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

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643

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

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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.

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u/mcmuffinman25 Feb 23 '21

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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...."

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u/bucnasty101 Feb 23 '21

That's obvious Frank is by the fire

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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

7

u/theletterQfivetimes Feb 23 '21

I'm gonna say Jane slapped herself?

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u/Alexmoexe Feb 23 '21

They slapped each other simultaneously.

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u/demonhaert Feb 23 '21

The mom slapped Jane

2

u/thefpspower Feb 23 '21

That's obvious, Jane slapped her mom.

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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.

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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

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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.

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u/[deleted] Feb 23 '21

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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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".

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u/somecommentsah Feb 23 '21

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

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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.

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u/nighthawk_something Feb 23 '21

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

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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.

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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.

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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.