My Thoughts on Pronouns
Words have meaning. This is because words are connected to reality – they represent something actual and thus convey what’s real, what’s true. Sure, words themselves (I’m thinking of nouns, especially) aren’t ontologically related to objects. A tree is real, the word tree is a mere representation. A tree could just as well have come to be known as a gigglypoo.
But over the centuries, definitions arise, standards are set. We recognize that words mean something. Now, I wouldn’t use the phrase ‘social construct’ (because of its current political and SJW connotations) but if you made the point that what we call things seems arbitrary, I wouldn’t argue with you. Why isn’t a tree a gigglypoo? I won’t go into language theory at this point, but the short answer: that’s how it is.
You can insist on calling a tree something else, but that simply causes confusion and discounts centuries of dictionary usage. I recall in junior high one of my friends had a running gag calling cows fish. On the bus to school we’d laugh at his juvenile (and nonsensical) joke, but we all knew his words were being twisted beyond meaning.
I think you see where I’m heading with this.
Pronouns, too, have meaning. He, him, his refer to the male of a species. She, her, hers refer to the female. They have done so (through various forms and via word/gender endings) for centuries. They represent biological reality. Pronouns (and words in general) adhere to standards that help society function smoothly, with clarity and precision. Meaningful words make communication possible.
Enter gender theory, which finds its roots in the writings of a French philosopher and novelist named Simone de Beauvoir. She was one of the first to popularize the conception that, “One is not born, one is made a woman.” (The Second Sex, 1949) I think she was arguing against gender roles (which is a separate and important topic), but extreme feminists have since proclaimed that we are ‘assigned’ gender at birth (which is complete nonsense, by the way, since our sex, also known as gender, is biologically determined at conception, no one assigns it to us).
The biological reality is that there are two sexes, two genders. And the words representing these realities have meaning insofar as we adhere to reality. Gender confusion has produced pronoun madness – people are insisting that they be referred to in fantastical ways. Women want to adopt he, him, his pronouns; men want to adopt she, her, hers pronouns. (Some even want to adopt they, them, theirs – as if a singular person can be a plurality!)
This is delusion. This is fantasy. This breaks with reality. This is untrue, incredible, and nonsensical. A man cannot become a woman; a woman cannot become a man. Chromosomes are what they are. We are binary beings. Talk of non-binary persons and third gender persons is simply a journey through the rabbit hole into absurd silliness.
Unfortunately, the situation we find ourselves in today is not silly. It is dangerous. The Evil One has cast a great deception on our culture with regards to gender and pronouns – and this has real world consequences.
For example, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are censoring views like this one from the public square. This post (or link to this post or tweet about this post) may be arbitrarily taken down for violating an ever-changing set of ‘community standards’ – which, by and large, defines opposition to the prevailing regressive left’s agenda as hate speech. One can be banned for simply pointing out biological reality (if that’s the case here, it’s been nice to know you). There is an admitted bias in Silicon Valley against conservative views.
[Case in point: https://www.dailywire.com/news/39803/franklin-graham-says-facebook-ban-was-personal-joseph-curl ]
Big tech companies aren’t alone in their attempt to suppress free expression. Mastercard and Visa have been pressured by the country’s leading hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, to discontinue servicing groups the SPLC deems are hate groups. This is a very dangerous precedent and amounts to an attack on free enterprise.
[Case in point: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/credit-card-companies-reverse-attempt-to-blacklist-david-horowitzs-conserva ]
Back on topic – for NOT using a student’s preferred pronoun, a teacher in Virginia was fired. The teacher said he would call the student by her new name (she wants to be viewed as a male and has taken on a masculine name) and would simply refrain from using any pronouns at all with regard to this student. But that was not good enough for the trans-movement tyrants. He must be *compelled* to use untrue speech. This, too, is a dangerous trend.
[Case in point: https://www.foxnews.com/us/virginia-teacher-reportedly-fired-for-refusing-to-use-pronoun-for-transgender-student ]
And this is the issue. Pronoun madness is forcing people to use words that no longer align with reality. And communication suffers as a result. Now if you are going by a different name than the one you were ‘assigned’ at birth, great. Your choice. Your name was assigned. Your gender was not. If you want to be called Gigglypoo, wonderful. But if you want me to use gigg/giggly/poo as your preferred pronouns, then you are living in a fantasy land. I mean you’re free to do what you want, you’ve got free speech as well, just don’t expect me – or force me – to eat the mushrooms with you.
Happy New Year.
Addendum: There are many more words that have lost or are in danger of losing their meaning due to extended misuse, including phobia, gender, racism, privilege, Nazi, hate, marriage. And literally.