I just read a wonderful opinion piece in the LA Times called Sex is essential, kids aren’t:
When it comes to human behavior, there are actually very few genetic dictates. Our hearts insist on beating, our lungs breathing, our kidneys filtering and so forth, but these internal-organ functions are hardly “behavior” in a meaningful sense. As for more complex activities, evolution whispers within us. It does not shout orders.
Odd that it’s in the op-ed section, but that’s probably because the Times doesn’t have a “Common Sense Intro to Science” section.
I was just listening to A Way With Words, and I heard something that caught me completely off guard. I’ve been complaining about gender-neutral singular pronouns for years, hoping that something like ‘ve’ would replace the awkward ‘he or she’ or the patently evil ‘s/he’. Greg Egan aside, nothing ever took off. It turns out that the verbivores have already solved this one to my satisfaction with an obvious (but previously maligned) choice: they.
To quote from Sex and the Singular Pronoun:
Gentle reader (and listener), please open your ears and eyes. Listen and look for statements that contain an indefinite pronoun or a singular noun and hear and see what pronoun follows. In almost every case that pronoun will be a form of they. We do that because the device is historically tested. We do that because it is more graceful than “he or she.” And we do that because it avoids making a minority of us the linguistic norm and a majority of us a linguistic afterthought.
That settles it as far as I’m concerned. I’m going to start using the singular they with impunity, and I’ll let anyone I meet know that they’re welcome to do so as well. ¡Viva la evolución!
My ordination sister, Kila, just founded The Foundation for the Advancement of Women in Religion. This foundation will offer scholarships, sponsorships and project funding for women who are working on religious issues (hint, hint Deana!). They are currently looking for members to join the organization to help get it off the ground. Their Board of Directors includes some impressive wimmin, including M. Macha Nightmare and Patricia Monaghan. Figured this group might want to click on over, take a look and maybe even join like I just did!