To Each Her Own?

by Carol Iannone

I see the use of the feminine pronoun as referent all the time now, including on the part of conservative academics and writers in conservative publications. For example, “Everyone must pay her taxes.” In fact, in recent reading, I haven’t seen one instance of the masculine. There was an interim stage in which writers were using “his and her,” which could get kind of awkward, but now it’s almost exclusively the feminine. I find that it is mainly male writers doing this. What’s up? 

Are male writers trying to suggest that they are so secure in their masculinity that they can afford this deference to the female? Are they afraid of running afoul of PC? Are they trying to show their generosity to the new dispensation or just trying to sail with the times? Have they been convinced that there is some injustice or inequality in using the masculine? Or are editors and publishers demanding this? 

Whatever the answer, it is an imposition on the reader, and what it conveys is total capitulation to the feminist regime. It is also bad writing. Despite feminist protest, not only is there is nothing wrong with using the masculine pronoun as the generic referent, it is right. It is how our language works. It is similar to the way we say “mankind” or “man” to stand for both sexes. The use of the masculine pronoun is in reference to a metaphysical level of human identity, while the feminine pronoun only brings in sexuality and sexual difference and a whole range of issues where they don’t belong. It is on a par with that awful Bible translation that says, “And God created humans,” which makes biological and even anthropological what is a spiritual act. The King James Version says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he them, male and female created he them.” “Man,” in the abstract, metaphysical, non-biological, non-anthropological sense, includes male and female.

The use of the feminine referent signals the abandonment of this higher understanding and a willingness to be governed completely by feminist ideology. It is the feminist equivalent of the practice of totalitarian regimes where everyone is addressed as “Citizen” or “Comrade” and has no reality beyond that which is recognized by the State.

Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.