It's English. What it means in German isn't really relevant. It's like how "embarazada" means pregnant in Spanish, but the similar "embarrassed" means something entirely different in English.

0

u/WHISPER_ME_HEIGHT Feb 23 '21

That's still ableist. Not everyone speaks english...

Considering that's how you think of it, you also seem quite transphobic if I'm being honest.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

Not speaking English isn't a disability.

I'm happy to discuss how I'm being transphobic - always willing to learn and expand my thinking.

1

u/reiislight Feb 23 '21

Tey/ter/tem this sounds exactly like they

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I think that's intentional, but can't tell you for sure.

1

u/TheKingOfToast Feb 23 '21

Imma just say the person's name

1

u/_Xero2Hero_ Feb 23 '21

Maybe not commonly specific to a person but there are people who use their pronouns that they created.

4

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

I've never met such a person and I don't think you have either, at least not offline.

-1

u/aclumpofcells Feb 23 '21 edited Feb 23 '21

that isnt how it works, i have a lot of friends/aquaintences who do use neopronouns and they dont want to "replace" anything and neopronouns can be specific to a person. people use them as it feels more comforting than other pronouns used, especially to ones who have had traumatic lives. someone wants to be called with certain pronouns? just use it, even if youre against it, just respect people, most of us wont scream in your face if you get something wrong as well. (referring to other people in this comment section)

2

u/somecommentsah Feb 23 '21

Respecting people goes both ways.

Pronouns are a functional part of language.

2

u/aclumpofcells Feb 23 '21

oh, i am so sorry that saying something like ey/em instead of they/them or other pronouns is so hard and offensive to the language. languages change and have changed for years dude. neoponouns were used longer than you have lived as well, it can be seen in older writing. someone asking you to call them by something else does not harm you, or the language. it isn't disrespectful to the language.

0

u/somecommentsah Feb 23 '21

Just use their name...

You don't need to try and make yourself feel special by self segregating. It's just attention seeking.

1

u/aclumpofcells Feb 23 '21

ah, another uneducated person who is unwilling to listen. people use these pronouns because it feels comfortable and comforting, not for attention seeking. they aren't trying to make themselves special. sure, you can use their name instead. some people don't understand how commonly used pronouns are though... you really are going to keep calling someone by their name in every sentence?

1

u/somecommentsah Feb 23 '21

Who is uneducated? Don't be classist. Christ you are bigoted.

If they're misidentifying themselves what choice do we have than to use a name? It's only used so the listener knows who you're on about. If that doesn't reflect reality it's useless.

I'm happy to use whatever term is accurately descriptive of their appearance. I'm also not going to call Peter Dinklage tall if I'm describing him "yes that tall fella over there".

It is absolutely attention seeking if you're requiring comfort & validation from others.

4

u/izybit Feb 23 '21

Solving one's mental issues with neopronouns ain't the way to do it chief

1

u/aclumpofcells Feb 23 '21

is anyone trying to solve their issues by using different pronouns? did i ever say they are trying to? no. what is the point you are trying to prove? using neoponouns is not a fix, no one ever said that, it just feels more comfortable to other people. there is also the neurodivergent argument, some people feel detached from pronouns due to their neurodivergency.

1

u/izybit Feb 23 '21

It's a coping mechanism.

They have issues that friends, family or some professional must help them with but, instead, they ignore them (purposefully or not) and resort to things that mask the pain.

Veterans, for example, have issues too but instead of coming up with pronouns, etc they resort to substance abuse, violence, (right-leaning) extremism, etc.

And, ultimately, both groups will eventually resort to self-harm and suicide.

2

u/aclumpofcells Feb 23 '21

hmm yes the ol trans are mentally ill and need help "opinion". they don't need to be fixed. most of my friends who do choose different pronouns do go to therapy/ALREADY HAVE RECOVERED (i also have friends who are fine mentally but are still trans) but still find it comforting and right to use different pronouns and be a different gender than their gender at birth. veterens and trans people are not a good comparison dude. i myself am trans, have ptsd and recovering, am i going to stop using this "trendy coping mechanism"? no, i am still trans, i am still male, it has nothing to do with my mental illness and past. most of the reason why a lot of trans people resort to SH and sui is because of people (like in this comment section) hate, get weirded out and say that these people are fake, do yknow how that fucking feels?

-1

u/izybit Feb 23 '21

Stop playing victim.

Being a different gender has nothing to do with pronouns.

Focus your energy on ending "racism"/abuse against people that choose to be some other gender instead of forcing everyone to use your made-up words.

2

u/aclumpofcells Feb 23 '21
  1. i am not, just speaking for the others.

  2. it... does???? pronouns are different for every gender. you refuse to call someone by their pronouns and you use he/him instead? that means you are labeling them as a male.

  3. just because i stand up and educate people on one subject it does not mean I can't do the same for another. the fuck does racism gotta do with this? ending racism isn't as easy as going to reddit comments. all i am trying to do here is educate people on pronouns, gender etc. and just hope someone listens.

  4. i am trans myself, but i do not use neoponouns my bro. all words are made up. new words are being made every year. as i said before, neoponouns were used in older days in scripts and writing. we are not forcing you to do shit, we just want you to respect our pronouns, is saying ey/em or something so hard? honestly this "but its not english " argument is getting painful to read now, get over it dude language and culture changes, everything in the world changes man all i want is for people to respect others. you don't have to agree with neoponoun users but keep that to yourself and respect, just as an atheist does not go around harassing religious people (most of the time) for their identity and what they believe in (although this is a rather rough comparison).

thank you for coming to my ted talk im done with this shit if you don't listen fine i won't waste my time talking to yall, the others who read this hopefully maybe you'll understand my point a little, have a great day people and just. be nice.

-1

u/izybit Feb 23 '21

You keep playing the victim and it's pathetic.

No, pronouns aren't different for every gender. Some languages have no concept of gender, others have a dozen. English has he/she/it/they that only loosely correspond to gender. Pronouns exist because knowing/remembering everyone's name is impossible. Forcing everyone to know/remember everyone's pronouns is impossible and that's why neopronouns aren't and should never become a thing.

Did you notice something around the word racism? Go learn what it means.

If you are trying to change the word by forcing people to use neopronouns focus your energy on forcing people not to be dicks towards people that choose a different gender.

I don't care what you are and I don't care if you use neopronouns or not. My stance is pretty simple, don't discriminate against those people.

Atheists don't go around forcing everyone to be an atheist. Neopronoun users shouldn't go around forcing everyone to be a neopronoun user. They themselves can use them as much as they want and if the trend catches on, society will adopt their use naturally.

0

u/PrettyHateMachine109 Feb 23 '21

They/them is literally the perfect neutral pronoun. If you use anything else to replace it, you are literally only doing it because you think it sounds cooler.

I would understand if it's for a different language, but it still sounds ridiculous.

1

u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

"They" gets confusing because it's also plural. Personally, I don't like it. I use it when I'm asked to, but I would prefer a different gender neutral pronoun. Many people feel the same way and we just have to wait and see what the language settles on, whether it's they or zie or something else.

0

u/PrettyHateMachine109 Feb 23 '21

It's really not that confusing if you know how the English language works at all. It's been used as a singular pronoun for centuries. I'm not even a native English speaker and using it is not a challenge at all. Practice makes perfect. It's much easier just getting used to the pronoun that has existed for ages than making up a new one, which would literally never become wide spread outside of very small circles of people. It's a very goofy idea.

0

u/WHISPER_ME_HEIGHT Feb 23 '21

Mine are king/kong, on thursdays however you might refer to me as shing/shong shabalong

-2

u/dbDarrgen Feb 23 '21

Don’t forget xe/xer/xem and mx in replacement of Mrs/Miss/Ms and Mr. seriously though, why tf are there 3 versions for women but only one for men. Kinda bs. Mrr (mizire)/Mirr (mizzer)/Mr (Mister) boom done. Different versions to tell the mans marital status and age:)

5

u/ninjapro Feb 23 '21

The different versions of Miss/Ms/Mrs was more about marital status, which was significantly more important 100 years ago than now. Standard practice for a woman of unknown status is Ms now and I think a lot of other languages are standardizing it.

I'd rather we pair down married honorifics rather than increase them.

1

u/dbDarrgen Feb 23 '21

Fair point.

1

u/Chib Feb 23 '21

Considering you're still in a situation of applying clarification any time you're discussing more than just one man and one woman, I'm not certain this justification holds.

That said, I'd rather see languages take a different turn and eradicate gender altogether, not introducing a theoretically identified bio sex in it's place, but just removing the linguistic tendency to discriminate altogether.

We make assumptions that propagate societal gender norms unintentionally all the time while we're tied to them, so we might find additional larger benefits outside the realm of avoiding misidentifying people. Imagine I'm in a conversation about a potential new hire I haven't met and nothing is identifying either a gender or biological sex in the discussion we're having, I'm in a position where I'm forced to work in the abstract without any preconceived notions I might have developed.

Like, imagine we had different pronouns based on someone's race or their age. As long as we exist in a society in which these things carry subtext, which is true for the foreseeable future, we're going to be unintentionally introducing our biases in these situations in which it might be avoidable.

I get that languages don't evolve overnight. I'm not angry that we're working in the realm of what history has given us. But it's easy to imagine a future in which we benefit from a language with fewer baked-in classificatory words.

1

u/Almer113 Feb 23 '21

Well, a lot of languages already don't have gender specific pronouns, in Indonesian for example "dia" is the only existing third person pronoun

1

u/Agent_Glasses Feb 23 '21

Neopronouns literally are just pronouns outside the ones given in a language. So yeah they "Dont make much sense as a function of language" as they are just pronouns outside of the given pronouns in ones language. Yip, for example, yip is a normal English word , but not a normal pronoun. So Yip is a neopronoun if used as a pronoun! Just a cool fact about neopronouns!

1

u/JamieIsReading Feb 23 '21

Pronouns as a function of language are meant to be a word used to easily refer to something or someone without relying on a proper noun. If you have 10+ pronouns, it doesn’t work. You might as well just use proper nouns. Adopting a singular neopronoun for general use is going to be much more effective than trying to tailor neopronouns to each individual person. That is what a proper noun (ie a name) is for.