June 21, 2017

THAT’S WHAT ZHE SAID: I Don’t Mind Using Preferred Pronouns. I Mind Being Forced Into It.

A few months ago, at Grandma M’s traditionalist dojo, a karate classmate—let’s call her “Xir-Says”—threw a tantrum over the politics of language. Xir-Says demanded to be referred to as “Xir-Says-San.”

Her sensei tried to explain that San is an honorific reserved for students who’d proved themselves worthy by demonstrating certain skills, that it was presumptuous for Xir-Says to make such a demand since she hadn’t earned it by demonstrating high-level expertise, and that students who hadn’t passed the San benchmark, like her, could be called either “Miss” or “Mister.” She didn’t care. Xir-Says insisted that being called “Miss,” or anybody being called “Miss” or “Mister,” was discriminatory and insulting to “intersex” and “gender non-binary people.”

This was absurd, political posturing. Xir-Says’s sex is female, and she doesn’t say otherwise. But the sensei relented, fearful of the potential backlash that might ensue—Facebook and Twitter shame-bombs, rebuke from a rash of Brooklynite neo-Marxian muckrakers—should he not obey Xir-Says’ demands. She is now called Xir-Says-San. Low-skill students needn’t any longer be referred to as “Miss” or “Mister.” A longstanding tradition was eroded by the gender identity demands of an impertinent brat.

That’s been the plan from the start.

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