Our progressive culture is so obsessed with gender that we must eliminate it altogether. In Argentina, “teenagers are rewriting the rules of the language to eliminate gender. In classrooms and daily conversations, young people are changing the way they speak and write—replacing the masculine “o” or the feminine “a” with the gender-neutral “e” in certain words—in order to change what they see as a deeply gendered culture.”
As always, social justice satirist Titania McGrath perfectly captured the spirit of this bold new progressive initiative: “We must force foreigners to speak English in order to put an end to this oppression.” Indeed. Why would we want to make other languages more like English? Isn’t that, like, colonialist or something?
In fact, the push for the universal use of the term “latinx” instead of “latina” or “latino” was recently revealed to be a wokester’s terminology, created to assuage white guilt. Turns out, it feels more patronizing than helpful. “Progressives argue that Latinx fixes the gendered nature of Spanish, which they maintain is unfair to women and excludes individuals who do not identify as male or female… Taken to its logical conclusion, a push for gender-neutral Spanish nouns requires dismantling a language spoken by 572 million people across the world.”
At first, our interest in gender had to do with creating equality. Protections for sex were enshrined into laws, became part of our educational system, and human resources departments. Our social fabric was slowly, yet deliberately changed to make equality between the sexes possible. Our efforts in this area were concrete, determined, and resolute.
Now that we have achieved much of what we set out to, the work is merely symbolic. New activism is not about equality but conformity. The only reason to disrupt language to the point of removing its linguistic specificity is because we are so preoccupied with the existence of gender that we can’t even bear to deal with it at all. Anything gender-related just stresses us out.
A symbolic change like this one does nothing to address root inequities. Removing gender from languages in which gendered expression is inherent is an antiseptic gesture. It’s straight-up anti-diversity. In what world is this “progress”? Spanish is one of the many languages that have gender distinctions built into language. If the goal is to remove gender from language because that gender is harshly judged, the thing to do is to not judge gender, accept gender equality, not eliminate it altogether. The removal of gender will not create equality, but suppress the oppression beneath a language that can no longer express it.
Somehow, we’ve transitioned to a reign of gender terror where compelled speech rules the day. Nothing is allowed to have flavour, colour, or variety of any kind—except for gender variants. If it is neither male nor female, if it is neither gay nor lesbian but queer, it is considered to be progressive. That which we were is no longer acceptable. That which we will be is defined by kids who understand only symbolic equality and don’t realize that, in many ways, we pretty much have the real thing, or are getting closer every day.
Language is constantly evolving. It can and does evolve in directions both intentionally and by happenstance. This deliberate removal of gender from language has the feel of some kind of gender Esperanto, a universal gesture designed to embrace all speakers, but which really creates a language of irrelevancy. No one speaks Esperanto and no one will want to divert all their efforts into the mental and linguistic acrobatics required to remove gender from languages that are specifically, intentionally, historically, and usefully based in gender distinctions.
English is unique in its malleability. It embraces words from other languages, changes the accent, and claims them as its own. It has thousands more words than any other language on earth. Only German comes close to making a run at English’s total, and that’s not a gender-based language either. If the new gender-free version of Spanish becomes de rigeur, would the old masters be changed to reflect that? Would Lorca be rewritten to become gender neutral or would he merely be considered offensive?
What’s the end goal of all of this “progress” anyway? Is it to destroy those very things that differentiate us and turn us all into genderless automatons who think with one mind, work in hives, eat bugs, live in pods, get chips implanted, have no children, and experience neither love nor joy? Oh. We suppose it is. Well, f*ck that.