Frankly, men, it is high time you thought about the other half of the population when you write. You have, and can have, no idea what it feels like to be cruising along, really into a book, only to be slapped across the face and kicked out of it, told, basically, that you weren’t welcome to start with. I’m damned tired of it.
Pickin’ on poor P.J. O’Rourke only ’cause his was the book on tap the day I snapped. Like many (most?) male authors, P.J. O’Rourke unconsciously assumes that only men read his words. Why should he consider the issue of men versus women in his audience? He holds membership in the privileged class.
I’m betting you male readers in the audience are considering this issue trivial. Whereas, because I am a member of an oppressed class, I consciously choose my words because I know they are far from trivial: A few changed pronouns here and there, the use of the occasional alternate noun, and voila! Gender neutrality. A goal whose time has come. The inclusion of 100% of the population, versus the exclusion of 50% of us.
From PJ O’Rourke, Don’t Vote, It Just Encourages the Bastards
(1) “If it weren’t for business investment, all the inventors, innovators, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers who have brought prosperity to the modern world would have had to get their money the way the rest of us do: by asking their wives.”(p. 37)
Frankly, P.J., I can’t think of the last time I’ve asked MY wife for anything. Even when I was married.
“F#ck you, woman reader.”
(2) “Or, to put it differently, the government is a Rottweiler ready to be unleashed on your problems. And you’ve stuffed raw meat down the front of your pants.” (p. 67)
“F#ck you, differently-equipped woman reader.”
(3) “Once the Model T was introduced we all became Sir Lancelot, gained a seat at the Round Table, and were privileged to joust for the favors of fair maidens…” (p. 153)
“F#ck you, (straight) woman reader.”
(4) “…otherwise we stuff a tampon up Dad, give Mom a tablesaw for Valentine’s day…” (p. 52)
“F#ck you five times over and sit on you for fun, dumber-than-dirt woman reader.”
Such a revealing analogy. Here’s what it means: “Tools are to women as tampons are to men.”
So: A woman would have as much use for a tool as a man would for a tampon. To ole’ P.J. (and many other males), women are lower on the evolutionary scale than the tool-using chimpanzees. Since racists have frequently equated blacks with apes, it appears that Yoko Ono was wrong: We women are not the the n#ggers of the world. We are LOWER.
Gorsh. That explains why I’ve been so puzzled by these ten stringy things dangling at the ends of my arms. Don’t know how I managed to maneuver and affix 10-foot drywall sheets to the ceiling on my own in that 1908 Craftsman–musta used a heckuva lot of makeup or sumpthin’.
Were we able to manipulate one digit independently of the other nine, it would be possible to reflect male writers’ sentiments toward women back their way. Since that is, apparently, beyond our feeble womanly ken, let us provide this poor substitute:
(NOTE: No women’s digits were harmed in the typing of this blog.)
To put up drywall sheets on your own, make two Ts from a length of 2×4 almost as tall as your ceiling with a short crosspiece at one end, 4″ (3 1/2″) side out. Then shove and raise up one short end of the drywall toward the ceiling with one T and work up the other end with the other T. Jam the sheet up snug with the Ts to screw it into place. My brother taught me this.
But it’s a pain in the #ss, and I’d never want to do it again.