Tuesday, November 5, 2013

sexist pronouns

One nice thing about being female is that I can use "he" as the default singular pronoun to my heart's content without being accused of sexism :)

In lots of game theory models there are two players, which is perfect because one can be "he" and the other "she". But my job market paper models a single individual's choices in a game with an amorphous crowd of observers. So he's just a he. Gender balance be damned.

I respect my readers enough to trust that they will not read anything more into my pronoun use than convenience of language (which exists naturally in so many other gendered languages, just not English...)


JohnRaymond said...

Were you thinking of German, with its 'man', which is technically gender neutral, but you and I know better, and that's the reason feminists in Germany use 'frau' in place of it, or along with it.

dinataruni said...

I also use "he" to my heart's content! In French, the default is always masculine, and given a group of mixed gendered subjects, you default to the masculine. Grammar is not sexist - it's logical and delightful and should be respected. The worst outcome of the protestations over the masculine pronoun is the singular "they." ie: "The student cannot do their homework." Verbs and subjects should always agree in number. It's a sad world where people worry so much about seeming sexist that they destroy the English language.

Vera L. te Velde said...

not German, but Chinese, Japanese, apparently Persian (I just wikipediaed it...). Although strangly Chinese and Japanese at least in written form have invented gendered third person pronouns recently. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-specific_and_gender-neutral_pronouns#Other_languages

Vera L. te Velde said...

exactly :) "they" can be really confusing and ambiguous.