Hey. So, the other day I shared a video on Facebook (can’t find the link now, sorry). The video itself was about how you shouldn’t just assume someone wants to be called a “he” or a “she” and to call someone “them” instead until you discover their preference. I commented how I get that some people don’t identify as a male or female and just want to be known as, like, a person or a banana or something, and that if they want to designate a gender-neutral word, they can feel free, but they shouldn’t butcher the English language to do it, because “they” is a plural word, not a singular one.
Someone commented back — very snootily (is that a word?), I might add — about how:
- it’s obvious that I have no respect for people who struggle with gender identify because I dared to use the word banana,
- “they” actually isn’t a plural word, and besides, we create the English language so therefore that makes it the right usage,
- and basically how I’m an intolerant little shit who steals candy from babies and kills puppies and shit.
original image found here
First of all, let me say this: I get that some people don’t think of themselves as male or female. Just because I used a banana in my example doesn’t mean I’m a fucking moron. I used it to illustrate a point, which is how absurd it is that people are trying to identify as something other than a person (by that, I mean that they’re trying to come up with concepts like “non-binary” and shit instead of just saying they identify as a human being, which would be the simplest way).
I have autism. Yes, it may not seem like it because I’m what is considered “high-functioning”, but that doesn’t mean I’m normal. I’m not. Social cues don’t register in my brain. If there was a test on reading body language, I would probably score a 10, because odds are that I would at least get a couple questions right by chance. Sometimes I say things that people take to be insulting when I meant no harm by it, and sometimes I take things that others say as insults even though they aren’t. I just don’t know. Something is programmed wrong in my brain. I can’t control it. That doesn’t mean I’m a dumbass (I actually have a genius IQ, and people with autism tend to be smarter overall than those who don’t have autism).
Now on to the second point. “They” is a plural fucking word. It is used to describe two or more people, among other things. The official definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary is as follows:
[third person plural] Used to refer to two or more people or things previously mentioned or easily identified. ‘the two men could get life sentences if they are convicted’
[singular third person plural] Used to refer to a person of unspecified gender. ‘ask a friend if they could help’
The Dictionary.com definition is:
nominative plural of he, she, and it
(used with a singular indefinite pronoun or singular noun antecedent in place of the definite masculine he or the definite feminine she): Whoever is of voting age, whether they are interested in politics or not, should vote.
And by the way, the second definitions from both sources doesn’t mean that you can substitute the word “they” with “he” or “she” at will; it means that if you’re discussing a non-specified person, or a generalized person (in this case, a friend and a voter, respectively), then it is acceptable to use the word “they” to describe that person.
As for the third point, I don’t fucking care what you think of me.
original image found here
You don’t fucking matter. I can count on two hands the people / groups of people whose opinions matter to me, and you sure as hell aren’t even close to being one of them. However, because I am using this post to negate your entire argument, I will say that I don’t fucking care what the hell you choose to identify as. It’s not my problem. It’s not for me to judge, unless you actually want to identify as a banana, in which case shut the fuck up (with the exceptions being actual bananas; they can identify as bananas). Just because I made a joke about it doesn’t mean I disrespect the people who actually struggle with gender identity and all that crap. It just means I made a fucking joke. People joke about things they shouldn’t all the time. I couldn’t even tell you the number of autism-related jokes I’ve heard. There are four I can find videos of and one more that I can think of (The Aspy’s) off the top of my head in Family Guy alone (by the way, I laughed my ass off while watching them). And don’t you dare fucking tell me that autism can’t compare to gender identity as a problem, because while it might not be on the same page on the types of issues that arise, you’re an ignorant, naive SOB if you think living with autism isn’t a challenge every second of every day.
So yeah, I don’t think it’s acceptable to use “they” to describe a single, specific person. If you really want to eliminate gender roles, come up with a gender-neutral word, like we have “he” for a male and “she” for a female (traditionally). [EDIT (I meant to include this initially): Maybe the problem isn’t that people don’t identify as a “he” or a “she”; maybe the problem is that we all have pre-conceived notions about what it means to be a “he” or a “she”.] Also, because I know this will come up: this is not meant as an “attack” against the person who disrespectfully “disagreed” with my point of view, this is meant as a response to said person (and there’s another way to avoid using “him”, “her”, or “them”; who knew?!).
I think that’s about it. This was a really long post, and I know I didn’t try as hard to speak in a professional tone, as I do with politics, because I was just so pissed off, and for that, I do apologize. However, this needed to be said, and while I’m sure there are many nicer ways to say it, I think this best represents my feelings. If you have any questions about how to interpret something written here, don’t just assume I’m trying to insult someone; ask me what I mean, okay? Seriously, I’m not trying to be an asshole (if I were, there would be absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind, even in the mind of an autistic person, because when I’m being bitchy, I make it painfully obvious so my words aren’t misconstrued as sarcastic or anything).
Thank you to all who kept reading until the end.