Tech Companies That Only Hire Men Dot Tumblr Dot Com
The world’s most succinct OKCupid profile?
@stuffisthings I chortled.
This is just a blog complaining about gender-neutral pronoun use.
There’s no good option. “They” requires you to conjugate verbs as a plural even though you just mean one person, which is awkward to hear/read/write. “He/she” is ugly and hard to read, and also requires all the followup his/her, him/her, etc. Using “she” is as one-sided as “he”, but without even the historical use of “he” as the generalized pronoun to let you know what’s being said (it is kind of satisfying in a redistributory justice vein, but it’s also deliberately confusing which is not a great trait in practical job-posting language). “Ze” is a linguistic monster and should never be used for anything except for mocking Wesleyan undergrads. So yeah: “he” is the gender-neutral pronoun in English. It’s not fair, but it is.
@siege91 I mean sure, yeah, but then also that Tumblr has over a hundred posts already and it has only been around since April 20th?
Isn’t that saying something when it is so wide spread? Is it so difficult to say “he or she” and “his or her” or hey, skip the whole thing and write it in second person “you will…” “you are” and/or “the ideal candidate will…”
Given the well-covered and generally acknowledged huge gender disparity in the tech world already, it’s worth pointing out that this is the norm as this Tumblr is doing.
@siege91 I’m just gonna leave this here.
@siege91 no wait, I’m also going to refrain from applying to jobs with places that care more about arbitrary grammar “rules” than about the actual effects language choices have on people’s lives.
@siege91 Screw it all and just use a singular “they.” The more of us do it, the more legit it becomes (and it’s certainly more comfortable than an invented gender-neutral pronoun, with the exception being, of course, when that invented pronoun is someone’s preferred pronoun for themself).
@Lorelei@twitter Thank you. I also don’t understand why they can’t just say “this analyst” or whatever.
@siege91 Or alternate using he and she! I have read a lot of texts that do this, and I always find it surprising. I don’t think it is okay to have “he” be the generic singular pronoun, but agree with most of what you said. A lot of these postings do or could have more than one usage of a pronoun, just make it 50/50. Some (maybe you) will be annoyed with inconsistency, but it is not a big deal.
I also support use of “they” as do a ton of grammar guides, although for me it is secondary to just alternating he and she.
@Lorelei@twitter THANK YOU. I hate the whole “shrug – just sayin'” explain-away people tend to do for this. I remember being young and asking my dad why the Declaration of Independence referred to “mankind”, and he explained to me that “mankind” meant everyone and not just men. And I remember thinking, even at 7 or 8 years old, that this was a bullshit rationale. There is NO REASON the “norm” should exclude 50% of the population by its very definition. Jesus, what century do we live in? Language is fluid, it can EASILY be changed.
@siege91 Uh, can we please talk about your casual transphobia? “‘Ze’ is a linguistic monster” Oh, okay, let’s just dismiss all the people who understand themselves by that term because it’s “a linguistic monster”, sure why not. Nevermind that the whole point of language is to act as signifiers.
As others have pointed out, there are lots of different ways to phrase it that are just as convenient as using a singular masculine third person pronoun. It’s reflection of a specific kind of mindset/culture that these other ways of phrasing never occurred to them.
PS “ease” is no excuse for sexism THANKS
I can’t read @siege91’s mind, and I’ll agree that the phrasing was insensitive and unclear on this subject, but I didn’t read this comment as “we should never use ‘ze’ even for people who want this to be their pronoun” so much as “this is unlikely to be a great solution for a generic pronoun for everyone because it’s somewhat more difficult to get used to than the other options.” Just, you know, very poorly worded.
I only bring it up because the general conversation (and the topic of the article above) has not focused on the pronouns to be used for a specific person whose preferences are clear, but on a pronoun or pronouns to be used when describing someone of unknown gender.
And yeah, I agree that ease is a terrible reason for sexism/cissexism, no arguments at all there.
@siege91 Even ignoring all the other, excellent reasons people have pointed out that what you just said is bullshit, these are job postings, not novels. The writer only needs to use a pronoun four or five times max. That hardly makes the “ugly” he or she, or the “awkward” they unendurable.
@ThatJenn Yeah, I definitely see/agree with your point that the conversation is center around describing people of unknown gender. But that was a really insensitively worded statement, and needed to be called out. There are ways of stating that ze/hir are awkward pronouns to use–even in “clever” mocking tones–without being dismissive of the entire pronoun (@siege91’s exact word were, “should never be used for anything.” Hard to be more dismissive than that.)
@Jay Green I can 100% agree with that statement. Sorry, I had missed the “never be used for anything” note when I first responded or I wouldn’t have brought it up. (That’ll teach me to comment without re- and re- and re-reading to make sure I’ve got my facts straight.)
@ThatJenn No worries! I think that was an important clarification point to bring up, and I’m glad it happened.
Actually this reminds me of something that recently irked me in Sol Stein’s otherwise excellent book on writing. He opens the book talking about how most of his writing students are female, so he hopes they’ll forgive him if he uses “he” throughout, because “he or she” is “awkward” yada yada see above. I can hardly think of a more radiant, neon-lit sign of sexism than recognizing you have a mostly female audience, and yet not even once considering using “she” as your neutral pronoun.
I’ve gotten recruiter email before that’s said the client was looking for “a PHP/Ruby guy.” When I have a) a pretty feminine first name and b) HAD WORKED WITH THAT FIRM BEFORE. To me, that proves that this bullshit has nothing to do with “no good gender neutral pronoun” or whatever excuse people are using this time; that it really is reflective of the male default being just that ingrained in the industry.
Comments are closed!