Saturday, July 20, 2019

Censoring Gender Pronouns: No Disrespect Intended

Sometimes I just have to sit back and marvel at the level of stupidity some people engage in. Take for instance a recent measure Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson and City Manager, Dee Williams-Riley, introduced on July 16th of this year. The Councilmember proposed eliminating all gender related terms and descriptions. That means no more "he", "she", "him" or "her" pronouns, but wait...there's more.

Also included with the proposal was a list of terms that he wants removed from all government documentation and usage. For instance, terms like "manhole", "policeman", "chairman", and "manpower" are now to become "maintenance cover", "police officer", "chairperson", and "human effort" or "human power". By the way, In some locales, there are proposals to fine you if you don't comply with these changes.

In addition, words like "salesman", "craftsman" and "journeyman" are to be replaced with "salesperson", "craftsperson", and "journeyperson". "Maiden" (as in maiden name) is now going to be "family name", which isn't too bad I suppose. However, "fraternity" and "sorority" are now going to "social group", but if it pertains to college clubs, then it will be "Collegiate Greek system residence". "Heirs" are going to become "beneficiaries" while "watchmen" become "guards", but there's more silliness to come!

"Men and women" are to be removed and replaced with "people". "Master" is now "Skipper", "Captain", or "central". The term "sportsmen" is out. In its place is "hunter" (in California, I'm sure the term "brute" or "animal abuser" can be substituted). Both "sister" and "brother" will become "sibling". Out too will be the use of phrases such as "sir" and "ma'am" which won't play here in the South.

You will be expected to ask beforehand how someone wants to be addresses such as "Mr.", "Mrs.", "Miss" or perhaps "Moon Visitor 12" since undoubtedly someone is not going to want to be limited to the mere two gender roles nature has bestowed on us (I believe we're up to 74 "genders" now). People will be identified by their non-gender specific roles in documents rather than "he" or "she".

I should point out that while this ordinance was introduced in a city council meeting, the notion of using non-gender related terms is spreading to businesses. Signs are being posted asking patrons not to refer to someone as "Sir" or "Miss" or using a gender specific pronoun in calling someone (I suppose adjectives such as "fat son of a bitch" which uses two gender defined terms while "damn bitch", or "lazy bastard", which use one each, are still perfectly acceptable).

Given how tied we are to the commercial world and all the products we buy, some items are going to have to change. For instance, Gordon's Seafood is going to have to lose the beaded fisherman while StarKist Tuna will have to change the name of its mascot, "Charlie" to something gender neutral. I suppose the same will hold for "Uncle Ben" and "Aunt Jemima". "Mr. Clean" will have to become "Gender Free Clean". Gone will be "Mr. Coffee" as well, along with a long list of other gender specific products.

Then there's the matter of entertainment. With today's recycled ideas, particularly comic book heroes, it looks like there needs to be a lot of changes starting with "He-Man", "She-Ra", "Batman", Batgirl", "Wonder Woman", "Superman" and "Supergirl", and "Hellboy". We need to do away with "Ant-man", "Aquaman", the "Scarlet Witch", the "Watchmen", "Ironman", and especially the "X-Men" which is quite gender specific.

However, to their credit, the folks over at Marvel must have seen this coming. They recently took the progressive step of taking one the most uber-macho Norse gods, Thor, who was also a super popular superhero, and turned him into a female. That's right. Odin's son was given a "gender reassignment" by the good folks at Marvel. How well this is going to play remains to be seen, but it's not expected to go over too well. No word yet on Dr. Jane Foster. Meanwhile, we await the introduction of gender neutral and transgendered super heroes.

Of course, if you haven't guessed by now, I'm joking, at least about some of this. However, what the Councilmember Robinson and others have done are very real, and it is spreading. We've seen where male athletes have entered women's sports as "transgendered" athletes and completely dominated their competition. There have been naturally born female athletes in MMA and wrestling who've not only be decisively beaten, but severely injured by their much more powerful "Y" chromosome carrying "female" opponents.

The situation has become so bad, that female athletes have started refusing to compete against these "transgendered" individuals, and rightly so. They have appealed to the various sanctioning bodies and demanded that "something" be done; perhaps create a separate league for these individuals or to require them to compete at heavier weight classes to even the odds a little. Meanwhile, female athletes are increasingly refusing to compete against transgendered competitors; not because they are transgendered mind you, but because they still have their masculine strength and speed, and that creates an unfair and often unsafe advantage.

In terms of businesses, the line between male and females has started to blur. In some places (such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco) it's not uncommon to see guys wear makeup or instead of cologne, using perfume. Guys getting manicure and pedicures aren't uncommon, nor are seeing guys at spas getting facials. It's not over unusual to see guys wearing styles traditionally identified with women (including certain fabrics and colors).

Certain television shows such as "Rue Paul's Drag Race", "Project Runway", "Under the Gunn", "Project Accessory" and many many others have essentially "normalized" homosexuality (one of the biggest icebreakers was "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" which was about how to teach straight males to dress well). I guess you could even say "gay is in". Today, it's seen as no big deal. In fact, in some cities being straight can actually hold you back professionally. Who would have thought?

We've read or heard about dozens of gay actors and actress from the "Golden Era of Hollywood" who would never in a million years come out; it would have instantly destroyed their careers. Same goes with musicians, writers, producers, directors and so on. Nowadays, some of the most popular and powerful individuals in Hollywood (and Broadway) are gay; individuals such as Jodie Foster, Zachary Quinto, Neil Patrick Harris, Robin Roberts, Jim Parsons, Elton John, Wanda Sykes, and countless more.

Personally, I have no particular issue with individuals who are gay. Unlike some, I don't think people "choose" to be gay, at least not per se. I think you are born with that tendency already there. Why that is I have no idea. Science has reported that testosterone levels throughout the world have been on the decline. Plus, we have to remember that with a increasingly old population, testosterone levels decrease at a rate of about 1% per year after age 30 (testosterone peaks at about 20 years of age). But testosterone levels may have nothing to do with it since it's only one part of the gender equation.

I think one of the main reasons is simply acceptance. It was kept in the "closet" for so long, and now it's out, and with it, a certain power in numbers. According to Gallup, around 4.5% of the US population is gay, that is, LGBTQ, which is less than what many American's think, especially if your opinion is based on the corporate media's projection of gay influence in America. Naturally, that figure doesn't include those who've "experimented" or with those who support gays in some way.

Nevertheless, we've become a much more open society, and with that, there has been a trend toward a more socially liberal society (this trend basically got started in the late 1950's and has continued since despite periodic---and brief---shifts to the Right socially). Given the Millennials are strongly trending Left socially while their younger siblings may be headed even further Left, we can expect this to continue for some time to come.

Socially conservative (including those who identify as religiously conservative) will remain a vocal opponent, however, their numbers are on the decline and expected to continue in that direction for the foreseeable future. Of course, there will be pockets around the country where conservatives will dominate the political and cultural landscape and all things gay will remain more or less suppressed.

As for me, while one's sexual orientation makes little difference to me, I will continue to address males and females accordingly (as an aside, I believe there are two genders--male and female. What you do with yours is your business, but that doesn't mean I have to go along with you). At the same time, don't attempt to force me to conform to something I disagree with. If you have a problem with that, then you have my apologies but not my sympathies. If you chose, for whatever reason, to openly live as someone of the opposite gender, I commend your courage.

However, I was brought up to say "please" and "thank you" as well as "no sir" and "yes ma'am". If I interact with someone who is obviously a female, I will treat them accordingly, which means opening doors, pulling out the chair, and all of the other things you'd expect from a Southern gentlemen. Obviously that means referring to you with the appropriate feminine pronouns. By the same token, if you are by all indications a male, then I will treat you accordingly, and includes using all the gender appropriate grammar. Where I come from, that's the proper thing to do. No disrespect intended.

Berkeley Municipal Code Revision Related to the Use of Gender Neutral Language

Berkeley City Council Votes to Ban Gender Specific Words

Berkeley Municipal Code Revision Related to the Use of Gender Neutral Language

Gay Hollywood: 41 Out and Proud LGBT Stars

Why modern men are losing their testosterone

Americans Still Greatly Overestimate US Gay Population

1 comment:

South Ender said...

In an age of twisted values (today in America),
Common sense is revolutionary.