Using gender neutral language as a default certainly is not easy. Unfortunately using gendered terms and pronouns is so ingrained in most of us by the culture we live in that breaking out of that mold seems incredibly difficult. I still catch myself making assumptions when answering questions and writing here on Tumblr, and even more often when speaking to people face to face. It is difficult to do but in order to create safe spaces, accept everyone for who they are, and break out of thinking about certain causes as “womens issues” or “mens issues”, making this change is very important.
I broke out of using gendered language on Tumblr by doing a lot of editing of my posts. Before I post anything that is purely of my own content (asks, original posts, etc) I go through it to make sure that I haven’t made any assumptions about anybody. If I am responding to a question where someone names their pronouns, then I will use their pronouns. However, most of the time I stick to using gender neutral terms like “you” or “they” which are pretty easy to substitute in. Instead of saying “men” or “women” I often say “people”. I try really hard, but that does not mean that I never make mistakes.
I think that the most important thing you can do is to be open to criticism when you are actively trying to change over to using gender neutral terms. You will make mistakes, and other people will point them out. Asking other people to let you know when you’ve made a mistake, taking the criticism, apologizing for your mistake, and learning from the mistake all make a really big difference in the grand scope of things.
I hope you never feel intimidated coming to me and asking questions. I do not expect people to format their questions in any specific manner, and I will not attack you if you do not use gender neutral terms. This is a safe space, all I ask is that you observe it as such.
For those of you who haven’t read it, you can find my post on using gender neutral language here.
It takes but a second to replace women’s health with sexual or reproductive health. It’s really that easy… and then you aren’t erasing our trans sisters.
Yes, yes, yes.
Robert B. Moore, “Racism in the English Language”
Why people of color > “minorities” or “non-white”
I definitely agree on using the phrase people of color instead of minorities or non-white. But the first few terms mentioned, especially “economically disadvantaged” - what is the appropriate term for discussing people who are poor? “Impoverished” is too strong, and just saying “poor people” over and over again doesn’t seem right either. I’m asking you, readers: what is the non-victim-blaming way to reference the poor?
Human societies — all human societies — organize and control social behaviors, and all sexual behavior between humans is also social behavior. Both “virgin” and “heterosexual” are ideological tools that are useful in organizing and controlling particular kinds of sexual behavior and helping to shape social reality.
Different cultures and different eras within a single culture may prioritize different aspects of social behavior at given times, and seek to shape and control them in different ways, but there are always conceptual and ideological tools that are used to do that. ”Virgin” and “heterosexual” are two very powerful tools of this type, and their power is evident in, among other things, the degree to which they go unquestioned.