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HistoricalGenderNeutralLanguage

This page is not intended as an "official HCoop policy or position." Rather, it is an attempt by some of the members to call attention to issues of how our language reflects and reproduces gender norms that exist in our society. In addition, since some members disagree with the notes in this page, dissenters may voice their opinions on this page as well.

1. Gender-Neutral Language

For many in the Cooperative, language is not merely a tool that we use, but one which reproduces the structures of power in our society. Gender inequality, as one of these social forms of power, is also reproduced through language. Because of this, many members of the Cooperative feel strongly that we consider carefully how gender bias creeps into our everyday languages, including the communication between members of the Cooperative and externally.

1.1. Tips on Writing in a Gender-Neutral Style

Generally, many of the arguments for gender-neutral language have led those who advocate its use to prefer gender-neutral instead of gender-specific pronouns when discussing a person whose gender is unknown, when the person prefers to not categorize themself as belonging to a specific gender, or when a party is of mixed gender. See the wikipedia article below for more information.

Previous comments from this page have been archived at the page HistoricalGenderNeutralLanguage for clarity of the views presented on this section of the site.

For example, in the English language, many who try to write in a gender-neutral manner prefer the use of "their" instead of "his" or "her".