May 212012
 

For your amusement (and for your information), I present the nineteenth installment in Dumb Domme’s BDSM Lexicon, “gender-neutral pronoun.”

View all past entries here.


gender-neutral pronoun, n. /ˈdʒɛndər ˈn(j)utr(ə)lˈproʊˌnaʊn (IPA) [jen-der noo-truhl proh-noun] (spelled)

Definition: 

gender-neutral pronoun, n.: a pronoun that isn’t associated with a gender.

Usage:

Ever since I embraced my pansexuality and gender-fluidity, I consider myself genderqueer. From now on, I’d like everyone to refer to me using gender-neutral pronouns.

Do you find it ironic that you prefer gender-neutral pronouns but your name is “Guy Masculano”?

Examples:

Examples of nominative gender-neutral pronouns include: ne, e, ey, hu, hy, ot, yt, thon, ve, xe, ze, zhe, en, co, phe, per, yo, hen, shklee, and ĝi.

I’d like to take this opportunity to propose my own: “uck.”

Like, “uck” as in “fuck” as in “fuck gender.” Or, as in genderfucked? genderfuct?!?

Table of Ridiculous Sounding Gender-Neutral Pronouns
Nominative Objective Possessive Determiner Possessive Pronoun Reflexive
TRADITIONAL PRONOUNS
He He laughed I called him His eyes gleam That is his He likes himself
She She laughed I called her Her eyes gleam That is hers She likes herself
It It laughed I called it Its eyes gleam That is its It likes
itself
They They laughed I called them Their eyes gleam That is theirs They like themselves
INVENTED PRONOUNS
Ne Ne laughed I called nem Nir eyes gleam That is nirs Ne likes nemself
Ve Ve laughed I called ver Vis eyes gleam That is vis Ve likes verself
Spivak Ey laughed I called em Eir eyes gleam That is eirs Ey likes
emself
ze/hir Ze laughed I called hir Hir eyes gleam That is hirs Ze likes hirself
ze/zir Ze laughed I called zir Zir eyes gleam That is zirs Ze likes zirself
xe Xe laughed I called xem Xyr eyes gleam That is xyrs Xe likes xemself
Humanist Hu laughed I called hum Hus eyes gleam That is hus Hu likes humself
Thon Thon laughed I called thon Thons eyes gleam That is thons Thon likes thonself
Yo Yo laughed I called yo Yos eyes gleam That is yos Yo likes yoself
Swedish* Hen laughed I called henom Hens eyes gleam that is hens Hen likes sig själv
Shklee Futurama Shklee laughed I called shklim Shklir eyes gleam That is shklirs Shklee likes shklimself
Esperanto Ĝi laughed I called ĝi Ĝis eyes gleam That is ĝis Ĝi likes ĝiself
Dumb Domme Uck laughed I called uck Ucks eyes gleam that is ucks Uck likes uckself
adapted from wikipedia

Gender-Neutral Pronouns in Action:

  • When E stole my peg leg, I made em walk the plank. (sounds like Pirate)
  • Ze plays the accordion, jah. Hir accordion music is wunderbar for dancing! (sounds too much like German)
  • Ucks blog is okay, I guess, but uck writes about uckself far too often. (uck you, bitch!) 

History:

Denis Baron’s timeline in “The Epicene Pronouns: A Chronology of the Word that Failed” suggests the earliest use of gender-neutral pronouns–ne, nis, nir and hiser–was in 1850. Since then, the introduction and integration of gender-neutral pronouns has been a big fat fucking failure.

Does Dumb Domme?:

Do I use gender-neutral pronouns? Not as practice. However, if I’m writing or responding to someone who uses them or indicates preference for them, sure. I have nothing against them, other than the fact they sound funny. However, when someone “corrects” me on my use of gendered-pronouns and tries to school me on any number of issues related to sexuality and gender, I generally tell them to go uck themselves.

Go uck yourself… but not with a dildo… cause, you know, dildos are phallic and so representative of the male dominated culture in which we find ourselves fucked. I mean, ucking yourself with a dildo just contributes to your oppression, right?

Instead, go uck yourself with a nice, gender-neutral belt-sander.

*Thanks to Kim from Sweden for correcting my use of the Swedish gender-neutral pronoun!


works consulted: wikipedia gender-neutral pronoun blog“The Epicene Pronouns: A Chronology of the Word that Failed” “The Gender-Neutral Pronoun: After 150 Years Still an Epic Fail”  Gender-Neutral Pronoun FAQ    “Gender-Neutral Insults: Everyone’s an Asshole!”   Gender-Neutral Pronouns  “Sweden’s New Gender-Neutral Pronoun: Hen”  Kim from Sweden 

  8 Responses to “BDSM Lexicon Entry #19: Gender-Neutral Pronoun”

  1. My top two confusions on the want and "need" of gender-neutral pronouns have always been:

    – English already has one: "it".
    Why create a new one (especially since so many get made and so little consensus has been established) when one already exists? Consider "it" demeaning? Then reclaim "it"! So many other words have been or are getting reclaimed!

    – Do languages that have no gender-neutral pronouns (like French and German) have factions creating gender-neutral pronouns?

    I appreciate that language does flow and evolve as needs dictate, but… still… we already have "it".

  2. @Week Bi Week: "one already exists? Consider "it" demeaning? Then reclaim "it"!"

    I think you're right on both counts here. I think "it" is considered demeaning because it refers to non-humans. But, I guess "it" could be reclaimed depending on whether or not people were okay with "it" and whether anyone could reach a consensus and agree to use it strategically.

    "Do languages that have no gender-neutral pronouns (like French and German) have factions creating gender-neutral pronouns?"

    Yep. Sweden’s New Gender-Neutral Pronoun: Hen. This one is relatively recent, too.

  3. I thought the Swedish "Hen" inclusion in your table was odd; know I get it. (Yea for commenting without bothering to research first!)

  4. @WBW: I LOVE that Swedish is kinda odd, but Futurama escapes notice.

    I vote "Shklee." :)

  5. Every time I read one of your posts, I end up rolling in the aisles. You tell the truth in such a hilarious way! *chuckling*

  6. @MsNaydi: Thank you. :)

  7. Random Swedish reader here. Would like to point out that the word "hen" has been around since the sixties, it just has not been in mainstream use until recently. It's inspired by the Finnish word "hän", which is the standard pronoun in the Finnish language. Also, it's: "Hen laughed", "I called henom", "Hens eyes gleam", "that is hens", and as for "Hen likes henself", in Sweden we use the same expression for herself/himself/gender neutral variant thereof. It's "sig själv", which is gender neutral to begin with.

    Sorry for the geekyness, but being Swedish, interested in language and reading this blog I sort of had to. Your lexicon entries are marvellous, by the way.

  8. @Kim: Thank you! I'm going to go and correct my chart. :)

    I only read up a little on the use of gender-neutral language in Sweden–I guess it came back into conversation with the publication of that children's book, Kivi och Monsterhund.

    And yes, world, I really do read up on the terms before I write my lexicon entries. Sad, but true.

    Thanks Kim! :)

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