My MCAT instructor keeps referring to the writer of our passages with male pronouns when they do not list an author by name. Made me feel stupid/unvalued… like if our instructor doesn’t think women are smart enough to help write the MCAT, the most certainly aren’t smart enough to be doctors.

February 1st, 2013 | Comments (3)

3 Responses to “”

  1. Fey:

    I’m just wondering what pronoun you wanted him to use. English doesn’t have a gender neutral pronoun for people. I wish it did, but it doesn’t, so he had to arbitrarily assign a gender. Insisting that he call the author by a female pronoun when you don’t know the gender to the author doesn’t seem right either.

  2. curious:

    out of curiousity, how should the instructor have referred to the author?

  3. ProfLesko:

    This also annoys me, but it is largely a problem with the English language. First, if your instructor is older than 35 or 40,keep in mind that when he or she was growing up, it is likely he or she was taught that when in doubt use the male pronouns. This of course is no longer being taught, and for good reason, but I have just illustrated my larger point in trying not to assume your instructor’s gender: all this annoying use of he /she! The problem is with the language. Many other languages have a gender neutral singular pronoun that can be used to refer to people, whereas all we have are “he,” “she, “and” it. ” We can’t use just one or the other gender specific pronouns, and no one wants to refer to another person as an ” it. ” So now the real question is why the hell don’t we come up with a new word, a new pronoun so that we can not speak and write in ways that show any gender bias while avoiding this annoying use of he / she. If you can come up with a new pronoun I would gladly start using it and teaching it to my students. We just need to find a word that anyone would accept and that is short as part of the point to pronouns is that they are short and simple words, unlike my post. :-p

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