Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Change your language, change the world...

In which our plucky heroine remembers that all of us together are smarter than all of us one at a time...

My friend Sarah wrote this short essay, and said it so much more clearly than I could have.

They them their

Say it, do the mental sit ups, put in the time, join the future.

I’m 42, my brain is no spring chicken, it has been marinating in this toxic blue vs pink culture for FOUR DECADES. Do you know how many times I have heard / said blue and pink pronouns? Do you know how much I LOVE words and language? Yes - a million “out of bounds / that’s a plural” buzzers go off in my head when practicing this new (to me) form of sentence structure. It’s hard work, just like all of the learning/unlearning I have done my whole life and just as important.

Writing with they pronouns helps because my brain is working on it and when I mess up I can delete the sentence and try again. If nothing else this exercise helps reveal just how gendered and categorized our language is. I am building a new space in my head linguistically, and the reason this starts to work is because I am not translating “he” or “she” into “they” I am learning to talk about them and the blue and pink pronouns are not present. I am SEEING the person for who they are, I am seeing THEM.

So here’s the thing. This upcoming generation is very awake. THEY have been raised at the endgame of our house of cards culture. THEY are rejecting the cancers built into the system with bravery and under constant fire (both literal and figurative) THEY are trying to move us forward. How can we truly start to see outside of the patriarchal mess we have buried ourselves in if we don't start pointing at it's foundations? At it's language?

Meanwhile pink vs blue culture is NOT man and woman united, it is man vs woman. It is gender reveal parties and STRICT rules around guarded boundaries. It is the binary war. Democrats vs Republicans, cats vs dogs, good vs evil - we are one species, we are not at war. Gender fluid and non binary folks are not trying to fuck with you, they are trying to live outside of this ridiculous monstrosity. The knee jerk reactions are your own.

It is time to decide for all of us (regardless of how long things have been the way they have been) if we are really so afraid to look at ourselves. Is the effort that it takes to treat someone else as a human being really just too much?

No one is asking you to change your pronouns, they are asking you to respect theirs.

Language is fluid and it changes, it always has and it always will. The question is are you willing to evolve with it? Are you willing to tap into your empathy and humanity instead of into your programming and it's infinite defenses?

1 comment:

  1. Love that! Definitely something to ponder and to read more than once. Thanks to Sarah for the expression and to you for publication.