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A Lost Cause

October 27, 2016

Barton Swain on the use of the generic masculine:

My general attitude is to wish the whole problem away and just use masculine pronouns. The obsession over gendered pronouns is part of a general tendency in recent decades to treat social and political questions as fundamentally about signs and symbols rather than actual men and women. I do not believe that using “he” or “him” to refer to “everyone” or “a writer” or “a physician” in any way implies that men are superior to women, or that the language of power, whatever that is, is somehow intrinsically masculine. I think the whole silly controversy arises from the conflation of reality and signifier.

That ship has sailed.

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