Gender inclusion and the English language

by maggi dawn

Finally, a word about pronouns. I started writing this book with both…the writer and the reader referred to as “he or she,” but soon became hopelessly entangled in my own verbiage. Next I tried alternating. Sometimes the writer was “he” and sometimes “she,” with the reader switching back and forth similarly. With this method it often became unclear whether I was referring back to the writer ot to the reader. Finally, I adopted the present system, in which the writer is always “she” and the reader always “he.”¬† I beg both male writers and female readers to forgive me if they should momentarily feel excluded from these generic pronouns. The shortcomings of any gender-neutral system that I can currently think of are less the shortcomings of the splendid English language than of those whose biased usage has created a difficulty we yet have to solve.

Writing the Memoir, Judith Barrington

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