And now an important announcement from Facebook. Gender is a “spectrum,” and so, to accommodate this new reality, a Facebook user can now choose a gender for his or her (or them’s?) Facebook profile other than one of the (bigoted) two “genders” that were “assigned to” the individual at birth. Isn’t that special?
Who was the Assigner, by the way? Is that an inadvertent acknowledgement of The Creator? The Ultimate Umpire?
In addition, the Facebook user can choose the pronoun by which to be referred. He, she, or, get ready … they.
What, no royal we?
Perhaps in this brave new world, the traditionally “gendered” can have we, and the otherly gendered can have … we-weed.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around how the unconventionally gendered will use they. Will they refer to an individual creature? Meaning that if the person slides back and forth along the baseline of this gender spectrum, then that person has the gender equivalent of multiple personalities, and so we (who?) must always refer to that individual as they? Arghhhh.
I can’t wait to see how the Associated Press (AP) changes its style book to accommodate these new “facts”. An AP story attempts to inform us (whom?): [emphasis and commentary, in brackets, was added to quotes]
With a click of a cursor, Jay Brown in Cheverly, Md., went from Male to Trans Male. A few states away, Debon Garrigues of Asheville, N.C., switched from Male to Neutral. In San Francisco, Marilyn Roxie, formerly Female, chose three: Androgynous, Transgender and Genderqueer. [Is Roxie, then, a “they”? I’m so confused.]
Across the country Thursday, news swept through the transgender community that social media giant Facebook had added a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them. And one after another, they made their changes in a quiet revolution of sorts.
“For me, this is about much more than a button on a monitor,” Garrigues said. “This encourages people to think outside the binary spectrum. It means I don’t have to try to fit in the wrong boxes.” …
Or underwear, either, apparently.
Riddle me this: Can a spectrum be binary? Oh, who cares about precision in language? Loosen up!
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
All together now: Gender refers to words, or at least that’s what we (who?) were traditionally taught. It seems that gender now also refers to behavior. Sex, we (who?) were traditionally taught, refers to a biological state. The ever-educational (guffaw!) Wikipedia explains that
Sexologist John Money introduced the terminological distinction between biological sex and gender as a role in 1955. Before his work, it was uncommon to use the word gender to refer to anything but grammatical categories …
A real rules changer, that sexologist. Is he more properly referred to as a genderologist? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary (which is probably being “updated” even as I write):
Gender is “the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex.
One sex? Whoa. Hold that runner at first base. Don’t we (who?) need two Facebook categories? One for sex and another for gender? Otherwise, we’ll be discriminating, won’t we (who?)? We need a new sex. A spectrum of sexes. Don’t we (who?)?
Oh, well. That’s the current definition of gender until “they” (who?) decide (decides?) to re-decide (re-re-decide?) what the meaning of is is, what the meaning of gender is, what the meaning of sex is, and what the meaning of anything else under the sun that you (who?) previously thought was already incontrovertibly determined is.
Who (who?) decides who (who?) gets to be the decider now that the Ultimate Umpire has been sidelined by Facebook?