I understand that language changes. We don’t speak like this anymore:
Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Or like this:
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.
Or even like this:
Look at the gams on that dame — and that chassis. Hot diggity-dog! She’s the bee’s knees. This sheik wants to spend some time with that sheba.
Nevertheless, fossil that I am, I find disturbing the fact that the young generation is trying to define away biological reality. On the same day that we learn (yet again) that men and women don’t only have different hardware (that is, their physical attributes), but also an entirely different operating system (their brains are wired differently), Breitbart reports that the younger generation is trying to introduce gender-neutral pronouns into the English language:
For those who revere clarity in the English language, be prepared; there are a number of young people who are now preferring to eschew the two traditional pronouns for human beings, “he” and “she,” and choosing instead to identify their gender by such terms as “they,” “ze,” sie,” “e,” “ou,” and “ve.”
This may come as a surprise to these politically-correct, non-heteronormative statists, but English already has a gender-neutral pronoun: IT. Of course, calling someone who is neither male nor female an “it” seems to dehumanize them, so I can see why activists insist on change. I’m just not willing to go where they’re going with this type of assault, not only on the English language, but on reality.
Take Chaz Bono, for example, someone who seems like quite a nice person. Chaz has female plumbing under the skin and, thanks to surgery and hormones, a vaguely male appearance at a superficial level (scanty facial hair, no breasts, and goodness knows what external plumbing). Chaz doesn’t want to be called “she,” but it’s denying reality to call Chaz “he.” When I write about Chaz, I avoid pronouns, which allows me to respect Chaz’s choice without doing damage to reality or to the English language.
Incidentally, Chaz has come in for some flack lately from “Stephen Ira,” who was born the daughter of Warren Beatty and Annette Benning. As did Chaz, Stephen took hormones and had surgery to change a female body into one resembling a male body. As far as Stephen is concerned, Chaz is trouble because Chaz actually clings to antiquated notions about “male” and “female.” According to Chaz (and I think accurately), the mismatch between a body’s gender and a brain’s gender identification is a form of birth defect. Stephen took umbrage, writing that Stephen does not feel that, in Stephen’s own case, this mismatch was a birth defect. Worse, says Stephen, Chaz “is a trans man who seems to believe that his female-assignedness and socialization makes him immune from being a misogynist, and he is manifestly wrong.” So there!!
I have nothing but sympathy for people whose sense of self, which comes from the brain, is so at odds with the body attached to that brain. Some people with this disconnect get eating disorders, some people get disfiguring plastic surgery, and some people alter their body’s external appearance to bring it in line with the message their brain sends to them. While I don’t applaud those with body dysmorphia who starve themselves or throw-up, or who turn themselves into monstrous caricatures through surgery, I don’t see a problem with using surgery and meds to create the illusion of a different gender (although studies show that happiness is not an inevitable sequel to surgery to alter gender appearance).
The fact that I support the fact that some people people take proactive steps to improve their own reality does not mean that we as a society must deny reality. Denying reality, however, is precisely what this bizarre gender-neutral language is trying to do. As a percentage of the whole population, there are very few boys who will be girls and girls who will be boys. The rest of us are pretty clearly round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes, and our English language accurately reflects this actual, rather than politically-correct, reality.