8.08.2009

Apparently, I'm A Guy

Last night I was playing with my Analytics account and seeing where I got traffic from, and ended up on a message board where someone had done a link roundup of posts about the stupid Evony ads, including my post from a few weeks ago. My post seemed to be a favorite in the discussion, and I was reading along in quiet anonymity, happy to see my words having an impact in a forum I'd never even heard of (power of blogging ftw!). And then I got to this:
... when I saw that ad (the one where the woman is enjoying "post coital bliss" as the guy put it) ...

The guy?

Wait, guy? What guy?

That sounds like my description of that ad...

Oh. Me. That person is talking about my post. I'm "the guy".

There is nothing on this site that specifically describes me as a woman. But there shouldn't have to be, to remove me from the default class of "guy". "Guy" should be the term you use for someone who positively identifies as a man, not the catchall assumed term. The poster could have said "as the blogger put it" or "as that person said" or something neutral. But instead they chose to say "the guy". Because if you're not immediately, blatantly female...you're a guy. Women are a special class of Not-Men, and everything else is Men.

Perhaps this shouldn't bother me so much. Perhaps I'm taking it too seriously. But it was physically jarring to see myself described as male by a bunch of total strangers in a forum where I wasn't able to stand up and say, Hey, I'm not actually a guy. Just so you know. A woman wrote that.

Does that get any better, easier, less infuriating at least? Or will it always feel like that when you're misgendered online?

6 comments:

CaitieCat said...

Well, I know I've never liked it. ;)

Though I think that it takes very little to establish your likely gender. As I read your post, I looked to the right, and saw "witch" fairly prominent, which isn't ironclad but does lend a certain likelihood, particularly paired with "feminist", and when combined with the names on your e-mail, would make, I think, most who did even elementary looking think you likely to be a woman.

Which only makes your point clearer, I think: the poster labeled you a guy because they'd made the assumption that you were a guy, and didn't make even the slightest effort to be right. The assumption was sufficient.

WitchWords said...

Heh, true. The name in particular, you would think...

But this just makes me appreciate Shakesville's ubiquitous use of "zie/hir" all the more. English really needs to adopt a universal set of 3rd sg gender-neutral pronouns, yesterday.

CaitieCat said...

English has had such a thing for a long time. "They" has been used as a singular pronoun going back centuries, we just happen to be in a phase where it had been cut back on, largely by Latin fetishists who insist on applying Latin grammar rules to English speech, like the stupid "split infinitive" non-rule. :/

WitchWords said...

True...but the problem is people won't just USE them already. So if people are going to be stubborn, we need to provide a new solution.

Also, *twitch twitch head asplode* re: split infinitives THAT ENGLISH DOESN'T HAVE. You ought to see me whenever someone has the ill luck to mention that "rule" in my hearing. They get an earful on the subject...it's a major pet peeve of mine.

N! said...

I intentionally use singular they as often as I can. Fought a Writing Center adviser on it, too.

WitchWords said...

That's excellent, N...I hope you prevailed?

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