How Do I Say This Without Offending Either Sex?


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Thread: How Do I Say This Without Offending Either Sex?

  1. #1

    How Do I Say This Without Offending Either Sex?

    Dear writers,

    In the last portion of my summary, I am not sure how to address the reader. Here it is:


    he challenges the reader to think, encourages him to break free from the prison of years of conditioning, and invites him to take the mystical path.


    Should I add "her" beside "him" with a slash? What do you suggest?


    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Member Irwin's Avatar
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    How about using plural pronouns?

    He challenges his readers to think, encourages them to break free from the prison of years of conditioning, and invites them to take the mystical path.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Sustrai View Post
    I'm always amused by "gender neutral" people who insist on being referred to as their, them or they. All three terms are third-person, so this gender neutral person won't be present to approve or disapprove. I'll always be referring to this gender neutral person as I do all people, dogs and cats, according to the gender the natural order imposed upon the person, not the imaginary gender this person wishes to foist upon me. If it's a he, guess what! If it's a she, same deal. And, guess what! He or she won't be there to approve or disapprove, as it'll be (once again) in the third person. If it's in something I wrote, however, sue me.
    It's clearly not about what you privately think of people. Nobody cares about what goes on in your own mind. No person is going to care if you think they are a he or a she or a they.

    When people talk about gender, or gender-neutral, pronouns they are talking about what gets said and written. Neither of those things is a private activity (unless it's your diary or you're talking to yourself in the mirror) so there is a legitimate reason behind people voicing a preference on their pronouns.

    Whether we choose to respect it or not, is a different matter.

  4. #4
    Here are two possible options:

    1. He challenges the reader to think, encourages them to break free of the prison of years of conditioning, and invites them to take the mystical path.

    Advantage: Using gender-neutral pronouns is inclusive of all genders.
    Disadvantage: Despite its receiving official status (which it's unofficially enjoyed since the 1300s) as a gender-neutral pronoun, some people will still be annoyed at reader/they.

    Instead, how about...

    2. He challenges the readers to think, encourages them to break free of the prison of years of conditioning, and invites them to take the mystical path.

    Hope that helps.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by R. A. Busby View Post
    Here are two possible options:

    1. He challenges the reader to think, encourages them to break free of the prison of years of conditioning, and invites them to take the mystical path.

    Advantage: Using gender-neutral pronouns is inclusive of all genders.
    Disadvantage: Despite its receiving official status (which it's unofficially enjoyed since the 1300s) as a gender-neutral pronoun, some people will still be annoyed at reader/they.

    Instead, how about...

    2. He challenges the readers to think, encourages them to break free of the prison of years of conditioning, and invites them to take the mystical path.

    Hope that helps.
    I like the plural route too, but wonder if repetition of "them" can be avoided with something like:

    "He challenges the readers to think, encouraging them to break free from the prison of years of conditioning, and extends an invitation to take the mystical path."
    Alternative ending: "...extends an invitation to take the path of mystery."

    EDIT: In the interests of writing more concisely: "He challenges his readers to think, to break from years of conditioning, and invites them to choose the mystical path."
    Last edited by Phil Istine; January 13th, 2020 at 03:10 PM.


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